Catina DeLuna: Lado B Brazilian Project
Catina DeLuna on Vocals, Piano, Body Percussion
Otmaro Ruiz, Piano, Accordion / Arrangements
Larry Koonse, Guitars
Edwin Livingston, Bass
Aaron Serfaty, Drums
Alex Acuña, Percussion
Bob Sheppard, Flute
Nick Mancini, Marimba
Mike Shapiro, Percussion
Clarice Cast, Percussion
Greg Beyer, Percussion
Musical Producer: Otmaro Ruiz
Assoc. Producer: Catina DeLuna
Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
August 8, 2016
This CD, recorded by native Brazilian singer-pianist, Catina DeLuna, explores a wide range of Brazilian musical genres, spanning a century of style and sound. With a basic five-musician band and six special guests, each track is unique and serendipitous. Ms. DeLuna has that soft, Brazilian vocal range we yearn to hear in traditional tunes by Jobim, for example, and I featured two tracks composed by Jobim, below. Ms. DeLuna, also an accomplished pianist, blends her keyboard themes and trills with Otmaro Ruiz on piano and accordion, Larry Koonse on guitars, Edwin Livingston on bass, and Aaron Serfaty on drums. The guests are featured on percussion, flute, and marimba. As producer and arranger, Mr. Ruiz has collaborated on an album that transports the listener to the long, lush beaches of Brazil. Ms. DeLuna’s ensemble is called Lado B, Portuguese for Side B of an LP recording, where one might find fascinating musical gems.
#2 – Garota De Ipanema – Composed by Antonio Carlos Jobim. Featuring guest, Clarice Cast, on pandeiro (hand percussion), Larry Koonse on guitar, and Otmaro Ruiz on piano, Ms. DeLuna sings one of my favorite Jobim songs with stretched-scale notes and contemporary, charming inflection. She keeps these vocals to the early minutes of the track, with the instrumentals sharing guitar, then piano solos, plus bass and drum support from Edwin Livingston and Aaron Serfaty. The pandeiro highlights the sultry swish of the woman from Ipanema, while Jobim’s original theme comes into focus.
#5 – Chovendo Na Roseira – Composed by Antonio Carlos Jobim. A choir of ten, including Ms. DeLuna’s ensemble, guests, and extras, brings spellbinding sound to this Jobim composition. Clarice Cast appears on tabla and percussion, and Ms. DeLuna sings with reverence and resonance. The track opens and closes with the choir in surreal fusion, with lively piano-percussion interludes. The tabla and bass each add earthy syncopation, and there’s a sense of classicism to the arrangement.
#8 – Encontros E Despedidas – Composed by Milton Nascimento / Fernando Brant. Guest artists, Alex Acuña, on percussion, and Bob Sheppard, on alto flute, are featured here. The album notes mention “the image of life itself being like a train terminal”, and, remarkably, the piece evokes loneliness, urbanity, darkness, and trepidation. Mr. Sheppard’s flute, no lush imagery here, is, rather, like a taut heart string. Mr. Livingston’s bass is illuminated in soulful solitude, backed by soft piano phrases. Mr. Acuña’s percussion is like footsteps in shadows, while Ms. DeLuna sings in Portuguese and solo vowels, for poignant listening.
#9 – Lamentos – Composed by Pixinguinha / Vinicius de Moraes. Mr. Koonse is featured on guitar here, with languid interludes, and Ms. DeLuna and Mr. Ruiz join, here and there, for vocal fusion. “Lamentos” is a traditional “choro”, originating in 19th century Rio de Janeiro. The track begins, before the guitar is showcased, with Ms. DeLuna’s effervescent vocal solo over the piano theme, on the heels of bass and drums. This is an album of truly authentic Brazilian tunes, re-arranged with imagination and ingenuity.