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Album preview: Luciano Antonio’s ‘Sem Palavras’ (‘No Words’)

It’s been four years since Luciano Antonio, Chicago’s self-described Brazilian Jazz guy, released his first album, Vida de Artista (An Artist’s Life). A collection of subtle yet elaborate melodies in a variety of Brazilian styles, Vida de Artista was self-produced and marketed in the same DIY spirit, online and at the shows Antonio plays regularly at restaurants, bars and clubs around Chicagoland.

Vida de Artista helped me establish a new audience that’s interested not only in Brazilian music but in novel, original material,” said Antonio, who was brought up in a musical family in the south of Brazil and studied music performance at the University of Missouri at Kansas City before setting up shop in Chicago.

After two years at work on the follow-up, Sem Palavras (No Words), Antonio is only days away from introducing his new baby to the world.

“Most of it is instrumental, but I can’t say it’s an instrumental album because I vocalize on some songs,” Antonio explained. “I would say it’s an album of melodies, hence the title Sem Palavras. These are melodies that were born without words, sometimes while vocalizing, sometimes while strumming guitar. Some of the melodies were born on sleepless nights, others in emotional moments, and some even at shows where I’m basically playing background music while people are talking, so I take the opportunity to improvise some notes and a melody is born.”

Most of the melodies were composed over the past three to four years, but some date back to 12 years ago, and one was partly composed in 1986, when Antonio was 17. “The album has a variety of styles like samba jazz, bossa nova, baião, afoxé, ballads and a solo guitar number,” Antonio said.

Here’s the teaser:

Sem Palavras was recorded with a crew of multinational musicians with whom Antonio has been sharing the stage for years — Jack Zara on bass, Luiz Ewerling on drums and Silvia Manrique on (wordless) vocals. Piano duties are shared by Poland’s Marcin Fahmy and Breno Sauer, who’s credited with introducing many a Chicagoan to Brazilian music to Chicago in the 1970s and 80s.

Sem Palavras CD Release Party
Wednesday, Feb. 18 at 8:30 p.m.
Free • Reserve tickets

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Sergio Barreto

Brazilian-American editor, web developer and (occasional) event promoter. As founder and content director for this site, I keep an eye on what's wrong with Brazil, but what really makes my heart beat faster is sharing the exciting things happening in Brazilian tech, music, film, and other creative industries.

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