Award-winning composer John Finbury and singer-lyricist Thalma de Freitas team up for the first time on Sorte!
Their new album of Brazilian-flaired Latin Jazz songs was produced by Latin Grammy winner Emilio D. Miler, who assembled an all-star band, featuring Vitor Gonçalves on piano, Rhodes and accordion, John Patitucci on bass, Chico Pinheiro on guitar, Duduka Da Fonseca on drums, and Rogerio Boccato and the legendary Airto Moreira on percussion. This joint artistic venture finds Ms. de Freitas’ natural talent seasoned by experience, evident in her wise and personal lyrics and exquisite vocal delivery.
The program opens with “Sorte!”, a joyful song about serendipity, and how “excellent mistakes can also mean luck”. Under the lush harmonies of Gonçalves’ Rhodes and Thalma’s sultry vocals, one can hear hints of another voice: it’s Airto Moreira’s “vocal percussion”, which playfully complements the rest of his instruments. The final conversation between Rhodes, guitar and vocals, serves as a new landmark for musical chemistry and interplay.
“Filha” is the singer’s message to her daughter; brimming with the tender devotion of a parent watching their kid grow up, the lyrics elegantly float away from an admonitory tone, and present the different sides of kindness and self-worth some adults still ask of each other. Mr. Patitucci takes the lead on two occasions, matching the emotional vocal delivery, by making his acoustic bass sing with a lyrical fluency that attests to his immense musical gifts and virtuosity.
A hard-hitting tune which dissolves into timelessness, only to build itself up again, “Ondas” offers a playful take, somewhere between scientific and esoteric, on the ways one’s mind, body and soul might be influenced by outside energies or “waves”. The electric guitar solo by Chico Pinheiro is a perfect fit for the theme, driving the song’s energy to new heights.
“Maio” was inspired by another stroke of serendipity: Thalma de Freitas and John Finbury share the same birthday in May. The lyrics wistfully expand on that sense of cycle, balance and rebirth.
A deep, joint sigh by accordion and voice, colored by Airto Moreira’s signature sounds of the Rainforest give way to “Oração”, undoubtedly the most meditative song on the album. John Patitucci’s is featured on the acoustic bass once again, before switching to electric for “Surrealismo Tropical”, which closes the program with an irresistible groove, and lyrics inspired by author Robin Kelley’s (“Freedom Dreams”) belief that “to make a better world, we must first imagine it”.
John Finbury shocked the Latin music scene in 2016, upon securing a Latin Grammy nomination in “Song Of The Year” for “A Chama Verde” from his album “Imáginario”, which featured Marcella Camargo on vocals and a band comprised of Boston’s best. Though relatively new to Latin American audiences then, Finbury, a graduate of the Longy School of Music and Boston University, has been writing songs for over 40 years. The same ensemble recorded his follow-up album, “Pitanga”, in 2017.
Thalma de Freitas is a household name in her native Brazil, initially as an award-winning actress, who's appeared in mainstream movies, television and theatre.
A multidisciplinary artist, Thalma became a solo singer in 1996 and has since released three albums under her name, as well as fourth one with the big band Orquestra Imperial. As a songwriter, she has collaborated with such artists as Caetano Veloso, Gal Costa, João Donato, Céu and Kamasi Washington, among others. Based in Los Angeles since 2012, she has become an important part of the local scene, while retaining her close ties with Brazil.
Sorte! provides a rich musical journey with deep, meaningful lyrics and wonderful playing that will appeal equally to Jazz and Brazilian music lovers, and essentially, to anyone willing to surrender their emotions to a good song.