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Critics' summer picks | JAZZ/WORLD MUSIC

Here's hoping Gilberto plays

May 22, 2003|Don Heckman

The worrisome anticipation that the summer's music schedules might be affected by travel difficulties associated with the war on terrorism and the problems in the Middle East now appears to have been exaggerated. At the moment (keep your fingers crossed), none of the summer's far-ranging events in world music or jazz seem in danger of cancellation.

And that's all to the good, given that the prime event -- the appearance of Brazilian singer-guitarist Joao Gilberto at the Hollywood Bowl on July 23 -- features a performer who has occasionally canceled performances for reasons less pressing than the hazards of terrorist-era travel.

Assuming he does show up at the Bowl (and the Philharmonic assures that he will), the concert will afford the opportunity to hear one of the 20th century's seminal musical artists. Gilberto, a transformative figure in Brazilian music, brilliantly combined voice and guitar into a symbiotic blend of melody, harmony and rhythm. That combination triggered the bossa nova wave of the '50s and influenced virtually every musician who followed. A primary figure in Brazil, he has also been one of the models for post-bebop jazz guitarists.

The program will open with an appearance by the talented young singer-composer Luciana Souza, whose jazz-tinged Brazilian style has been deeply influenced by both Gilberto and her songwriting parents -- Walter Santos and Tereza Souza (Gilberto contemporaries and musical associates).

-- Don Heckman

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