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Luba Mason interview page 3

LM:  You know, it’s funny because even today….after I did a Law & Order episode, I was a guest star, and they just keep running those reruns and I still meet up with people today, “Oh, I saw you just the other day on Law & Order” and I had filmed that Gosh knows how many years ago, but I have to say I’d love to do more of television and more film too.

Jazz Monthly:  It sounds like fun.

LM:  Yeah, yeah, it’s great.  It’s very different but I’d like to do more of that sometime in the future and it’ll happen.

Jazz Monthly: Yes.  Well, I must say that I hope you do more records because when I listened to this CD, Krazy Love, I just fell in love with every song.  I kept hitting repeat and repeat and listening to the lyrics.  For example, Track 7, This House, which features the great Hubert Laws on flute, I could not help but think of what a perfect marriage of music and lyrics.  It’s just exquisite.  Your voice just effortlessly rolls right through it and if you’re sitting in an easy chair, you become more easy.

LM:  Thank you.

Jazz Monthly:  Oh, it’s just a wonderful arrangement of songs and I must tell you, my hat’s off to everyone on your team that had anything—even the guy that went for coffee—there’s congratulations for this record.

LM:  Thank you.  I definitely want to say in the whole process of this album my hat is off to Renato Neto, who is my key collaborator with this project.  He co-wrote some of the songs with me, he played on the album, he co-produced the album with me, and he also did the arrangements.  He was so key in guiding me through this album—not to give all the credit away, it was my idea—but he was just so key in guiding me through this album.  When I first set out to do this album, I originally, like I said, 10 years ago I had planted a seed….I wanted to do a Brazilian album, and the time had come and yes, I now want to focus my career on music now and I want to do more albums, etc. So it came time to do my second album and I wanted to do this Brazilian album, and it first set out to be an album of Brazilian covers and I was listening to a lot of Rosa Passos and Gal Costa and Chico Buarque and Caetano.  I mean, these are all the Brazilian singers and writers.

Jazz Monthly:  You do that so good.  It just rolls right off.

LM:  Well, listen, you know, if I’m setting out to do a Brazilian album, I’ve really got to do my homework and my history, and I really wanted to have the feel, the real feel.  I didn’t want to just do an album and fake it, and so like I said, I set out to do an album of covers and my drummer in my last band, you know, I told him about the idea.  He was like “When is your next?  What are you gonna do?”  I said “Brazilian music” and he said “Oh, you gotta do it with this guy.  This is the guy.”  And he told me about Renato, and just to tell you what a wonderful musician he is, he’s the keyboardist for Prince.

Jazz Monthly:  Yes.

LM:  And Prince is, as we all know, he’s quite the musician and he’s quite picky about who he works with, so Renato’s been working with him for I think at least four or five years now.  And I met Renato and we set out to just do an album of covers, we picked the songs.  I was just so lucky to find him, not only his talent, but he and I just, we had chemistry, it worked, we got along, we worked well together.  After we got all the songs picked, I just wasn’t settled, I just didn’t feel like this was the album—this isn’t everything I want on here, and he said “Well, what do you wanna do?” 

And I said “Well, I think we need to do something a little different with the sound, we need to maybe write something.”  And he goes “Well, do you write?”  I said “No.”  But being the musician that I am, and yes, I’ve dabbled in it over the years, but I never seriously sat down to write.  He goes “Well, you should write” and he said “Maybe next session you and I will write.”  Trying to make a long story short, our next session I brought a song, a chorus and two verses.  It still needed a bridge.  I never finished it.  But I came and I played it for Renato at our next session.  That song is “A Summer Night.”  It’s Track No. 4 on the album.

Jazz Monthly: Yes, oh, it’s a beautiful song too.

LM:  I love that song and I played it for him and, mind you, my playing has been rusty, I really haven’t been playing a whole lot, and he just stood there and looked at me and he said “Play it again.”  And so I played it again for him and after I finished he said “Okay, that’s really good, Luba.  That’s beautiful.”  And he said “Let me try playing it” and he started fiddling around and he said “Yeah, you create this tension and then you release it and set the chords and blah-blah-blah,” so he said “Let’s write” and that session we finished that song, and the next thing you know we were meeting and writing.

Jazz Monthly:  How cool is that?!

LM:  It was a two-year process.  It’s not like we worked around the clock 365 days a year for two years.  He and I would work for about two months.  We would get together every week or two weeks and just work, and then we’d finish and then he’d have to go off and do some work, I went off, I even did Chicago in the middle of that, then we’d come back maybe three to six months later, and get together for another two months. This is what we did for two years and after the two years we had 10 songs and here’s that album and as I said, I just really lucked out with Renato because he gave me a safe, secure, encouraging environment to write and to create, which I really had never done before.  I knew I could do it deep down, but I just never really did it. I guess, the confidence to do it by myself is what he gave me, so I’m grateful to him for that.  He got me what I wanted in this album, and every time I’d throw some input in—I want a little bit of this, I want that—I would help in some of the arrangements, he got it.  It was quite easy to do this album.

Jazz Monthly:  Well, that’s the makings of a great collaboration.

LM:  I agree, I agree, and I don’t think it really happens all the time.

Jazz Monthly:  No, and count your blessings there because it doesn’t, and when it does, it’s so good, and it’s like you say, it’s so easy that you think that it should always be that way, but no, it’s a true blessing to have that kind of collaboration, it really is.

LM:  I agree and I also love the fact that Renato was hip to the music of today.  I mean, I set out to do a classic Brazilian album of covers and what it ended up being, I believe, was more of a Brazilian based album with elements of jazz and pop and, I mean, there’s a melody in there in Cut No. 2, “From Me to You.”  It has even a little Middle Eastern kind of a lilt to it.

Jazz Monthly:  Yes, that’s a slick song.

LM:  There’s a lot of different elements in this album, but most importantly, the mood that this album creates—

Jazz Monthly:  Yes, the mood and I totally agree with you because that’s the captivation of this album that I love in that once you start down that path on that journey from the first track of Krazy Love with a K.  (Both laugh.)

LM:  Okay.

Jazz Monthly:  I’m so crazy sometimes.

LM:  That’s good…..

Jazz Monthly:  ….But that’s the glove that grabs you and just holds you there and want more because when I said that earlier, when you’re in your easy chair and you become more easy, that’s where I was going, and you said it best when you said it’s the mood.

LM:  I believe that, that is the end product that really just grabs you of this album.  It’s the mood of this album.  It just creates this wonderful mood and I have to say again, Renato, he and I had this vision to do this album.  He was key in guiding me towards this direction.  Someone like myself who has come from such a background of Broadway and classical singing and I’m a belter. For example, my first album….I can sing and do anything, but to condense and come down and sing the way I do on this album, it’s less is more. It was kind of just keying down into the mood of the piece, keeping it up, not getting too depressing or down.  It’s just kind of keeping a consistent, tranquil, easy mood in the entire album.

Jazz Monthly:  Yes, and I think a special song on here for me—and I know it is for you—is Track 5.  “E com esse que eu vou” Yes, please share that experience because there you’re doing a great performance with your sweetheart.

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