Tenorio Jr., Joao Donato, Luiz Eca, The Bossa Tres; and I liked very much the simplicity and touch of Jobim as a piano player. With the disappearance of the trios in the repression era, American Music (jazz) became more and more present in Brazil, and I enjoyed listening to Thelonious Monk, Errol Garner, Duke Ellington, Red Garland, Andrew Hill, and again the simplicity of Count Basie and originality of Nat Cole. Who did you perform with in Brasil? At the beginning of my career, I worked many years for Edison Machado, and with his quintet we played and recorded for Agostinho dos Santos. I also played for Leny Andrade, and on occasion for Djavan, Nana Caymmi and Chico Buarque.
For almost the last 20 years I've been leading my own groups and recording solo albums, and sometimes I have special guests like Joao Nogueira, Mariana de Moraes, Ron Carter and Wayne Shorter, among others. Any obvious stylistic differences between Rio and SP scenes? I guess one can feel stylistic differences among people, artists, musicians, but not related to geography. When and why did you leave Brasil? I left Brazil in 1975, mostly for political reasons. Did you record with anyone before leaving Brasil? I recorded for Agostinho dos Santos, for a composer called Amado Maita and for a duo (male/female singers) Ana Maria e Maurizio, that I remember.
I did some radio programs with a trio (Ricardo Santos and Edison Machado) and solo, before I left. Did you go straight to NY? Yes. Was it hard to get regular gigs? Not really, Brazilian music was well accepted and there were not many Brazilian pianists around... Who did you play and record with there (apart from "Naturalmente")? Well, I played for a Brazilian composer and singer Amaury Tristao, who used to put together very good groups, so I had a chance to play and meet with some good musicians, people like Ron Carter, Charlie Rouse, Portinho, David Williams Right after that I formed a group "Hot Bananas", and became musical director of the only discotheque featuring Brazilian music.
I also had a very nice group with Walter Booker, "Love, Carnival and Dreams", where I had a chance to write a lot of music and meet lots of excellent players who came to our gigs, like Gil Evans, Charlie Mingus, Cedar Walton and George Coleman; some, for example Woody Shaw and Junior Cook, liked to jam with us too. Bill Hardman recorded "Samba do Brilho" for Muse records; has anybody else covered your compositions? I loved Bill, and he liked that song so much that he recorded it. One time I saw him and he was all happy saying that I "saved" his European tour, since every time he played the song people asked him to play it again and again... I do not know of any other recordings of my music...
Who funded "Naturalmente" and why was it recorded in 2 countries over as many years? Well, I thought that it was time to record my debut album, and I started to record in NY. After I recorded 4 tracks I decided to move back with my family to Brazil, and that's why I finished the album in Brazil. Could you give us a brief description of players on the LP and why you chose them... Well, they were the perfect musicians to play the music I wrote for the album.
Claudio Guimaraes, originally a guitar player, played bass - he has a concept for playing the bass that was exactly what I was looking for. Jose Neto on guitar also had a perfect style for the songs, Nana Vasconcelos did a superb job, Clarice Taylor was brilliant. Lea Freire, Paulo Guimaraes, Duduka Fonseca... and in Brazil Cisao Machado, Amado Maita and Sylvia Maria also fitted the bill perfectly.
I think I was very lucky to meet them at that time, they were the only ones ready to play that music I guess... Sound engineer on NY session is Phil Clendenin, a keyboard player - were you familiar with his group Tarika Blue and were you influenced heavily by fusion in the '70s? Phil used to go where I played to "hang", and a friend of his, guitarist/singer James Mason, asked me to play fender rhodes solos in his band and on his album; Phil was the other pianist in the group. We used to rehearse in the old Audio Fidelity studio in New York, where Phil had some kind of deal with them, so I exchanged my work as a pianist for James Mason's group for studio time. It was the ideal recording arrangement for myself, as a pianist, to have a fellow pianist as recording engineer for "Naturalmente".
I always wondered what became of Phil and James. I never heard his Phil's group Tarika Blue, and I think I was not influenced by fusion at all. On the contrary, "fusion people" used to like to call me to do solos and "funk around" with my Brazilian "swing" in their music... When and why did you go to Denmark? First time in '82, by invitation of a Brazilian drummer friend Chuim (Luiz de Siqueira), to do a little tour and teach Brazilian music in a summer course there.
You recorded a live trio LP in Copenhagen - is that your favourite musical setting? That was a quartet album, with Mads Vinding on bass, Chuim on drums and Nicolai Gromin on guitar. I enjoy very much playing in many different musical settings. Trio of course is a classic format... And Carlinhos Pandeiro de Oro? Carlinhos I met in Mangueira, and in the US, but we never played together.
He is a true pandeiro master... How long were you in Denmark? First time I stayed for about 5 months, and the next year I stayed 2 months. What have you done musically in the USA since then? Many different projects, from duos to Big Band. I like very much to write Brazilian music for Big Band.
I've been writing lots of music, recording some CDs.. Are you involved in teaching? Not really.... Any current artists impress you? Not many, but some. It is hard at the moment to find original musicians, with original styles.
In the US, I like Roy Hargrove, and the players in his group. In Brazil there are some very good young ones, but I do not know their names by heart... Your plans for the future? Well, there are still many things I would like to do, write and perform. The dream is not over for me yet...
I am planning to put together "some kind of group" to perform here in America, and it is also in my plans to perform a lot in Europe, especially now that my "Naturalmente" will be available for the first time ever for the European people and market. It is exciting! Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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