BOSSA PDX

Portland's classic bossa and Brazilian jazz band

New Animated Bossa Nova Film in Production

November 14, 2019
welovejazz

I was really excited to read about the production of “They Shot the Piano Player,” which focuses on the very short life of Brazilian piano genius Tenorio Jr. The pianist was able to release only one album as a leader before he disappeared in Argentina, apparently the victim of mistaken identity.

Tenorio Jr.’s compositions have been featured in arrangements by Joyce Moreno and the wonderful Italian pianist Andrea Pozza, among others.

Brasil Summerfest • New York City

August 3, 2019
welovejazz

This year (2019), Brasil Summerfest takes place from July 21-August 3, and I’ve been trying to fill my ears up with as much music as I can.

First up was the Amaro Freitas Trio at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola. (I hadn’t been there in a while, so it was a new thing to go through the metal detector!) Freitas was on piano performing a set of original compositions with bassist Jean Elton and Hugo Medeiros on drums. I was struck by the young pianist’s astonishing energy and endurance; at times, he reminded me of Don Pullen. Freitas maximized the piano’s percussive characteristics; at one point, he pounded on the upper register to imitate agogo bells.

The music was dramatic and sometimes almost maniacal; chords ringing from the piano sounded like a possessed grandfather clock. Two back-to-back slower numbers provided a lyrical respite. I was reminded of another young Brazilian piano virtuoso, Andre Mehmari – while the two pianists differ greatly in style and approach, they both share a penchant for humor, tight trio synchronization, a fondness for through-composed sections, comfort with odd meters, and chops that could easily tackle any Chopin etude.

Freitas has two albums on Far Out Records.

The next day, I attempted to hear Minas- born singer-songwriter Tulipa Ruiz, who was performing with her guitarist brother. Unfortunately, due to an odd policy at the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center, I wasn’t able to hear very much — the ushers allowed only a couple listeners in at a time. When I was finally allowed to enter the hall, only two rock-influenced songs remained. Fortunately,  the beautiful Ruiz, clad in a metallic silver gown, was a generous and engaging performer. She was creative with her operatic voice, manipulating her vibrato in intriguing ways. At the end of the show, she walked through the audience, singing a wordless, three-note phrase.

On August 2, I went over to the Kitano (I hadn’t been there since they moved the music downstairs) to see the Duduka da Fonseca Quartet with Helio Alves on piano, Peter Washington on bass, and Scott Robinson on reeds (Duduka da Fonseca is one of the best Brazilian jazz drummers; he has an amazing group called Trio da Paz). I was really excited to hear this show especially because of Alves, who is always a real pleasure to hear. He plays with tremendous facility and precision. The quartet performed a set that included Milton Nascimento’s Vera Cruz, Joao Bosco’s Bala Com Bala, Jobim’s Portrait in Black and White, and two compositions by Dom Salvador: Maria (for his wife) and Gafieira. Fonseca also played a beautiful composition that he had written for his grandmother. The quartet played for a good hour and a half without losing energy, interest, or the attention of the audience.

Since the New York Botanical Garden is closed on Mondays. I used my Sunday to travel there to check out the Roberto Burle Marx exhibit, which today included a percussion and capoeira performance by Bronx Capoeira. The exhibit, which is on through September 29, features an outdoor installation including a walkway and fountain, placards imprinted with a selection of Brazilian poetry, various plants native to Brazil, and several paintings and sketches of Marx’s.

I had meant to go over to the River Cafe to hear the legendary 81-year-old pianist Dom Salvador at the River Cafe – he’s still there four nights a week. However, I will have to save this musical delight for a future trip.

 

 

 

 

Living Legend: João Donato

May 23, 2019
welovejazz

This year (2019), one of Brazil’s greatest pianists and composers is celebrating 85 years of life and an amazing 70-year career. We’ve decided to honor him with a tribute concert on January 11, 2020 (he wrote so much music that it will take us a while to learn it!). In the meantime, we are going to check him out on June 8 in Los Angeles (tickets here).

The Music of Durval Ferreira

March 8, 2019
welovejazz

We are so excited to present a project focusing on the music of the wonderful Rio-born guitarist/composer Durval Ferreira. Although he recorded only one album under his own name, Batida Diferente, he composed for, produced, and recorded with countless artists including Cannonball Adderley, Sarah Vaughan, Leny Andrade, Emilio Santiago, Ed Lincoln, and the Tamba Trio.

Ferreira’s daughter, Amanda Bravo, often performs at the Bottles Bar in Rio. She has just released her own album with several compositions by her father. She’s also featured on Batida Diferente, most notably on a rendition of “Nostalgia da Bossa” – a melancholy tribute to an era gone by.

Our tribute concert, a collaboration with Sounds of Brazil PDX that will feature a variety of musicians, will take place at Classic Pianos on May 4 at 7:30. Tickets are available at this link.

Some Great Sites For Listening

November 29, 2018
welovejazz

Recently, we’ve been doing a lot of musical research for an exciting project (soon to be announced). During the course of all this listening, we have discovered some amazing sites that we want to share with you.

  1. https://brazilliance.wordpress.com/ This great archive has a huge index of songs, each with a bit of background and an embedded player in which you can listen to different versions.
  2. http://immub.org/ We were shocked to find how much music existed in this searchable discography. Some rare, out-of-print albums can be found here as well.
  3. http://www.jobim.org All of the master composer’s original manuscripts and works can be found at this lovingly maintained archive.
  4. http://buziosbossablog.blogspot.com/ Lots of great stuff here too!

Enjoy!

The Legendary Portinho

August 26, 2018
welovejazz

This past weekend, we had the privilege of hearing one of the finest Brazilian jazz musicians around today: Portinho. (There’s a great interview with him at this link.) The master drummer plays at NYC’s Churrascaria Plataforma with his great trio, which includes Lincoln Goines on bass and Klaus Mueller on piano.

Portinho has performed with everyone from Nana Caymmi to Harry Belafonte. He recently released Vinho de Porto, an album with trombonist Jay Ashby; another recording he’s featured on is Bossarenova with the wonderful vocalist Paula Morelenbaum and the SWR Big Band out of Stuttgart.

It’s amazing that you can still catch Portinho from 6:30-11:30pm at 316 West 49th Street, NYC, most Fridays and Saturdays. (This is one of the few regular Brazilian jazz listening opportunities still in existence in the city; The Coffee Shop is closing, and the Zinc Bar has minimized its Brazilian jazz programming.)

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