tony_logo_small_new
Issue 703, Mar 19-25, 2009

DANIEL TAUBKIN
Joe's Pub, Sun 22

703.mu.x480.taubkin.rev.2

São Paulo, Brazil, is a huge, work-driven metropolis, and much of its music is brainy and ambitious. One of the city's outstanding prodigies is singer, songwriter and arranger Daniel Taubkin, the hippie-intellectual black sheep of a distinguished musical family. Taubkin was discovered in 1985 by legendary singer, songwriter and guitarist Dori Caymmi, who featured him in a series of concerts. Thousands of Caymmi fans heard Taubkin's pleading voice, which rings out like a cry in the night.

Since then, Taubkin's vision has grown as broad as the urban sprawl he lives in; all of his CDs sound different.
Brazsil is a lush soundscape of his country, inspired by Jobim's orchestral albums of the '70s. A Picture of Your Life, sung in English, finds him wailing like Robert Plant as he describes the American heartland he's seen. (On one track, "The Johnny Weissmuller Story," Taubkin lets out Tarzan yells to rival the original.) Uma Beleza Estranha offers stark settings of his original art songs; Cinema da Rua is a pop-rock portrait of the São Paulo streets.

Taubkin's latest album,
Sertão Negro, combines big-band swing, funk grooves and samba, performed by about 80 musicians and singers. They include his brother Benjamim Taubkin, one of Brazil's most elegant pianists and arrangers, and his mother, Sarita Radzanowicz, a concert singer of chilling intensity. Everyone who attends Taubkin's Manhattan debut at Joe's Pub will get a copy of the record, and tickets are just $12—a bargain price for the panorama he'll bring to that tiny stage.—James Gavin