It can be easy to take Brazilian music for granted, if only because someone like Antonio Carlos Jobim’s music is so ubiquitous. We hear him and other bossa nova songs in elevators, shopping malls and the like all over the world. The first misconception is that samba and bossa nova ARE Brazilian music, which couldn’t be further from the truth. Like all large countries, geography makes a difference especially when a country is long in a north/south configuration. In general the centers seem to be Bahia in the north which is very African influenced, Rio De Janeiro with the bossa nova and its predecessors and Sao Paolo which has a long “choro” tradition, their equivalent to our Dixieland in a way. I’m sure there are more stylistic centers that I am not aware of…just imagine the Amazon Basin. Furthermore the racial mixture is among the most intense in the world meaning a great melting pot of musical influences.
For me, the concert featuring myself, Marcelo Coehlo and guitarist/singer/composer Guinga was very special. He seems to be quite an underground hero but certainly has some recognition publicly because his CDs are extensively produced and from what I understood he recently performed with the LA Philharmonic featuring arrangements of his tunes by Vince Mendoza. And recently at the Newport Jazz Festival, the new rage Esperanza Spaulding sang a few of his tunes. This concert we did in Sao Paulo as part of the IASJ‘s 21st Annual Jazz Meeting (a big success described below) was one of the highlights of my performing career. Guinga’s music, his voice, the rich and at times unusual harmony, the lyrical, unforgettable melodies (still running in my head) and his PRESENCE are incredible. As one of my friends noted, Brazil is probably the only country where you feel comfortable doing one ballad, rubato-ish tune after another, which is exactly what we did. All I can say I am glad that I had lead sheets prior and practiced, because some of the music was very challenging. You can see clips on You Tube under Dave Liebman and Guinga. This is a heavy cat!!
One musical thing for sure…. These guys do more with the ii-V progression than even the Broadway and film American composers. I have never seen so many combinations of this progression, always with a lyrical melody on top. Add the rhythm, which is a whole world in itself and you have a potent mixture. This is before the lyrics which of course I don’t understand, but the Portuguese language is so smooth and mellow, everything sounds great. Like Indian music, the world of Brazilian music is very deep.
Choro musicians at club
IASJ 21st MEETING-SAO PAULO, BRAZIL
This was definitely one of the great meetings over the past decades. Our host school Souza Lima, located in downtown Sao Paulo with several satellite locations has been involved with jazz and pop music for 30 years. The staff is incredible and the facility very workable. At all of our meetings, I urge the host school to present some music that represents their country, not jazz, but from the people. In Israel, Spain and a few other places in the past, we had some wonderful presentations. But here they gave us something every day: choro masters, a drum group and on the last day, a real special guy, Filo Machado, another killer guitarist and singer. Filo, (very different from Guinga), is a one man show, using every part of his body for rhythm, playing the hell out of the guitar and singing with an incredibly strong spirit. The guy can light up hell, I’m sure. There was also a great presentation from one of our ling time members, Antonio Aldolfo, an expert teacher and author of books examining the basics of Brazilian music. The week was a great learning experience. In sum, I get the feeling that everyone in Brazil can play guitar, knows hundreds of tunes by heart and can sing…it just feels that way!!
From the IASJ standpoint, we had students and teachers from nineteen countries taking part in the ensembles that performed as we have become used to, some truly high level music at the end of the week for our final concerts, as well as jam sessions at several different venues and of course sharing ideas in instrumental master classes. Since we were in Latin America, we enjoyed our first representation from Chile, Columbia, the Dominican Republic and once again Argentina. Souza Lima is coordinating a kind of IASJ for Latin America, meeting once a year, lead by the great bassist, Oscar Stagnaro. I am hoping for some good communication between our associations. There is no doubt that Latin American musicians are becoming more and more visible in the jazz world, especially evident during the last decade. This is exactly what the IASJ is about, influences form everywhere invigorating jazz. I am very optimistic and hope to see the day when we have Africa, India and more Asian representation.
Bassist Ronan Guilfoyle from Ireland wrote a day by day description of the meeting on his blog:
http://ronanguil.blogspot.com/2011/07/sao-paulo-iasj-meeting.html (part one)
Great photos from the week: | victorhideo.blogspot.com/p/iasj.html
Also my good friend Leon Segal who attended last year’s 20th Anniversary meeting in the Hague with a film crew put together a great promo video of the IASJ:
Jam session with students from Columbia, Dominican Republic and Israel
RECOMMENDED: SPINAL TAP ON JAZZ
Everyone knows the famous movie about the Spinal Tap rock band. Here (not sure when it was done), the guys discuss jazz which is hilarious as well as to some extent true.
65th BIRTHDAY: Hard to believe but here’s a nice tribute put together by Bret Primack for me. I appreciate the kindness of the folks talking on this clip:
LIVE FROM BIRDLAND: You can see a set by the Dave Liebman Group and the Big Band from my week at Birdland by going to: livestream.com/birdland and look for the video there....pretty good sound.
WILD SOPRANO: My friend, Ulf Radelius from Malmo, Sweden took something I recorded at his house years ago and dressed it up a bit:
PASSINGS: FRANK FOSTER
One of the great tenor players and composers (“Shiny Stockings”), my recollection of Frank goes back to the first gigs I had with Elvin Jones in the early 1970s when I was hired to take Joe Farrell’s place. For the first few months, different tenor players would join since Elvin liked the two horn front line. Eventually Steve Grossman joined the band, but this was prior and often it was Frank who knew Elvin for years and had some family connection with him. One musical thing I remember about Foster was his great control of the the high (altissimo) range of the tenor before it was fashionable to play up there. He definitely practiced it because he could really play melodies in that range, very carefully choosing his notes. This was quite impressive as you could imagine to a young tenor player. But most of all was the true warmth and kindness Frank offered to me, unlike some of the other guys who would join up for a gig or two. He was a giant and a lovely person.
JAMEY AEBERSOLD CLINIC: Every few years I like to show my face at the annual Aebersold summer jazz camps where the attendance is somewhere between 3-400 students of all ages. What I enjoy the most is seeing all the teachers, some of whom like Ed Soph, Dan Haerle, Rufus Reid, I’ve known for decades. I am always impressed with the complete selflessness exhibited by the faculty at these camps. They are of course paid, but what they do is beyond market value, offering all their wisdom to anyone interested. As informal as the camps are, there is a strict schedule which includes ear training, ensemble and instrumental master class as well as nightly performances by the faculty. I totally recommend anyone interested in jazz to attend an Aebersold workshop. These are real professionals who know how to teach.
24th LIEB MASTER CLASS ON CHROMATIC HARMONY: With participants from five countries, I delved into the material I teach at the Manhattan School of Music using my book on the subject as the centerpiece. I must say it is quite a challenge to try to fit two years worth of material into five days, but the main point is exposure to this sound. We had a great performance at the Deer Head Inn accompanied by Mike Stephans, Phil Markowitz and Tony Marino, an event that has become a tradition during the master class. Next year for the 25th, I will return to the Saxophone Master Class, interested saxophonists should get in touch after January 1, 2012 (information on my web site under Education).
-BIRDLAND, NYC; 65th CELEBRATION: DAVE LIEBMAN GROUP AND DAVE LIEBMAN BIG BAND
-DAVE LIEBMAN GROUP AT THE COTA FESTIVAL, DELAWARE WATER GAP, PA
-PERFORMANCE WITH POET STEVE DALCHINSKY AT UNIVERSITY WITHOUT WALLS, NYC
-ROSTOV, RUSSIA-PERFORMANCE WITH BIG BAND AT THE ROSTOV JAZZ FESTIVAL
-EUROPEAN TOUR WITH "VEIN"-THE MICHAEL ARBENZ TRIO
OCTOBER:-CORNELIA STREET CAFÉ WITH SOPRANO SAXOPONIST SAM NEWSOME
-IRELAND TOUR WITH RONAN GUILFOYLE
-DAVE LIEBMAN GROUP AT ELK CREEK CAFÉ, MILHEIM, PA
-QUEBEC CITY JAZZ FESITVAL WITH MICHEL COTE GROUP
-DAVE LIEBMAN GROUP MID-WEST TOUR: UNIVERSITY OF LOUISVILLE, KY; INDIANA UNIVERSITY; GREEN MILL IN CHICAGO; WESTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY; UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN; KNICKERBOCKER THEATER IN HOLLAND, MI; COLUMBUS, OHIO JAZZ ASSOCIATION AND CAPITOL COLLEGE; UNIVERSITY OF TOLEDO, OH
My daughter Lydia's jazz radio show web site; reedsanddeeds2.com- 6PM (Easter standard time-USA)-every Sunday on the web at wecb.fm