Joyce & Dori Caymmi | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Joyce & Dori Caymmi 

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One of the most sophisticated singers in modern Brazilian music, Joyce has spent four decades blending jazz rhythms with lush samba and bossa nova. When she emerged as a solo artist in the late 60s she was pursuing an expansive, folk-tinged sound; she began expressing a strong female perspective in her lyrics, a rare thing in Brazilian popular music at the time. After stepping away from the spotlight to raise a family, she returned in 1975 to tour as a singer and guitarist with Vinicius de Moraes; she also started to take a growing interest in jazz and in 1977 moved to New York, where she began working with the likes of saxist Michael Brecker and arranger Claus Ogerman. By the time she released her classic 1980 album, Feminina, she'd settled on the sound she's explored ever since, using her crystalline voice to embroider lovely melodies with a rhythmic dexterity unmatched among Brazilian vocalists. She's found a new audience in England's acid-jazz scene in recent years, and though she's not averse to working with a nu-jazz synthesist like Bugge Wesseltoft, her sound's remained pure. Her latest album, Rio Bahia (Far Out), is a collaboration with guitarist, arranger, and composer Dori Caymmi, son of legendary songwriter Dorival Caymmi. As the title suggests, it's also an attempt to mesh the sounds of Brazil's two greatest musical regions. The mix of sambas and bossa novas gets a boost from jazz pianist Kenny Werner, but the songs never lose their distinctly Brazilian rhythms; Caymmi's husky bray limns Joyce's airy cry here and there, but more often he lets his crisp acoustic guitar and arrangements complement her vocals. Joyce tours often, but this is the first time she's performed in Chicago. Paulinho Garcia opens. Mon 11/14, 8 PM, HotHouse, 31 E. Balbo, 312-362-9707, $20 in advance, $22 at the door.

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