Duda Lucena
Duda Lucena Quartet: Live

Quentin Baxter’s feathery, syncopated brush work and pianist Gerald Gregory’s masterful accents and progressions pepper Duda Lucena’s new live album as much as Lucena’s playful licks, melodies, or Portuguese lyrics. The chemistry between the Brazilian-born singer/guitarist and his partners is obvious.

Six of the seven tracks are reworkings of Brazilian standards. “Lugar Comum” sets the mood with a melodically enticing arrangement. The track features one of the disc’s most tasteful bass solos from Kevin Hamilton.

Lucena conjures bits of melancholy out of his nylon strings on the slinky and delicate “Corcovado” by Antonio Carlos Jobim. Baxter’s crisp strokes across the snare drum and cymbals push the combo on their funky rendition of Djavan’s “Sina.” The album’s lone original, “Sol,” is the jazziest of the bunch, thanks to Baxter’s snappy rim clicks, Gregory’s dynamic embellishments, and Hamilton’s rumbling bass lines. Lucena’s whistling solo is a nice surprise on Caetano Veloso’s “Trilhos Urbanos.”

When Lucena started performing in town a few years ago, his repertoire tended to stick with traditional styles. The jazz cats with him here add a nice touch. Rhythmically rousing, sultry, and tuneful, Live combines the best of both worlds. (dudalucena.com

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