June 2008

Trio Da Paz & Joe Locke - Live at JazzBaltica
MaxJazz MXJ701
Format: CD
Released: 2008

by Shannon Holliday

Musical Performance ****1/2
Recording Quality ****1/2
Overall Enjoyment ****1/2

For those privileged to have been part of the audience at the JazzBaltica Festival in Salzau, Germany on the night of July 1, 2007, the live performance by Brazilian jazz supergroup Trio Da Paz (Romero Lubambo, Nilson Matta, and Duduka Da Fonseca) with special guest vibraphonist Joe Locke is likely to be indelibly marked in their minds. Thankfully, for those of us who were not there, we have this dynamic recording.

From the opening track, it is clear that there is magic in store. Each of the musicians contributes an original composition to the recording. Drummer Da Fonseca’s "Dona Maria" showcases an intricacy and insistent rhythmic drive that fastens you to your seat from the start. Locke joins the stage on the second song, Matta’s "Copacabana," with a bossa nova beat that is the perfect platform for him to introduce his instrument and begin to interplay with the other musicians. Two Antonio Carlos Jobim standards are incorporated into the set, "Wave" and "Look to the Sky," both of which are originally conveyed with a jazz aesthetic, while a third standard, Oscar Hammerstein’s "All the Things You Are," gives both Da Fonseca and Lubambo wide-open solo room. The sound quality of the performance is pristine, each note imparted fully and the audience respectfully hushed until appropriately unleashing resounding applause.

Trio Da Paz is the type of virtuosic jazz group that never ceases to amaze, but throw in a master vibraphonist and a captivated live audience in a palatial German-castle setting with expert sound quality and no wonder Live at JazzBaltica becomes a performance unmatched bar none.