Só Brazilian Essence
Rio de Janeiro–born Romero Lubambo is a masterful guitarist who draws from Brazilian and jazz traditions. In 1985, he moved to New York, and he's since played with dozens of artists, including Herbie Mann, Yo-Yo Ma, and Paquito D’Rivera. 2014’s So Brazilian Essence is a solo affair recorded live in the studio that finds the guitarist performing a number of Brazilian compositions. Lubambo’s engaging interpretations are utterly fresh. “Aquarela do Brasil”—the famous 1939 Ary Barroso song known to American listeners simply as “Brazil”—opens the album. Lubambo does a great job of reharmonizing the tune; the result is a lively version that will prick up your ears. Lubambo is a composer, too, and his “Paquito in Bremen” holds it own in this fine collection. The piece, which was written for D’Rivera, brims with touching melodicism. Carlos Lyra and Vinicius de Moraes’ “Coisa Mais Linda” features a special treat: Lubambo’s pleasing vocals. The closer, the David Raskin and Johnny Mercer gem “Laura,” is the only American tune here. He makes the lead line gracefully sing amid the web of fingerings.