Vera Cruz - Maurício de Souza’s Bossa Brasil®
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Trajetórias

Maurício de Souza's new album, "Trajetórias" (Pitoca Music, 2016), is available at CD Baby, most online stores, and live performances.​ 

Trajetórias, Maurício de Souza's new, third album, features Bossa Brasil®'s live performance at Galeria West on May 27, 2016. The group recorded nine tracks of Brazilian jazz tunes, featuring de Souza's arrangements of compositions by Tom Jobim, Milton Nascimento, Hermeto Pascoal, and Pat Metheny.  

 

The album covers a wide range of Brazilian jazz styles and rhythms, such as Bossa Nova, Samba, and Baião. The tracks take the listener on a trip of numerous moods: exciting, romantic, and nostalgic. The overall performance has a high energy level, even on the more subtle tunes.  

 

The group is a quartet/quintet with Maurício de Souza (drums), Dmitry Baevsky (alto sax), Jerry Weir (vibes), Bob Rodriguez (keyboard on 3 tracks), and Gary Mazzaroppi (acoustic bass). To hear sound samples, please click here. The album was recorded, mixed, and mastered by Dave Kowalski. Photos by Peter Murphy.

 

RELEASE PERFORMANCES (please visit the Performances 2017 page for more details and more upcoming performances):

Saturday, September 16th, 2017 at DiMenna Center in New York, NY. 8-9:30pm.

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017 at Westfield Sweet Sounds Downtown Jazz Festival in Westfield, NJ. 7-9pm.

Saturday, June 24th, 2017 at Mondo in Summit, NJ. 8-10pm. A TEATRO Sí production.

Friday, June 23rd, 2017 at Priory Jazz Club in Newark, NJ. 7-11pm.

Sunday, April 9th, 2017 at UPAC in Rahway, NJ. 7-9pm.

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017 at Saint Peter's Church in New York, NY. 1-2pm. 

Friday, September 30th, 2016 at Galeria West in Westfield, NJ. 7:30-9:30pm.

REVIEWS and MORE:

Review by Chris Slawecki for All About Jazz - January 2018.

Review by Tom Greenland for The New York City Jazz Record - August 2017.

Article/Review by Amanda Panicali for "Tap Into Rahway" - CD Release concert at UCPAC. Full Article.

All About Jazz Showcase - March - April, 2017.

Hot House Jazz Magazine, January 2017 by Seaton Hawkins (print and online). 

Radio interview with Joel Perry for his show, "Jersey Bounce" on WFDU 89.1FM. February 12th, 2017.

Scott Yanow, Jazz Journalist/Historian/Author (February 2017):

Mauricio De Souza’s Bossa Brasil
Trajetórias

Pitoca Music PITM-0527

 

            Mauricio de Souza is a versatile drummer equally comfortable with Brazilian music (which he performs with Bossa Brasil) and straight ahead jazz. Born in Brazil and a former student of the late Joe Morello, he has lived in New Jersey since 2004, working prolifically on the East Coast.

            Trajetórias features Bossa Brasil, a quartet/quintet comprised of the leader on drums, altoist Dmitry Baevsky, vibraphonist Jerry Weir, bassist Gary Mazzaroppi and, on three of the nine selections, keyboardist Bob Rodriguez. For the project, de Souza and his musicians perform his arrangements of six songs by the great Antonio Carlos Jobim and one apiece by Hermeto Pascoal, Milton Nascimento and Pat Metheny.

            The alto-vibes frontline along with the fresh treatments of the repertoire gives Bossa Brasil its own individual group sound. While much of the music is mellow and melodic, it has its heated moments with plenty of subtle surprises heard along the way.

            Trajetórias opens with “Vivo Sonhando,” a Jobim piece that inspires fine alto and vibes solos and a few breaks from the leader. Pascoal’s Bebe” is treated tastefully with an excellent solo by keyboardist Rodriguez. Jobim’s “Fotografia” is always a memorable song while his lesser-known “Red Blouse” is highlighted by some boppish playing by altoist Baevsky.

            Milton Nascimento’s “Vera Cruz” is quite a tour-de-force for the group during a memorable 12-minute performance. After Weir’s tender introduction on vibes and the melody statement, the piece gradually becomes quite fiery. Weir, Baevsky and Rodriguez each make concise and inventive statements before de Souza creates a thoughtful and impressive drum solo that builds and builds. Pat Metheny’s “Spring Ain’t Here” adapts well to the bossa-nova setting with Baevsky’s alto in the lead. Trajetórias closes with a trio of classic Jobim pieces: “Caminhos Cruzados,” the rhythmically tricky “Chovendo Na Roseira” and a surprising uptempo version of “Inutil Paisagem” (“If You Never Come To Me”) which has cooking vibes, alto and drum solos. On the latter piece, de Souza shows how he can create a maximum amount of music with just a few sounds from his drum kit.

            Otherwise, Mauricio de Souza is content to provide stimulating support and enjoy the playing of his talented sidemen. The music on Trajetórias is easy to enjoy and has variety in moods and tempos. It is highly recommended to fans of modern bossa nova and Antonio Carlos Jobim.

 

Scott Yanow, jazz journalist/historian and author of 11 books including Afro-Cuban Jazz and Jazz On Record 1917-76.

"Producer de Souza envelops each live performance in the clear sound of a classic 1970s Creed Taylor CTI Records production: crisp but not cold, detailed but not cluttered, cool but not icy.

(...) de Souza proves to be a genuine master of Brazilian and jazz drumming. The leader's drums are the essential force that organizes and drives "Bebê," and after bassist Gary Mazzaroppi completes its encyclopedic round of instrumental solos, de Souza calls "Fotografia" back to order with one simple, masterful stroke. He stretches out "Vera Cruz" to more than twelve minutes with a drum solo that creates from overlapping rolls and counterrhythms a sound and pulse which rise like a ghost over the bandstand. Just like the leader's playing, if not the entire ensemble's, Trajetórias is a quiet, understated masterpiece that exponentially rewards repeated listens."

- Chirs Slawecki, All About Jazz.

"De Souza’s drumming is supple and energetic, never overbearing. On the baião and “Inútil Paisagem”, 
 a samba taken at breakneck tempo, he plays extended but well-developed solos, inspired yet unflustered by the pressures of high-speed improvisation."

- Tom Greenland, The New York City Jazz Record.
 

"The alto-vibes frontline along with the fresh treatments of the repertoire gives Bossa Brasil its own individual group sound. While much of the music is mellow and melodic, it has its heated moments with plenty of subtle surprises heard along the way." - Scott Yanow, Jazz Journalist/Historian/Author.

 

"A gifted and chameleonic drummer, Brazilian native Mauricio de Souza has, for more than a decade, proven to be a sought-after percussion force in the states since relocating to New Jersey in 2004.  An excellent sideman and collaborator, Mauricio shines as a bandleader as he heads up a unique set of solo projects."

- Seton Hawkins, Hot House Jazz Magazine.

"I didn’t realize for the longest time, as I listened to Trajetórias at my desk, that I was actually using my pen to play air drums and keep the beat. It was a natural instinct. Every song, arranged by de Souza himself, is almost literally jumping with energy. Take “Inútil Paisagem,” for example, written by Antônio Carlos Jobim. The piece begins with a slow, dreamy vibraphone solo for about 50 seconds, calling to mind the sounds one would hear opening a music box. Then suddenly, de Souza’s drums burst onto the scene, playing so quickly that the image I saw next was someone running as fast as he/she possibly could. And that beat continues for the entire song thereafter, with the other instruments chiming in with frantic notes played up and down and down and up the scale. At about 3:53, they drop out again for a drum solo by de Souza. The cymbals keep up that constant, frantic beat in the background while the bass drum goes to town, intermingled with a few well placed, hard tap sounds. What struck me most about this solo was the way de Souza used pauses as if they were beats. When my mind, trying to understand the patterns, placed a beat where there wasn’t one, I got a jolt of surprise. But, the pauses still made sense in the pattern; the absence of sound was used as a method of creating sequence."

- Amanda Panicali, Tap Into Rahway. Full Article.

Tracks:

1. Vivo Sonhando (Tom Jobim): Maurício de Souza (drums), Dmitry Baevsky (alto sax), Jerry Weir (vibes), Gary Mazzaroppi (bass).

 

2. Bebê (Hermeto Pascoal): Maurício de Souza (drums), Dmitry Baevsky (alto sax), Bob Rodriguez (keyboard), Jerry Weir (vibes), Gary Mazzaroppi (bass).

3.​ Fotografia (Tom Jobim): Maurício de Souza (drums), Dmitry Baevsky (alto sax), Jerry Weir (vibes), Gary Mazzaroppi (bass).



4. Red Blouse (Tom Jobim): Maurício de Souza (drums), Dmitry Baevsky (alto sax), Jerry Weir (vibes), Gary Mazzaroppi (bass).



5. Vera Cruz (Milton Nascimento): Maurício de Souza (drums), Dmitry Baevsky (alto sax), Bob Rodriguez (keyboard), Jerry Weir (vibes), Gary Mazzaroppi (bass).



6. Spring Ain't Here (Pat Metheny): Maurício de Souza (drums), Dmitry Baevsky (alto sax), Jerry Weir (vibes), Gary Mazzaroppi (bass).



7. Caminhos Cruzados (Tom Jobim): Maurício de Souza (drums), Dmitry Baevsky (alto sax), Jerry Weir (vibes), Gary Mazzaroppi (bass).



8. Chovendo Na Roseira (Tom Jobim): Maurício de Souza (drums), Dmitry Baevsky (alto sax), Bob Rodriguez (keyboard), Jerry Weir (vibes), Gary Mazzaroppi (bass).

 

9. Inútil Paisagem (Tom Jobim): Maurício de Souza (drums), Dmitry Baevsky (alto sax), Jerry Weir (vibes), Gary Mazzaroppi (bass).

10. Introductions.

The Making of "Trajetórias" by Maurício de Souza

June 2020

 

 

Thank you for taking the time to read the liner notes for my first live album, "Trajetórias". The timing for my sitting down to write these notes couldn't be more ironic and nostalgic. We are now months into the Covid 19 pandemic and the group hasn't performed live in a while. Thinking back to the time when we recorded this album brings me a sweet smile. It was a hectic day, traffic was heavy on the highways, people were running behind schedule. I look so tired on pictures from that day. There was certainly a lot of planning and preparing for that night. My mind was going a thousand miles an hour, trying to think of everything all at once. In the end, everything clicked and it turned out to be a very successful evening in every way. I'm glad we were able to capture some great moments we had as a band that night.       

 

 

Like in my previous albums ("Here. There..." and "Different Directions"), the central concept is direction. Only, this time, the title is in Portuguese. "Trajetórias" means "trajectories". In Portuguese it can have a more informal touch to it, often referring to life paths. The title seemed very attractive to me, being that it is in Portuguese and it expresses my constant devotion to finding new musical and career paths for myself and the group. 

Another concept I had for the live album was to revisit some of the music from my previous studio albums in a live setting, while adding some new tracks to our recorded catalog. In addition, I wanted to record what our set list normally looked and sounded like. I'm always careful in crafting it so it is interesting and pleasant to the listeners while keeping us fully engaged in the as diverse as possible music selection. 

 

 

Track 1: Vivo Sonhando by Antônio Carlos Jobim.

This is one of my favorite Jobim tunes to play. It is so beautiful in its simplistic form, flowing melody, and floating Bossa rhythm.  Although it is normally performed at a slower tempo, I like to play it faster, while still capturing the subtle quality of the music. I really enjoy how the syncopated rhythms sound at a faster tempo. With our arrangement, this tune becomes a great night opener, featuring every member in the band.  

 

 

Track 2: Bebê by Hermeto Pascoal.

The setting for the concerts at Galeria West normally called for a quartet with no piano, since the venue was an art gallery and didn't have an actual piano. But, I had to have Bob Rodriguez in this live project so I decided to have him play keyboard on three tunes for the album. He brought not only his remarkable skills as a piano player, but cool keyboard sounds and this amazing intro for Bebê. This medium Baião is always a pleasure and challenge to play. 

 

Track 3: Fotografia by Antônio Carlos Jobim.

Dmitry's lyrical, velvety, and smooth playing fit this Jobim classic like a glove. Jerry navigates through his solo with so much joy, it's contagious. Gary's solo puts the final touch on this reflective and nostalgic moment. The intimate and artistic atmosphere of the Gallery helped bring out the also intimate and beautiful quality of the music.  

 

 

Track 4: Red Blouse by Antônio Carlos Jobim.

We all love Jobim's extensive repertoire of Bossa Nova classics (I always say that one can't go wrong with his music, he was such an incredible and prolific composer). But I always thoroughly enjoy exploring and playing his lesser know tunes. They have a different quality to them, to me they express a different side of him. Red Blouse is one of those tunes. Although played by a small group, one can hear how this tune would work really well as a big band arrangement (it certainly has some elements of it). Kicking off solos with Gary's bass solo certainly add an extra element of surprise to the arrangement. 

 

Track 5: Vera Cruz by Milton Nascimento.

Ah, Vera Cruz. One of Brasil's original names. Such a rich composition, with its haunting intro, passionate melody, and fun to jam on vamp. Jerry does a magnificent job in capturing the haunting quality of the intro and plays a phenomenal solo. Dmitry plays a wealth of cool lines. Bob also builds up excitement with his intricate harmonic explorations. I always enjoy taking my time on my drum solo and going on new paths that come up along the way. I had recently added a smaller tom to my drum set (it arrived literally days before the recording), just in time to to add another element to my playing for the album. 

 

 

Track 6: Spring Ain't Here by Pat Metheny.

As a huge fan of Pat's playing and compositions, it was with great pleasure that I added another one of his tunes to our repertoire. Quite a few of his tunes go really well with a Bossa feel behind them. This laid back tune is perfect following a high energy tune. It's a nice, relaxing break for the audience and the band. 

 

 

Track 7: Caminhos Cruzados by Antônio Carlos Jobim.

This lovely Jobim composition has a special place in my musical heart. The title resonates with certain periods of my life. I had known the tune for years but it was brought to my closer attention by my then girlfriend, Emily Cyrier. For the recording, I decided to make it a vibes feature for Jerry, so he could showcase his feathery touch on his instrument and strong melodic expression. The subtle "vibe" of the tune also opens up possibilities for Gary's bass solo. Dmitry's playing on the head out gives the arrangement an extra, unexpected, nice closing touch.    

Tack 8: Chovendo Na Roseira by Antônio Carlos Jobim. 

This is another one of my Jobim favorites. It has not only a beautifully written melody but also an intricate structure (with extra measures and short metric modulations) that makes it such a pleasure to play and explore during solos. Bob's organ sound really help shape the unique quality of the composition. It's great to hear how unique each of the solos are in the recording. 

 

Track 9: Inútil Paisagem by Antônio Carlos Jobim. 

This has become a second drum solo for me with two distinctive influences. My drum teacher, Joe Morello, showed me a stick and brush beat that Mongo Santa Maria had shown him years ago. One can hear Joe using it in different recordings. I had the pleasure of seeing him play it live many times. That beat is basically a Samba beat. This is another composition that is usually played very slowly. However, I was delightfully surprised to hear Karrin Allyson's up tempo arrangement in one of her albums. It inspired me to make this tune a blazing fast samba with a big drum solo in it. It came out even faster than usual during this concert. Jerry's intro is so lyrically and cleverly performed. Dmitry's playing on this tune is astounding!   

 

Track 10: Introductions. 

Brazilian Jazz, Jazz and Beyond

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