Monday, September 8, 2014


As summer draws to a close in Toronto, at the Rex the sounds of summer were alive again thanks to a quartet led by vocalist Valeria Matzner.    This quartet, consisting of voice and an acoustic rhythm section of piano, bass and drums, brought the exotic rhythms and harmonic complexities of Brazilian music, ranging from samba to bossa nova.    Not only Valeria Matzner’s group brought the sounds and flavours of Brazil in their performances, they provided a sense of originality through their original compositions designed specifically for their own group.

The band opens with a piece of Scott Metcalfe’s (a brilliant pianist and composer in his own right) “Brazilian Charlatan Pitch”.   It is a primarily instrumental composition that shows the scat sensibilities of Ms. Matzner along with a brilliant solo by pianist Metcalfe and a drum coda provided by Max Senitt that is full of rhythm and pop.  

Among the other highlights of the night is when Valeria takes a break to allow the trio to play Scott Kemp’s composition “Shai Cone”, which opens with a bass solo of Kemp’s that shows off the classical and virtuosic influence of bassists before him such as Charles Mingus, Charlie Haden, and Scott Lafaro.   Then it breaks into a funky jam with creative playing and solos throughout by the trio.

Valeria shows off the beauty of her voice through her moving rendition of the ballad “The Island” as well as her co composed songs with Metcalfe “Cor” and “Grey”.   Her voice is filled with a beauty and vitality that really soars and radiates positivity every chance she gets.   Closing out the first set is an Elis Regina number called “Madalena”, which was so good, crisp and to the point that I had to record video to show the world how great this band is.

Valeria Matzner is on the hook for her debut CD this year, and I really can’t wait to hear more.   If you haven’t heard of her already and love the video, be sure to catch her whenever you have a chance.   One note and you wish you were on the next flight to Rio.


(Valeria Matzner with Scott Metcalfe, Scott Kemp and Max Senitt performing "Madalena"

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