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178: The Claudia Quintet +1 feat. Kurt Elling, ‘Showtime’ (“What is the Beautiful?”)

What is the Beautiful?
(Hint: The best things in life are acquired tastes.)

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099: Luciana Souza, ‘Baião à Tempo’ (“An Answer to Your Silence”)

I get that not everyone needs to go hacking through impregnable jazz jungles or crawling across atonal minimalist deserts or getting lost in endless Nordic a cappella virgin forests. But believe me, Luciana Souza’s “An Answer to Your Silence” is vocal jazz of singular, innovative genius – groundbreaking, underappreciated, and regretfully unknown. It is THE most interesting CD I’ve heard in the last decade.

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114: Luciana Souza, ‘Morrer de Amor’

‘Morrer de Amor’ as sung by Luciana Souza – the lyrics of this song are in a language I don’t understand, and I know almost nothing about its background. But the rendition is of such utter beauty and unspeakable perfection that its emotional eloquence transcends any need for explication. I’m just going to turn off my analytical brain, close my verbose mouth, and hope that you’ll be as moved by it as I am.

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108: Michael McDonald/Luciana Souza, ‘I Can Let Go Now’

Here’s another pair of sublime/shlock treatments of a heartwrenching/heartburning ballad. I’m far too snobbish to admit that I swoon over both –’I Can Let Go Now’ by both its writer, light-heavyweight Michael McDonald, and by the regal Luciana Souza.

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100: Luciana Souza, ‘Chorinho Pra Ele’ (“Brazilian Duos”)

Luciana Souza recorded two albums of traditional Brazilian popular music accompanied by a single guitar. She’s consummate artist, relying neither on gimmicks nor on sex appeal, but on a refined, passionate, soulful aesthetic. Listen to her singing ‘Chorinho Pra Ele’. If you aren’t charmed out of your chair, you’re either dead or shouldn’t be listening to music.

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