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Claudia Villela & Romero Lubambo | Jazz at the Athenaeum Art Center

About the Event

The Athenaeum Art Center and Bread & Salt co-present a special concert at 1955 Julian Avenue in Logan Heights, on Saturday, August 17. A longtime friend of the Athenaeum jazz program, the Brazilian vocalist, composer, pianist, and percussionist Claudia Villela is joined by Romero Lubambo on guitar for a program celebrating her latest CD release, Cartas ao Vento, a collection of original compositions that was listed as one of DownBeat’s Best Albums in 2023.

Villela sings mostly in Portuguese, interpreting lyrics with keen emotional insight and supple rhythmic command. DownBeat noted her “unwavering commitment to the highest level of improvisation,” adding: “All discussions about Villela’s singing and songwriting necessarily start with a nod to the dizzying scope and depth of her improvisatory skill. In one tune, she’ll run through several registers, shift vocal qualities, allude to familiar riffs and keep unswerving time. Oh, and improvise a full set of lyrics in Portuguese. It must be said, hardly anybody can do this.” The New York Times celebrated her “remarkable, beautiful, towering voice,” and banjo virtuoso Bela Fleck commented, “She is pure music!”

Lubambo is known to Athenaeum audiences for performances with Chico Pinheiro, Luciana Souza, and Trio Da Paz. He has performed and recorded with many of the outstanding artists of our time, from Dianne Reeves, Michael Brecker, Wynton Marsalis, and Gal Costa to Yo-Yo Ma, Kathleen Battle, and Billie Eilish.

Jazziz wrote, “Guitarist Romero Lubambo may be the best practitioner of his craft in the world today … [his] facility, creativity, and energy are in a class all their own.” DownBeat commented, “Lubambo is by himself the equivalent of an entire samba band … He tosses melodies, bass lines, and rhythms in the air like juggling clubs.”

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