Luciana Souza

Luciana Souza (born July 12, 1966) is a Brazilian jazz singer and composer who also works in classical and chamber music.

Luciana Souza
Born (1966-07-12) July 12, 1966
São Paulo, Brazil
GenresJazz, bossa nova
Years active1992–present
LabelsSunnyside, Verve

Music career

A native of São Paulo, Brazil, Souza is the daughter of Tereza Souza and Walter Santos.[1][2] Her mother wrote poetry and her father played guitar.[3] They also made a living by writing commercial jingles for radio and songs for Elis Regina and Joao Gilberto.[1] Through her parents' profession, Luciana Souza recorded for the first time for a radio commercial when she was three years old.[1] She heard big band music at home from her father's collection of Stan Kenton, Duke Ellington, Bill Holman, Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, Carmen McRae, Ella Fitzergald, and Sarah Vaughan.[1] For influences, she has mentioned her father, Hermeto Pascoal, and Antonio Carlos Jobim.[1] Souza studied guitar, piano, and voice.[1]

She studied in Brazil at Unicamp University and received a degree in jazz composition in 1988 from Berklee College of Music in Boston.[1][2] She received a master's degree from the New England Conservatory of Music in 1994.[1][2] She has taught at Berklee and the Manhattan School of Music and was Jazz Artist in Residence with San Francisco Performances from 2004 to 2010.

In the early 1990s she went on tour with Hermeto Pascoal and the Zimbo Trio.[1][2] She has also worked with Donald Brown, Joey Calderazzo, Oscar Castro-Neves David Kikoski, Steve Lacy, Romero Lubambo, Bob Moses, John Patitucci, Danilo Perez, Maria Schenider, Kenny Werner, Kenny Wheeler, and Paul Winter.[1]

Souza has performed classical music with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, the New York Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, the Los Angeles Master Chorale, and Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart; chamber music with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, A Far Cry, and the American Composer's Orchestra. She has collaborated with composers Derek Bermel, Patrick Zimmerli, Rachel Grimes, Angélica Negrón, Shara Nova, Caroline Shaw, and Sarah Kirkland Snider.

She is a founding member of Moss, a vocal group with Theo Bleckmann, Peter Eldridge, Lauren Kinhan, and Kate McGarry.[2] Since 2006, she has been married to record producer Larry Klein.[2]

Awards and honors

Souza won a Grammy Award in 2007 as a featured vocalist on Herbie Hancock's album River: The Joni Letters. She was nominated for Best Jazz Vocal Album for Brazilian Duos (2003), North and South (2004), Duos II (2006), Tide (2010), and The Book of Chet (2013).[4][5] She was nominated for Best Latin Jazz Album for Duos III (2013).[2] She was named Female Singer of the Year in 2005 and 2013 by the Jazz Journalists Association.[2]


As leader

  • An Answer to Your Silence (NYC, 1998)
  • The Poems of Elizabeth Bishop and Other Songs (Sunnyside, 2000)
  • Brazilian Duos (Biscoito Fino, 2002)
  • Norte e Sul (Biscoito Fino, 2003)
  • Neruda (Sunnyside, 2004)
  • Duos II (Sunnyside, 2005)
  • The New Bossa Nova (Verve, 2007)
  • Tide (Verve, 2009)
  • Duos III (Sunnyside, 2012)
  • The Book of Chet (Sunnyside, 2012)
  • Speaking in Tongues (Sunnyside, 2015)
  • The Book of Longing (Sunnyside, 2018)

As guest

Further reading

  • Block, Melissa. "Luciana Souza: From Bossa Nova to Chet Baker". (NPR) August 31, 2012.[6]
  • Blumenfeld, Larry. "Loneliness in Two Languages". The Wall Street Journal. August 27, 2012
  • Garsd, Jasmine. "Saudade - An Unstoppable, Undeniably Potent Word". NPR, Alt Latino. February 28, 2014.[7]
  • Jacki Lyden. "Souza Lends a Fresh Note to Brazilian Music". NPR. May 14, 2005.[8]
  • McGowan, Chris. "Luciana Souza: A Bossa Nova Baby Makes Her Way in the Jazz Realm". The Huffington Post. January 4, 2014.
  • McGowan, Chris. The Brazilian Music Book: Brazil's Singers, Songwriters and Musicians Tell the Story of Bossa Nova, MPB, and Brazilian Jazz and Pop. Culture Planet, June 2014
  • Morrison, Allen. "Distill Everything". Down Beat. October 2012
  • Ratliff, Ben. "Guitar and Conversation: A Singer at Ease with Her Roots". The New York Times. November 27, 2001
  • Smith, Steve. "Crossing Borders with Allure". The New York Times. April 7, 2014
  • Teachout, Terry. "She's Brazilian, Tempered by a Bit of Everything Else". The New York Times. August 4, 2002


  1. Yanow, Scott (2008). The Jazz Singers: The Ultimate Guide. Backbeat. p. 205. ISBN 978-0-87930-825-4.
  2. Jurek, Thom. "Luciana Souza". AllMusic. Retrieved 18 September 2019.
  3. Morrison, Allen (18 October 2018). "Luciana Souza Returns to Her Poetic Ways on New Album". JazzTimes. Retrieved 18 September 2019.
  4. "Souza's 'New Bossa Nova' Covers Pop Standards". 15 October 2007. Retrieved 6 December 2014.
  5. "Luciana Souza: Revising Pop by Way of Bossa Nova". 21 October 2007. Retrieved 6 December 2014.
  6. "Luciana Souza: From Bossa Nova To Chet Baker". 31 August 2012. Retrieved 6 December 2014.
  7. "Saudade: An Untranslatable, Undeniably Potent Word". 28 February 2014. Retrieved 6 December 2014.
  8. "Souza Lends a Fresh Note to Brazilian Music". 14 May 2005. Retrieved 6 December 2014.
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