Joyce Moreno / Kenny Werner - Poesia
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Poesia: The Beauty of the Ballad
“A Brazilian treasure” teams up with one of America’s “most literate and visceral pianists” in this balladic duet of passion and spirit: the Joyce Moreno and Kenny Werner PIROUET album Poesia.
The above quoted kudos from Down Beat and Keyboard magazines only hint at the richness of these two exceptional musicians.
Impressive credentials, but how did the two bridge the 5000 mile gap between Rio and New York? First, Kenny Werner has had a love affair with Brazilian music since the early 70’s when he first traveled to Brazil with saxophonist Victor Assis Brasil. Joyce recalls first meeting Kenny in New York in 1989 when he was playing with some Brazilian musicians she knew, and at the Village Vanguard with the Vanguard Orchestra. “I had just signed with Verve and was looking for a pianist for my album. I loved Kenny’s playing, and immediately invited him.” Kenny is on both of the albums Joyce did for Verve, took part in her 1991 Japan tour, and has become Joyce’s pianist of choice when she plays in New York. But it goes deeper. “In our case the friendship evolved into something personal, with our families knowing each other. There can be a long gap between our seeing each other, and we can pick up the conversation from the same point.” Werner seconds the notion.
The seeds of Poesia were planted a few years ago in Brazil. Kenny was playing in Rio with his trio, and invited Joyce and husband drummer Tutti Moreno to come to the club. Kenny asked Joyce to sit in, and as Kenny describes, “It was like waves of love and harmony…we knew this was something special.” They started talking about a duo album. Joyce remembers, “We had quite a few conversations about how we would like to do it—free? Improvised? With my guitar or without it? What kind of repertoire? On the repertoire side, we finally decided to go for the beauty, before anything else, choose the most beautiful songs possible, beautiful melodies that also had meaningful lyrics—that was important.” So Joyce flew to New York and they did it. Kenny exclaims, “It was so beautiful, it was perfect. No fixes, no edits. We have a way of relating to each other that’s instantaneous. It has nothing to do with her being a Brazilian artist and I’m American: we take off our costumes and become two sets of ears that are completely involved in listening to each other. The idea was to get to the roots of the ballads. Let’s find the most classically beautiful pieces and then let’s express their emotion.”