Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The Brazilian Tinge

Recently a contribution in this blog mentioned Jelly Roll Morton's concept of jazz, which included Latin elements, designated as 'The Spanish Tinge' -: the habanera rhythm, the Creole music tradition of New Orleans and influence from various Caribbean sources. Morton was not the only jazz musician to take advantage of the inspiration drawn from various musical traditions outside the mainstream of American popular culture, also Duke Ellington was inspired by the Latin flavour incorporated in some of his own compositons labeled as 'Jungle style'. Later, jazzmusicians went even further exploring the music traditions 'South of the border' - the 1950s and 1960s brought the bossa nova from Brazil to the States, adding a warm breeze to the cool jazz of the time. However, to the general public bossa was jazz, neglecting its Brazilian roots in rich musical traditions of the past that seem to have been un-noticed by most people outside Brazil. A contemporary attempt to find these roots and incorporate inspiration drawn from them into jazz is found in the work of pianist, arranger and composer, Cliff Korman.

Cliff Korman is an articulated artist, his official website is a well of information about his various musical projects and the ideas pointing them out. About his involvment with Brazilian music tradition he has a paragraph titled 'The Brazilian Tinge', in which he shares his thoughts about the Brazilian music tradition and jazz. I like to quote the following from his web to give you an impression of what he's after.

"The Brazilian Tinge is a multi-faceted project that spans from performance and recording to developing an academic curriculum on Brazilian Jazz, that features a unique mix of musicians, compositions, arrangements, and "concept". - The performance project features original jazz compositions written in the spirit of Brazilian genre of bossa, samba, baião, ballad, and choro. Its intent is to create an atmosphere which uses Brazilian rhythmic, melodic, and harmonic vocabulary as the prime material for the freedom of improvised performance. - In my attempt to represent the coming together of jazz and Brazilian popular music, I envision both the performance and the recording as a layered musical structure with minimal horizontal segmentation. - I invite guests to improvise through this woven musical texture so that the listener’s attention is drawn toward the interplay of layers rather than the sequence of “tunes”. "

During the late 1990s and early 2000s Cliff Korman had a co-operation with the highly estimated Brazilian reed player, Paulo Moura, involving musical projects devoted to the music of Pixinguinha and Duke Ellington and to the Gafieira (ballroom) tradition of Brazil. - In 1999, Korman and Moura released 'Mood Ingênuo: Pixinguinha Meets Duke Ellington' - a live album that treated the listener to a make-believe world showcasing what it would have been like if Pixinguinha and Duke Ellington had ever met. In 2001, again with Paulo Moura, Korman released 'Gafieira Dance Brasil', an album that relived the golden era of Gafieira, the genuine Brazilian ballroom music style incorporating choro and samba. Click here to learn more about this project.

In 2006 was released a compilation of tracks from the mentioned two project-cds, 'Gafiera Jazz' - if you are interested in expploring Korman's vision of the Brazilian tinge, this compilation is a nice example featuring Paulo Moura (cl), Ciff Korman (p), Mestre Zé Paulo (cavaquinho), David Finck (b) and Paulo Braga (dm). The cd contains choro standarts like "1X0", "Noites Cariocas" and "Saxaphone porque chorãs" and the remaining 6 pieces draw from the same tradition. You have an opportunity to listen to the cd in full length at Paulo Moura's official website, click here

To give you a visual impression of the contemporary Gafieira tradition in Brazil, I insert a sequence from Mika Kaurismäki's documentary, 'Brasileirinho, Choro In Rio'(2005) showcasting live performance featuring musicians like Paulo Moura (cl), Daniela Spielman (ss), Silveiro Pontes (tp), Zé da Velha (tb) and a rhythm section. The music was composed by one of the pioneers of the Gafieira tradition, Severino Araújo, and the tune is named "Chorinho pra Voce"



Blogger Durium said...

Thanks jo for holding the fort ............
I always liked the last music fragment.
Thank for your intersting subject - I couldn't do better :-)


7:16 PM  

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