Thursday, June 30, 2016

Mauricio Zottarelli Quartet live, tonight!

Medici Musica Productions Prresents: Mauricio Zottarelli Quartet in MA!


One of the world's greatest drummers in the contemporary jazz scene, Mauricio Zottarelli performs a rare concert as a leader tonight, June 30, 7:30pm, @ Regatta Bar at Charles Hotel in Cambridge, MA.

For tix and more infos, please visit:

Press Release:

Brazilian born, New York City-based drummer/composer Mauricio Zottarelli has been on the forefront of the Jazz, Latin and Brazilian music scenes for many years. Called a "superb drummer" by JazzTimes magazine, Zottarelli comes from a musical family and was born in Santos, SP, Brazil, but grew up in Rio Claro, SP in a highly musical environment.

His first few years as a professional musician consisted of many performances throughout his native country as well as studio and session work with different artists and bands. At the same time, he pursued a degree in Computer Science, and concluded his studies in 1997.

Mauricio moved to the U.S. in 1999 after winning a scholarship award to study at Berklee College of Music, in Boston, MA. He majored in Film Scoring, Performance and Arranging, and graduated from the prestigious college in 2002.

Mauricio is a critically acclaimed and award-winning drummer and artist. Since his move to New York City in 2006, he has become one of the most sought after drummers on the scene. Zottarelli is credited in more than 70 albums so far in his career, and has worked and shared the stage with some of the most important and notable artists of today, crossing over many musical styles.

Some of them are: Hiromi, Eliane Elias, Marc Johnson, Prasanna, Lee Ritenour, Dave Grusin, Esperanza Spalding, Keiko Matsui, Richard Bona, Paquito D'Rivera, Joe Lovano, Richard Galliano, Chico Pinheiro, Cláudio Roditi, Joe Locke, Geoffrey Keezer, Mike Pope, Eldar, Ivan Lins, Carmen Souza, Chuck Loeb, Rosa Passos, Dom Salvador, Jovino Santos Neto, Nilson Matta, Toninho Horta, Oriente Lopez, Filó Machado, Gustavo Assis Brasil, Hendrik Meurkens, and many others.

Also very active as a bandleader and composer/arranger, Mauricio co-leads and collaborates with several projects, such as the Dig Trio - with guitarist Gustavo Assis Brasil - which released its first CD in 2003 to great reviews from critics and audiences alike.

In 2009, Mauricio released his first solo album, entitled 7 Lives, which includes several of his own compositions and it features a unique mix of Brazilian jazz, fusion, and jazz. The incredible artists performing on the album are: Gustavo Assis Brasil (guitars), Itaiguara Brandão (bass), Milene Corso (vocals), Brandi Disterheft (bass), Dom Salvador (piano), Oriente Lopez (piano, flutes), Esperanza Spalding (bass), Cidinho Teixeira (piano) and Rodrigo Ursaia (sax).

In 2011 Zottarelli released MOZIK - a collaboration with pianist Gilson Schachnik and also featuring Gustavo Assis Brasil, Fernando Huergo and Yulia Musayelyan. The album has garnered praises from many important jazz/music publications such as Downbeat magazine and All About Jazz.

The prestigious Jazz Station Blog, written by journalist/producer Arnaldo deSouteiro, considered MOZIK the #1 new talent of 2011 and included the CD in their TOP 15 best of 2011. The blog also listed Mauricio in their Top 10 Drummers Of The Year list four years in a row, from 2011 to 2014.

In 2012, Mauricio won the prestigious Brazilian Music Awards (Prêmio da Música Brasileira), the most important music award in Brazil, with artist Dom Salvador and his album "The Art of Samba Jazz". In 2014, Mauricio released another collaboration - this time with bassist Amanda Ruzza. The album is called "Glasses, No Glasses", and it is a free improvisation, live-in-the-studio recording with special guest, pianist and multi-instrumentalist Léo Genovese.

Following his growing interest in music education, Mauricio teaches regularly in the NYC area, and has done workshops/clinics in Brazil, Europe and the USA. He has also taught at the world-famous Brazil Camp in California, and he is a regular columnist/writer for Modern Drummer Magazine in Brazil.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Sounds Of Love with Ellen Johnson & Jason Martineau @ Maybeck Studio, June 25

Ellen Johnson, one of the world's greatest jazz singers, and piano virtuoso Jason Martineau share a musical dance through songs they love, poetry and free improvisation. From a variety of musical genres they aspire to create a duo experience of creative nuance and connection using songs that speak of the many shades of love. I had the privilege to meet Elen in the early days of her career, back in 1996, and to see her impressive development as a singer with unparelled creative force, documented on a series of superb solo albums.

Ellen Johnson and Jason Martineau at the Maybeck
Saturday, June 25 2016, 3:00pm
This concert is $20 General Admission

Seating is limited. Get your required online reservation at

Friday, June 17, 2016

Sony Holland Quartet @ Vibrato, June 21

One of our favorite singers, Sony Holland will be back @ Herb Alpert's Vibrato (2930 N. Beverly Glen Cir, Los Angeles, CA) for a rare live date in LA with her band, which consists of Jerry Holland (guitar), Andy Langham (piano), Hussain Jiffry (bass) and Kevin Winard (drums).

"Should be lots of fun! It's been a number of years since we've been back there and we are looking forward," Sony says. Not to be missed.

Jackie Gage's "Siren Songs" release party

Tomorrow, June 18, don't miss the CD release party of Jackie Gage's lovely album "Siren Songs" and enjoy a free download with each ticket purchase,
The Cell Theatre
338 West 23rd Street, NYC

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Mike Longo & Paul West Duo in NY, June 23

You won't want to miss this dynamic duo of Dizzy Gillespie alumni as they jump start your Summer music enjoyment when the Mike Longo/Paul West Duo returns to New York's newest Jazz Room, MEZZROW, located @ 163 West 10th Street-Basement on THURSDAY, JUNE 23, from 9:00 -11:30 pm.   

$20 music charge (good for the entire evening); 
$10 for students.  

Please visit the site below for Reservations & Information:
or call:  646-476-4346

NTJ: Forum Ipanema

Leio no Jornal via internet:
"SEM VENDER, Setor Fecha 621 Lojas no Rio"

"No lugar de roupas e calçados, vitrines estão repletas de placas de vende-se ou aluga-se...Ícone do comércio de grifes, a galeria Forum Ipanema está com 12 de suas 60 lojas com vitrines vazias, inclusive uma na entrada, em plena Visconde de Pirajá".

É como o bordão daquele antigo personagem de Jô Soares: "não querem que eu volte!"

Duduka Da Fonseca 65th Birthday Celebration

June 17 & 18 @ Jazz at Kitano NY
66 Park Ave., at East 38th St.
For reservations, please call: (212) 885-7110

The acclaimed NY-based Brazilian jazz drummer Duduka da Fonseca celebrates his 65th Birthday with the support of his wife Maucha Adnet (vocals) plus Helio Alves (piano), Nilson Matta (bass) and Anat Cohen (clarinet & tenor sax).

Sivan Arbel's "Broken Lines" CD release show @ ShapeShifter Lab, NY, June 16

Vocalist and composer Sivan Arbel presents her debut album 'Broken Lines' at ShapeShifter Lab, located at 18 Whitwell Pl, Brooklyn, New York on Thursday, June 16 at 9pm. The cover is $10.

Born and raised in Israel, Sivan Arbel studied in Dublin, Ireland before moving to New York City, where she currently resides. Accompanied by a collective of international musicians, Sivan's multicultural journey shines through over the course of "Broken Lines".

"The sound of this album is inspired by all of the people I have encountered and the experiences I have had along my journey," says Sivan, "..."Broken Lines" personifies the journey of an organic musician."

Six of the seven tracks are original compositions and each one tells a unique and compelling story with each lyric carefully crafted and bolstered by the musical current below it. "Every note I sing and lyric I write has enormous meaning behind it," she says.

The deeply personal nature of the album is evident on "Analysis", which highlights its emotional lyrics over dreamy arpeggios to cacophony, on the sweeping dedication to her father, "For Aba", and on the driving "Open My Tube of Art". On the Miles Davis-Bill Evans opus "Blue and Green" her creativity as an improviser and arranger is on full display.

Featuring: Sivan Arbel - voice/compositions; Shai Portugaly - piano; Jeff Koch - bass; Yogev Gabay - drums; Ron Warburg - trumpet; Matt La Von - alto sax; Ori Jacobson - tenor sax

Saturday, June 11, 2016

"Every Note Counts - An Evening of Music by Nan Schwartz" @ Vibrato, LA, June 15

We are very excited to announce a rare live performance by one of the world's greatest arrangers (in the same level of Claus Ogerman and Don Sebesky), Nan Schwartz, who scored magnificent albums by jazz stars like Eddie Daniels, Ray Charles, Arturo Sandoval, Natalie Cole, Till Bronner and my late friend Mark Murphy.

Next Wednesday, June 15, @ Herb Alpert's Vibrato with guest appearances by Arturo Sandoval, Tierney Sutton, Michael Dees, and Javier Almaráz.

A 5-time Grammy winner and nominee, and a 7-time Emmy nominee, Schwartz will be joined by some of LA's finest musicians, including Dan Higgins, Bob Sheppard, Tom Ranier, Michael Valerio, Ray Brinker, Tim May, Michael Stever, Paula Hochhalter, Ben Powell, Otmaro Ruiz, legendary harpist Gayle Levant + a string section!!!
Come and see how she fits them all onstage!

Only 4 seats left! Call (310) 474-9400 for reservations.
ps: some years ago, Claus Ogerman, at Capitol Records Studio, took Nan by his side, and in front of the orchestra, pronounced her his "natural" successor.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Sergio Pereira "Swingando" in NY, this Saturday

Brazilian guitarist Sergio Pereira presents the CD release concert of "Swingando" @ Zinc Bar, NY, this Saturday, June 11, 7-8pm.

Pereira will be backed by a steallar band of expatriate Brazilian musicians, including pianist Helio Alves, bassist Itaiguara Brandão and drummer Mauricio Zottarelli, plus singers Olivia Foschi and Aleksandra Denda.

A tribute concert to the "Sinatra-Jobim" sessions

TOMORROW, June 10 @ 8pm, in NY! "Sinatra – Jobim Sessions" featuring Angelica de la Riva & Hilary Gardner with an extraordinary Quintet, featuring Rubens de La Corte, Manuel Valera, Helio Schiavo, Eduardo Belo and Joel Frahm.

Sheen Center For Thought & Culture
18 Bleecker St., NY
For tickets:

Fabrizio Sotti's "Forty" comes out tomorrow

World renowned guitarist and composer Fabrizio Sotti is proud to announce tomorrow's release of "Forty", his fifth album as a leader. As of this next morning, the album will be officially available on iTunes and in stores.

The momentous occasion was celebrated with two different launch events. The first took place this past Wednesday, June 8, at the Ferrari North America Showroom in New York City. Fabrizio, who is one of the few jazz musicians to hold a major automobile endorsement, welcomed friends, fans and colleagues as they took part in an exclusive pre-release listening of "Forty". Famed celebrity photographer Johnny Nunez photographed the elegant affair.

The following evening saw the release of 'Forty' in concert at the Highline Ballroom as part of the Blue Note Jazz Festival. The packed house was treated to a rousing performance of "Forty" in full by Fabrizio along with Peter Slavov and drummer Austin Williamson, who filled in for Francisco Mela last minute. The audience was also given a treat by special guest, Miles Davis and Weather Report alum Minu Cinelu.

"Forty" has received early praise from All About Jazz's James Nadal, who awarded the album four stars. "Acknowledged as a remarkable accompanist who can cross genres at will, Fabrizio Sotti has also established himself as genuine guitar stylist. Forty... represents not only a milestone in his age, but a continuous dedication to refining his craft," he said.

"Forty" also received a rave review from Jazz Times reviewer Travis Rogers Jr who referred to the album as "a wonder," adding "Fabrizio Sotti expresses himself with fearless abandon and reveals what beats within his heart. Peter Slavov and Francisco Mela support the moods and even enhance the moods with their easy rapport with Sotti. The writing is exquisite and the artistry of the musicians is beyond question. It is a sincere work of maturity, of wisdom, and of love."

The release of "Forty" also coincides with the release of the D'Angelico EX-SS Fabrizio Sotti Signature Model guitar. Using the D'Angelico guitar as his brush, Sotti paints a dynamic sonic picture that presents him as not just an extraordinary and innovative improviser, but as the harbinger of a unique and distinctive sound that is completely his own. In the words of revered writer and critic Ted Panken, the title, "Forty", testifies to Sotti's assertion that the onset of his fifth decade signifies a sea change in both his personal life-path and aesthetic development. "Forty is more than arriving at one spot," Sotti says. "It's starting from the beginning to a new place. Artistically, as you get older, you understand how much you still have to discover, how much more deeply you can go into yourself to improve your playing and understand what you really want to say."

On "Forty" Sotti collaborated with two jazz visionaries in their own right: bassist Peter Slavov and drummer Francisco Mela. "Peter is a complete musician with a strong melodic sense and a thorough classical music background. He's able to be free while respecting the tradition. Francisco also brings a melodic approach and is completely a free thinker. He's a force of nature. When he swings, it swings hard; when he's not swinging, it's so creative, he fills up the music with something magical," says Sotti.

"Forty" lays its groundwork for the forthcoming 9 tracks with the autobiographical "Redemption", a 3/4 minor blues that Sotti says represents the "redemption between myself and people around me, to accept me for who I really am." Sotti unleashes the full measure of his jazz chops on "Dangerous Walk," a brisk, disjunctive, Monkish line "inspired by the walk of women, and particularly my wife," and "Is That What You Think" a B-flat blues with a melody Sotti describes as 'aggressive.' The mood changes on "Beginning Now," played a cappella by Sotti on nylon string guitar but then progresses into the iconic "How Insensitive," which Sotti's grandmother played for him before he was a child. The trio returns for the calypso-flavored "Thalia," named for Sotti's year-old daughter, and written a few weeks before her birth. "The happy melody is how I felt when we were waiting for her and how she makes me feel now." Following is the expressive ballad "So Far, So Close," rendered as a Sotti-Slavov duo, which was written for his younger brother.

For Sotti, the title track represents "how I like to play right now--you can hear the joyful playfulness between these different rhythms, going from a modern funk rubato to a straight ahead swinging thing, playing what I like with nothing to prove." The final track, "The Bridge", along with its preceding introduction entirely represents Sotti's mature voice. It's a love song with a bluesy connotation named for the Ponte dei Sospiri (Bridge of Sighs) in Venice, where Sotti and his bride decided to get married.

With this new release, Sotti presents a departure for a new group that is only scratching the surface of possibilities with "Forty". Says Sotti, "This album shows where I am as a guitarist, improviser and composer and of what's to come."

A New Yorker since 1991, when he emigrated from Padua, Italy, as an ambitious, jazz obsessed 16-year-old, Sotti drew on a broad palette of jazz-imparted musical knowledge when producing hit tracks with artists like Dead Prez,Ghostface Killah, Q-Tip, Tupac, and Whitney Houston while still in his twenties, as well as two collaborations ("Glamoured," from 2003, and "Another Country," from 2012), with jazz diva Cassandra Wilson.

In parallel, he built a distinguished career as a highly-respected jazz stylist, documented on three accomplished recordings -- "This World Upside Down," from 1999, with jazz titans Randy Brecker, John Patitucci and Al Foster; "Through My Eyes," from 2003, a solo guitar recital; and "Inner Dance," from 2010, with organist Sam Barsh, drummer Victor Jones, and percussionist Mino Cinelu.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

R.I.P.: Aloisio Milanez Aguiar

(born on July 23, 1943 in Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil;
died on July 08, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil)

Great Brazilian pianist and composer, who lived in the USA (both in NY and LA) for many years, Aloisio Milanez Aguiar passed away today, July 08, 2016, aged 69.

He recorded with such artists as Victor Assis Brasil, Arthur Verocai (not only on Verocai's debut album from 1972, as well as on the "Timeless" DVD released in 2010), Gal Costa, Gilberto Gil, Jon Lucien, Cal Tjader (a terrific performance on the track "Tamanco No Samba" from the "Amazonas" album), Ron Carter ("Patrão," alongside Edison Machado, Amaury Tristão, Chet Baker, Naná Vasconcelos), Adela Dalto (with whom he was married; btw, we met for the last time during a gig with Adela @ Birdland in NYC with Portinho Drums, Sergio Brandão), Airto, Frank Colon, and Gaudencio Thiago de Mello, among many others. 
As a leader, he released the albums "Child Of The Universe" (1992, with Claudio Roditi, Nilson Matta and Portinho), "King Of Hearts" (1997, with Matta, Portinho, Sergio Brandão, Paulo Braga, Airto, Widor Santiago and Adela Dalto) and "To Jobim With Love/Live At Vartan Jazz" (1998, with Brandão and Claudio Slon), among others.
My condolences to Adela, Shirley Alves de Souza and all his relatives.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Vidas x Políticos

Manchete de Jornal:
"Recusas da FAB impedem transplantes de 153 órgãos. Nos mesmos dias, Aeronáutica atendeu a 716 pedidos de políticos".

Mais abaixo, a notícia vem mais "explicada":
Obrigada por lei a transportar autoridades, a FAB deixa de carregar órgãos para transplantes, o que já provocou mortes, conta Vinicius Sassine (ao jornal O Globo). Entre 2013 e 2015, a FAB recusou o transporte de 153 órgãos saudáveis que se perderam pela impossibilidade de outras formas de deslocamento. Nos dias em que os pedidos foram negados, a Aeronáutica atendeu a 716 requisições de ministros e de políticos.

Aí eu pergunto: isto é um País?!?

Sony Holland @ The Ritz Carlton, this week

One of our favorite singers, Sony Holland will be performing this week (June 9, 10 & 11) at one of
San Francisco's most elegant hotels, The Ritz Carlton (600 Stockton Street).
From 6 to 9 pm.
For reservations, please call: (415) 296-7465
Set within a 1909 landmark building in the scenic neighborhood of Nob Hill, The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco, the city's only AAA Five-Diamond hotel provides convenient access to the best of San Francisco and features the historic cable car right outside its doors. Offering globally-inspired California cuisine and seasonal cocktails at Parallel 37, the largest luxury Club Level experience in San Francisco, and recently renovated guest rooms and suites as well as meetings and special events space, the 336-room Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco provides the ultimate in personalized Ritz-Carlton service, comfort and luxury.

The hotel received a "Best Hotel in the World" Award by Condé Nast Traveler for 2015, and the Gold Badge Award for a "Best Hotel in the USA" by U.S. News and World Report for 2016.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

"Finding Your Own Voice" workshop with Ellen Johnson & Jason Martineau, tomorrow

If you are a singer living in California, don't miss the "Finding Your Own Voice" workshop that the great jazz vocalist Ellen Johnson and pianist Jason Martineau will be offering tomorrow, June 5, @ the California Jazz Conservatory (2087 Addison St, Berkeley, ph: 510-845-5373). When 99% of the jazz singers want to be "the next Diana Krall" and keep performing the same old standards over and over again, it's more than recommended to listen to a highly creative singer like Ellen Johnson.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Diana Krall's Verve albums to be reissued on vinyl

Verve/UMe to Reissue Eight Essential Diana Krall Albums In 180-gram Double-LP Vinyl Editions
Available July 15 as Part of Verve's 60th Anniversary Celebration

As part of Verve Records' ongoing 60th anniversary celebration, Verve/UMe is proud to announce the July 15 release of eight essential Diana Krall albums in 180-gram, 2-LP vinyl reissues. The renowned pianist and vocalist has called Verve home for the vast majority of her illustrious career, and these new versions of her recordings originally released between 1996 and 2009 showcase many of her finest moments in lustrous vinyl format.

These reissues, which each feature the original album in its entirety on two LPs, range from intimate trio sessions to celebratory big band outings, songbook standards to modern pop favorites and memorable original songs. All feature Krall's expressive voice and deft piano playing, along with production by three-time GRAMMY® Award-winner Tommy LiPuma.

As part of Verve Records' ongoing 60th anniversary celebration, Verve/UMe is proud to announce the July 15 release of eight essential Diana Krall albums in 180-gram, 2-LP vinyl reissues. The renowned pianist and vocalist has called Verve home for the vast majority of her illustrious career, and these new versions of her recordings originally released between 1996 and 2009 showcase many of her finest moments in lustrous vinyl format.

As part of Verve Records' ongoing 60th anniversary celebration, Verve/UMe is proud to announce the July 15 release of eight essential Diana Krall albums in 180-gram, 2-LP vinyl reissues. The renowned pianist and vocalist has called Verve home for the vast majority of her illustrious career, and these new versions of her recordings originally released between 1996 and 2009 showcase many of her finest moments in lustrous vinyl format.

The series begins with All For You, Krall's reverent tribute to the Nat King Cole Trio, originally released by impulse! in 1996. The album features Krall leading a trio with guitarist Russell Malone and bassist Paul Keller through some of the legendary pianist/singer's most beloved tunes, with guest appearances by pianist Benny Green and percussionist Steve Kroon. Its follow-up, 1997's Love Scenes, includes 13 of Krall's favorite love songs, performed by her trio with Malone and Christian McBride on bass.

A distinctly orchestral sound comes to the forefront on Krall's official Verve debut, When I Look in Your Eyes, released in 1999. Eight of the album's 13 tracks feature strings conducted by veteran composer/arranger Johnny Mandel along with an all-star jazz ensemble. The symphonic approach was expanded even further for The Look of Love (2001), which spotlights Krall's vocals backed by superb arrangements by the late genius Claus Ogerman, who conducts the London Symphony Orchestra.

Recorded live during Krall's sold-out run at the legendary Olympia Music Hall in Paris in late 2001, Live in Paris captures the energy and spark of Krall's concert performances. The album's dozen songs feature several of Krall's regular collaborators, including guitarist Anthony Wilson, bassist Christian McBride, and drummer Jeff Hamilton, as well as Orchestre Symphonique Européen, conducted by pianist/arranger Alan Broadbent and, on two songs, the legendary Claus Ogerman.

The Girl in the Other Room (2004) was Krall's first release to prominently feature her own original songs, many of them written in collaboration with her husband, Elvis Costello. She returned to the Great American Songbook for 2006's From This Moment On, which garnered a Best Jazz Vocal Album nomination at the 2007 GRAMMY® Awards. The series concludes with Krall's 2009 album, Quiet Nights—her tenth release—highlighted by GRAMMY® Award-nominated arrangements from frequent collaborator Claus Ogerman.

Diana Krall is a star in a long line of revered and influential artists who have been featured on Verve throughout the label's 60 years. Verve was founded in 1956 by Norman Granz, the forward-thinking impresario responsible for the hugely popular Jazz at the Philharmonic concerts, which brought the music to new audiences and garnered jazz an unprecedented level of respect in popular culture. Granz also managed Ella Fitzgerald and launched the label in large part to create new opportunities worthy of the singer's immense talent, including her landmark series of "Songbook" recordings.

Under the visionary leadership of Granz and, after MGM purchased the imprint in 1961, Creed Taylor, Verve continued to set new trends. The label sparked the Bossa Nova craze with the 1964 release of the GRAMMY® Award-winning Getz/Gilberto and brought a lush, elegant new sound to jazz with the arrangements of Claus Ogerman and Oliver Nelson. Its focus eventually widened to encompass groundbreaking comedy, folk and rock recordings, including now-iconic releases by The Velvet Underground, Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention, Janis Ian and Laura Nyro.

It was its jazz legacy that cemented Verve's place in the popular imagination, however, and after a fallow period in the '70s and '80s Verve was revived in the mid-1990s, again signing many of the biggest names in music: Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, John Scofield, Betty Carter, Abbey Lincoln and Shirley Horn, all of whom recorded for Verve during this period.

Over the course of its six-decade history, Verve has become synonymous with the very best in jazz, venerating the music while charting its course and helping to break down racial and stylistic barriers. There's no better way to celebrate that legacy than with the music itself, and 2016's 60th anniversary releases invite listeners to revisit the breathtaking sounds of Verve in new and exhilarating ways.

For more information, please visit:

Vinyl Reissue of the Month - "Freddie Hubbard: Straight Life"

Vinyl Reissue of the Month
Freddie Hubbard: "Straight Life" (CTI/ORG Music) 1971/2016

Produced by Creed Taylor
Recorded & Mixed by Rudy Van Gelder @ Van Gelder Studio (Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey) on November 16, 1970; released in January 1971
Vinyl Reissue Date: June 03, 2016

Front Cover Photographs by Pete Turner
Liner Photos by Chuck Stewart
Album Design by Bob Ciano
Featuring: Freddie Hubbard (trumpet & flugel), Herbie Hancock (Fender Rhodes), Ron Carter (acoustic bass), Jack DeJohnette (drums), Richard 'Pablo' Landrum (congas), Weldon Irvine (tambourine), George Benson (electric guitar) & Joe Henderson (tenor sax)
Total Time 36:35

This 180gram audiophile-grade vinyl reissue, which was mastered from original tapes by Bernie Grundman and pressed at Pallas in Germany, shines new light on this amazing, underrated recording.

Freddie Hubbard's second album for CTI, "Straight Life," recorded in a single day session on November 16, 1970, followed "Red Clay" with another stellar cast: tenor sax giant Joe Henderson (on his heyday, when he was doing great but extremely underrated albums for Milestone like my personal favorite "Black is the Color," with a wild approach that sounds very different from the smoothness of Joe's work in his last years), Herbie Hancock on Fender Rhodes, bassist Ron Carter, drummer Jack DeJohnette, guitarist George Benson, and percussionists Richard "Pablo" Landrum (triangle, congas, books) and Weldon Irvine (playing tambourine as if he was in a trance.)

That was Landrum's second & final session for CTI (he had previously appeared on Stanley Turrentine's "Sugar") and Irvine's first & last session for the label, although he would write two tunes for Stanley Turrentine's reunion with Milt Jackson on "Cherry."

For "Straight Life," Irvine contributed the acid-jazz anthem "Mr. Clean," revisited by the 2009 incarnation of the CTI All Stars during their European tour that year and included on the "Montreux Jazz Festival" DVD.

Hubbard's title track is outstanding too, and there's a pretty version of the standard "Here's That Rainy Day" performed only by the leader on flugelhorn, Ron Carter on acoustic bass bass and George Benson on the guitar. I only regret that Ron's bass was mixed too low on "Here's That Rainy Day," to the point that most of the reviews refer to that track as a duet between Hubbard and Benson.
Jazz historian Douglas Payne posted a great comment on his "Sound Insight" blog:

Trumpeter Freddie Hubbard’s second CTI album is one of his very best. Coming on the heels of the classic Red Clay, a tough act to follow, no doubt, Straight Life more than compensates with two long blowing tunes and a sublime ballad performance that ranks as one of the best in the trumpeter’s entire discography. It is a landmark of 70’s jazz and one that Billboard aptly enthused perfectly “bridges the gap of modern and traditional styles,” adding that “Hubbard’s trumpet is exquisite and all of the other musicians complement each other to great extremes.” 

Few better – or more – words can explain what makes a great jazz album great. 

Originally released in January 1971, Straight Life confirms not only that CTI was on the right track (Hubbard’s record was the label’s 12th LP release) but, more importantly, that Creed Taylor was a force to be reckoned with in shaping the ideal of what jazz could achieve during the 1970s. But good as the music and the musicianship might be, the record was hard to program into bite-size radio formats and, in the end, it probably didn’t perform as well for Hubbard or the label as it ought to have. 

Straight Life reunites much of the team responsible for the solid music of Red Clay, including saxophonist Joe Henderson (first heard with Hubbard on the trumpeter’s 1965 album Blue Spirits), keyboard player Herbie Hancock (who featured Hubbard on many of his early solo records, including his 1963 debut Takin’ Off) and ubiquitous bassist extraordinaire Ron Carter, adding guitarist George Benson and percussionist Richard “Pablo” (Richie) Landrum to the mix. Jack DeJohnette replaces Red Clay’s Lenny White. 

It’s a dream-team of heavy-hitting modern players to be sure. But it’s interesting to note that Hubbard, Henderson, Hancock, Carter and DeJohnette had earlier contributed to Hancock’s 1966 Blow Up soundtrack and Hubbard would later re-group with Henderson, Benson, Carter, DeJohnette and fellow CTI alum Hubert Laws for the trumpeter’s lovely “To Her Ladyship” from 1978’s Super Blue. 

Up first is Freddie Hubbard’s 17-minute jam tune “Straight Life,” with Hancock comping gloriously on Fender Rhodes and Jack DeJohnette firing rapidly on all pistons, more like a rock drummer than a jazz drummer, but definitely a part of the song’s frenetic action. Landrum must have had to work overtime to keep up. The song is almost like a funked-up bossa. Henderson solos magnificently in a trademark style that mixes the power and fury with the passion and fire of his unappreciated and undervalued Milestone albums of the period. Henderson’s solo nearly decimates Hubbard’s own solo – nothing shabby, but hardly matching the intensity of the song’s other performers. Hancock then solos in the funky melodic style he established on Fat Albert’s Rotunda (no spacey interludes here), followed by Benson providing an almost intellectual interjection that still has the warm soulful passion that seems to suggest the composer wanted to alternate Henderson and Hancock’s jazzier interludes with Hubbard’s and Benson’s soulful passages. A percussion workout ensues to bring it all back home. 

Weldon Irvine (1943-2002) joins the cast on tambourine (!) and contributes the memorable “Mr. Clean,” a perfect vehicle for Hubbard’s fiery horn antics – which are at their very best here – and the band, which crafts a singularly sample-worthy and Hubbard-esque groove, rock this thing out. Hubbard, Henderson, Hancock and Benson all solo beautifully. Irvine would wax the tune again several months later with Richard “Groove” Holmes on the B-3 great’s Comin’ On Home and later on his own 1972 solo debut Liberated Brother. Each version of the tune sounds considerably different than Hubbard’s take, suggesting that Creed Taylor knew precisely how to keep everybody on target and in line. It’s worth noting that one of Irvine’s earliest recordings outside of his stint as Nina Simone’s musical director, is “Can’t Let Her Go” from Freddie Hubbard’s 1968 album High Blues Pressure. 

(Given the strength of Weldon Irvine’s additional contributions to the CTI legacy, namely “Sister Sanctified” – later renamed “Funkfathers” without proper credit – and “Introspective,” both from Stanley Turrentine’s 1972 CTI classic, Cherry, it’s surprising the pianist/composer/arranger was never provided an opportunity to work more extensively with CTI, a label that even recorded Nina Simone in the years after Irvine left her employ.) 

Straight Life closes out with an extraordinarily lovely performance of “Here’s That Rainy Day,” the 1953 song by Johnny Burke and Jimmy Van Heusen from the forgotten Broadway musical Carnival in Flanders. Even by 1970, when this version was recorded, the song had become a jazz standard and a favorite among pop singers, particularly Frank Sinatra, who first recorded the song in 1959 and performed it often in concert on his many TV specials. Producer Creed Taylor had also recorded the song on productions for Stan Getz, Kai Winding, Wes Montgomery, Astrud Gilberto and Walter Wanderley, so it’s fair to assume that he too liked the song just as much. In this reading, Hubbard, on flugelhorn, is paired with only guitarist George Benson and bassist Ron Carter for a truly inspired take that warrants classic status. While it’s probably no surprise that “Here’s That Rainy Day” was issued as the album’s single, it’s probably less surprising that this lovely jazz instrumental didn’t turn into a hit when Elton John’s “Your Song” and Santana’s “Black Magic Woman” ruled the airwaves. 

For whatever reason, Straight Life is graced by not one but two Pete Turner photographs, a rarity in the CTI discography, as was the trumpeter’s follow-up album First Light. The photographer has no idea why designer Bob Ciano juxtaposed these two photographs. But he clearly approves. 

The front cover is called “Liberty” (1962), a double exposure. “I went to the Battery and shot [the Statue of Liberty] with a long lens for the small image,” explains Turner. “Then I took the boat to Liberty Island and kept shooting as we got closer and closer. The airplane flying by was just luck.” 

The back cover, “Parthenon” (1964), was from a series the photographer produced cataloging various wonders of the world, but “not picture-postcard style, more interpretative.” The abstract take on monuments honoring the Roman goddess of freedom (Libertas) and the Greek goddess of wisdom (Athena) has a curiously perfect relationship to the music of Straight Life. 

Fusion CD of the Month - "Brandee Younger: Wax & Wane"

Fusion CD of the Month
Brandee Younger: "Wax & Wane" (Revive Music) 2016

Produced by Casey Benjamin & Tariq Khan
Executive Producer: Meghan Stabile
Recorded on February 17 & 18, 2014 @ The Breeding Ground NYC Recording Studio (Brooklyn, NY)
Recorded & Mixed by Tariq Khan
Additional Recordings: Jacob Bergson
Mastered by Joshua Kessler
Art Director: Alvin Black III
Photos: Nicole Birch & Kyle Pompey

Featuring: Brandee Younger (concert harp), Anne Drummond (concert and alto flutes), Chelsea Baratz (tenor sax), Mark Whitfield (guitar), Dezron Douglas (electric bass), Dana Hawkins (drums and percussion)

If you like Dorothy Ashby (1932-1986), whose 1968 ground-breaking session for Cadet, "Afro Harping," is a cult album for the hip-hop jazz generation, you'll love Brandee Younger. Her "Wax & Wane" album is a jazz-funk project full of infectious grooves and high musicianship, evoking the past but diving in the future in a visionary way. 

Brandee and flutist Anne Drummond, both gifted with flawless technique and "spiritual imagination," act like co-leaders of a tight ensemble, with electric bassist Dezron Douglas shining throughout the album with his "fat" sound connected with the beats propelled by drummer Dana Hawkins. Tenor sax player Chelsea Baratz showcases a warm sound that evoked me memories of Stanley Turrentine's soulful approach. 

The opening track, "Soul Vibrations," also was the opener of Ashby's "Afro-Harping album." Written by the late bassist and arranger Richard Evans (who worked a lot not only with Ashby but also with Ahmad Jamal and Ramsey Lewis), it's a good portrait of the album, mixing a wah-wah guitar riff, hypnotic drum beat, a groovy bassline, and impressionistic flute & harp performances.

Like Karas Lamb wrote in the liner notes, this album is "a luminous patchwork that stitches cascading sheets of sound and pulsing arpeggios with the thread of tribute. A kaleidoscopic release that travels straight throughout the heart... a speeding bullet that lands with a burning immediacy that belies the shimmering beauty imparted by Drummond and Younger's band. A solemn prayer to her afro-harping forebears, the album is a fanfare of flight and fancy that speaks to the possibility of Younger's apparent dexterity and the potential of every leader willing to burn the rule book in order to push the culture forward."

Evoking the musical equivalent of rare gems, Brandee Younger emerges from the legacies of Dorothy Ashby and Alice Coltrane as she ushers in a new era that celebrates the unsung titan of string instruments. Born during the REVIVE Music and Blue Note Records sessions for “Supreme Sonacy Vol. 1,” Younger’s latest album, “Wax & Wane” is a testament to her musical forebears that fuses classical technique with the persistent groove at the core of the Black music canon.

“‘Wax & Wane’ represents constant change -- back and forth,” says Younger. “We chose it as the title of the project because it is truly representative of the human experience, as an artist and individual. The high points and low points coloring the continuous struggle for balance at every phase of the journey exist - as they do in daily life - at the core of all of my work. ‘Wax and Wane’ is also the name of one of Dorothy Ashby’s compositions from her album ‘The Rubaiyat of Dorothy Ashby’.”

With “Wax & Wane,” Brandee Younger is poised to take her place as a sonic tour de force and the latest innovator in a lineage of groundbreaking musical agitators leading to the rise of the harp. Spiritually transcendent and perennially fresh, “Wax & Wane” strikes a delicate balance between pushing the envelope and flat out breaking the mold.

“I wanted to place the harp in a totally different context than what listeners are generally accustomed to and continue to position the harp in way that’s relevant today,” says Younger. With this seven track collection, Younger presents an altered universe where the fluttering polyphonic exchange of the harp and flute expand and contract against a dense rhythmic display. usic."

Instrumental Jazz CD of the Month - "Dave Liebman & Richie Beirach: Balladscapes"

Instrumental Jazz CD of the Month
Dave Liebman & Richie Beirach: "Balladscapes" (Intuition) 2016

Rating: ***** (musical performance & sonic quality)

Although I was a big fan of Dave Liebman's artistry since I heard him with Miles Davis in my native Rio, the first time I became aware of his partnership with Richie Beirach was exactly 40 years ago, when their "Forgotten Fantasies" duo album for John Snyder's Horizon label was, for some miracle, released in Brazil in 1976. I remember listening to that vinyl over and over again, deeply impressed by their deep interplay on such complex tunes like the 13-minute long "Obsidian Mirrors," my personal favourite track.

Since then, I kept both Liebman and Beirach under my radar not only when they performed together -- like on those memorable albums by their Quest group and on that fantastic "Tribute To John Coltrane - Live Under The Sky" CD/LaserDisc (filmed in Japan with a quintet completed by Wayne Shorter, Eddie Gomez and Jack DeJohnette) that later was reissued on DVD -- as well through the listening of their individual projects. I even had the privilege to attend some clinics and masterclasses conducted by Liebman at IAJE conventions when we were both members of the now-defunct International Association of Jazz Educators.

Both Liebman and Beirach also were often included among the "top artists of the year" in the annual Jazz Station Awards, initially presented in my weekly column in the Tribuna da Imprensa newspaper, and later also on the cyberspace through this website.

In 2015, for example, Liebman was elected #1 soprano sax player in the 37th Annual Jazz Station Awards, for his "The Puzzle" album (Whaling City), while Beirach appeared among the top piano players thanks to his "Varuna" CD with Laurie Antonioli (Origin), also voted among the best albums of the year.

Now I'm mesmerized by their new outstanding duo project, "Balladscapes," produced by Kurt Renker, recorded in April 2015 and released in April 2016 by the Intuition label. Like on my desert island disc "Forgotten Fantasies," Liebman plays flute, soprano and tenor sax, with Beirach focused on the acoustic piano. No acrobatics, just the essence of expressiveness.

The program includes four astounding originals, some standards ("For All We Know", "Moonlight In Vermont," the enchanting "Lazy Afternoon") and jazz classics -- from Billy Strayhorn/Duke Elington's "Day Dream" to John Coltrane's "Welcome/Expression", from Wayne Shorter's "Sweet Pea" originally recorded by Miles Davis to bossa nova master Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Zingaro" made famous by João Gilberto --, and even a J.S. Bach piece ("Siciliano," from Sonata No. 2 in E-flat major for flute and harpsichord.) It's haunting music of the highest caliber. But it's also sublime poetry of the highest sensitivity.
Almost 50 years. An eternity. Lyndon B. Johnson was still president, the Beatles were on the stage for a concert for the last time and the film "My Fair Lady" won eight Oscars. Half a century. Dave Liebman and Richie Beirach have known and appreciated each other as persons and partners for that long. The now 69-year-old soprano and tenor saxophonist and his 68-year-old partner on the piano got to know each other at a jam session at Queens College in New York. Two hungry students, intoxicated, euphoric and inspired by all the jazz greats, who expanded the horizon for the musicians of that time.

The two met on a regular basis, either in Liebman's loft on 19th Street in Manhattan or in Beirach’s pad on Spring Street. They helped each other to work out each one’s own vocabulary. They mostly played free jazz in the style of late Coltrane, tried everything possible, let themselves go and gradually found a common inner pulse. Sometimes the bassist Frank Tusa also came by and complemented the creative "hanging out" relationship. However, it was not until 1973 that the “soul mates” recorded their first joint record. Liebman was on tour with Miles Davis in Japan at the time when he ran into Beirach, who was on tour with Stan Getz at the same time. Along with Jack DeJohnette and Dave Holland, they finally recorded Liebman's debut album "First Visit".

One song from that session stayed in the mind of the friends to this day: "Round Midnight". It was the very first duet of countless others that were to follow over the next 43 years, either in live performance with the bands Lookout Farm and Quest or in other joint projects. "Because a duo," legendary producer Michael Cuscuna wrote in the liner notes to Balladscapes, “is probably the purest and most direct form of musical dialog. It gives those involved a certain form of freedom, which they can use for seemingly endless solos full of color, emotion and depth and eventually lose themselves in it. Everything that Dave and Richie make together possesses a great deal of substance and intelligence, completely independent of the respective context or genre."

Although Dave Liebman and Richie Beirach enriched their musical dialogs regularly with ballads over the past decades, Balladscapes is but the first pure ballads album on a long shared path. But whoever knows the musical vita of the adventurers already suspects that even this digression need by no means automatically end on the smooth paved road of the mainstream.

The 13 songs recorded in the CMP Studio in Zerkall include both some new and old original compositions such as "Quest" and "Kurt country", but also unorthodox arrangements of Johann Sebastian Bach ("Siciliana"), Kurt Weill ("This Is New"), Antonio Carlos Jobim ("Zingaro"), Wayne Shorter ("Sweet Pea"), Billy Strayhorn ("Day Dream") and, of course, John Coltrane ("Welcome/Expression").

A rich, wide field opens on which the soprano saxophonist (who also plays the tenor saxophone and the flute here) and the piano rub against each other, intertwine and back each other up in an optimally coordinated, familiar, but always dignified dialog to their hearts’ content.

"In each of my previous bands in which Richie was involved, he had the function of an anchor, more than any bassist or drummer," Dave Liebman praised the special qualities of Beirach. "Because his timing is just perfect!" As a result, the interplay on Balladscapes is also based on an inner symmetry, which people can only develop together when they know and like each other. For nearly half a century.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Cat Conner's All-Stars live in CA, May 24

This Tuesday, May 24 @ Bogies in Westlake Village (32001 Agoura Road, Westlake, CA).
No Cover - 7:30 to 9:45PM

Cip and Cat with Cat Conner (vocals), John Chiodini (guitar), Jim Hughart (João Gilberto's favorite bassist, who recorded in three albums by the bossa nova master, including "Amoroso"), Colin Bailey (drums) and Gene Cipriano (sax).
Free Parking! Full Bar!

They packed house last September, so please come early.
This is an amazing club with great food!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Ilhan Ersahin's Istanbul Sessions present their third studio album, "Istanbul Underground"

Confusion is good sometimes. It’s a way to start thinking about whatever you are confused about. This is what Ilhan Ersahin’s Istanbul Sessions have done since 2008. They have set fire to stages all across the world: from New York to Istanbul, from Paris to Sao Paolo, from London to Skopje. Their electrifying, genre-crossing performance pose questions: Is this really jazz? Doesn’t this sound like a rock band? Where does their sound come from?

Frontman Ilhan Ersahin, a great tenor sax player, is one of those rare moguls of the New York City underground scene via his club and record label, Nublu, and he’s spread his New York energy throughout the world. It’s possible to see him jamming with The Red Hot Chili Peppers in Sao Paolo, or featuring Bugge Wesseltoft in Blue Note Tokyo or playing a beautiful oriental set with Turkish gypsies in an elegant concert hall somewhere in Europe.

How about Istanbul Sessions then? It’s master-level musicianship meeting high eclecticism where the cliché of “east-to-west crossover” finds its true sense and power. A session is a meeting of a deliberative body to conduct its business. In this case, the business is music, and the music is another heavyweight offering from Ilhan and his crew: Alp Ersönmez on bass, Turgut Alp Bekoğlu on drums, and İzzet Kızıl on percussion.

Above all, the Istanbul Sessions can aptly be described as cinematic. Ersahin’s saxophone sounds like it could have been recorded in the Alps or in the sweeping sand dunes and oasis’s of the Middle East. On “Falling,” Ersahin’s tone is practically three-dimensional... double tracked and bathed in a healthy dose of reverb, the saxophone and rhythm of the band evoke a story-like narrative from the mad-man trills strewn throughout the track, to the soaring, almost stadium anthem chorus. Clearly, it’s all about the (s)axe, and Ilhan Ersahin is your axeman.

History has a tendency to repeat itself, and for the third time ‘round, East meets West once again with the results more satisfying than previously thought imaginable. Through Ersahin’s playing, you can hear the ghostly echoes of those passed and a clear call to the future in his frenzy. You can also hear the siren’s call, the brooding beauty of the shrouded mystery that is the desert. Devilishly hot and bothered, the dry night air caresses your face, stirring a primal urge that excites as you step out into the glow of the Turkish metropolis.

Jackie Gage & Joomanji live in LA, May 16

On Monday, May 16, vocalist Jackie Gage will be joining Joomanji for a special night of music @ the Blue Whale (123 Astronaut E S Onizuka St, Ste 301, Los Angeles, California.) Jackie performs at  9:00 pm. Joomanji at 10:30 pm. Tickets are $10 and can be reserved here:

Gifted with a velvet voice, rich as smooth wine, Jackie Gage has been called "the Sade of jazz," but she goes far beyond this definition and possesses a personal musical grace that channels torch singers of decades past, mixing elements of jazz, soul, and R&B into her music. Since the release of her debut album "Siren Songs" last month, Gage has garnered press from Afropunk, Singers Room, and All About Jazz, among many others.

Her debut CD showcases a tremendously talented artist, in total command of her vocal powers, displaying great expressiveness and destined to become one of the most important newcomers on the contemporary jazz scene.

Joining Gage will be guitarist Ash Jangda, keyboardist Sam Barsh, drummer Max MacVeety and special guest, vibraphonist Justephan Thomas.

Gage, who recently relocated to New York City from San Jose, has firmly made her mark in her home state with annual tours from Sacramento to San Diego. As a 2014 Jazz Search West finalist, she was awarded performances at nationally recognized venues Yoshi's Oakland, the Freightand Salvage in Berkeley and the Sound Room in Oakland. In addition, she has performed at the Fillmore Jazz Festival, San Jose Summer Fest and Berkeley Juneteeth, among others.

Joomanji was formed in 2010 by Jonah Christian, Amir Oosman, and Robert Finucane. Their first release, MANJ, gained attention from Earmilk, BamaLoveSoul, and Pigeons & Planes, and hit #1 on Bandcamp's Neo-Soul & Nu-Jazz Top 500 charts, respectively. The group has also been featured on Bandcamp's Weekly homepage and Reddit's official best of 2013 "ListentoThis". Productions consist of live recordings mixed intermittently with vinyl chops. The resulting music is a fusion of crisp instrumentals with that vintage sound that us hip hop heads all love.
Listen at

R.I.P.: Joe Temperley (1929-2016)

(born on September 20, 1929 in Fife, Scotland;
died on May 12, 2016 in New York, NY, USA)

The great Scottish baritone sax player passed away on May 12 in NYC, after a long battle against cancer. He was 86. Besides some marvelous albums as a leader ("Nightingale," Just Friends," "Double Duke," "Sunbeam and Thundercloud," "With Every Breath," "A Portrait," "Cocktails For Two," and "Saxploitation," among them), Temperley developed a brilliant career as a sideman. From swing to fusion, from mainstream jazz to funk.

After several recordings with James Brown (reissued in 2009 on the CD compilation "The Singles, Volume 8: 1972-1973"), he joined Eumir Deodato's band during 1973 and 1974, recording on such albums as "Deodato 2," "In Concert - Live At Felt Forum" and "Whirlwinds." Soon after he joined the Duke Ellington Orchestra, conducted by Mercer Ellington, Duke's son. In 1988, Temperley became a founding member of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra.

But he started to gain prominence in London 40 years earlier, when switched to baritone sax when joining Humphrey Lyttelton's big band in 1958, after many years as tenorist on Tommy Sampson’s band. While in the U.K., Temperley also recorded with Tony Crombie, Victor Feldman and was a member of Kenny Graham's Afro-Cubists.

Moving to New York in 1965, he became the first Scottish musician to make a big impact on the American jazz scene, recording with Jimmy Knepper, Woody Herman, Buddy Rich, Luiz Bonfa, John Barry, Joe Henderson, Gerry Mulligan, Ernie Wilkins, Buck Clayton, Dick Hyman, Jon Hendricks, Phyllis Hyman, Paula West, Scott Hamilton, Tony Falanga, Anthony Wilson, Benny Carter, and the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra.

In 1988, Wynton Marsalis invited several Ellington alumni, including Mr. Temperley, to perform in an all-star big band for an Ellington tribute. That band evolved into the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.

Temperley played in the Broadway show "Sophisticated Ladies" in the 1980s, and his film soundtrack credits include Cotton Club, Biloxi Blues, Brighton Beach Memoirs, When Harry Met Sally, and Tune In Tomorrow (composed by Wynton Marsalis.) Temperley is a mentor and co-founder of the FIFE Youth Jazz Orchestra program in Scotland, which now enrolls 70 young musicians, ages 7–17, playing in three full-size bands.

“For someone from another country and culture to exhibit the depth of belief that animated his sound was, and still is, truly miraculous,” Marsalis said in a JALC statement announcing Mr. Temperley’s death. “From the coal mines of Scotland, to clubs and concert halls all over the world. Joe’s journey was epochal, and he did it with integrity, style, piss and vinegar. We will miss him deeply and his spirit will forever live on in the sound of our orchestra.” Rest in Peace.

Requiem Mass to João Palma

Requiem Mass to drummer Joao Palma next Tuesday, May 17, at 6pm in Rio de Janeiro.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Singer Sivan Arbel announces debut album, "Broken Lines," to be released June 1st

Vocalist and composer Sivan Arbel is proud to announce the June 1st release of her debut album "Broken Lines". With her debut, Arbel breaks the mold with angular yet beautiful melodies, sophisticated arrangements and emotionally charged lyrics that bring listeners on an unforgettable journey into a new realm of contemporary jazz.

Born and raised in Israel, Sivan Arbel studied in Dublin, Ireland before moving to New York City, where she currently resides. Accompanied by a collective of international musicians, Sivan's multicultural journey shines through over the course of "Broken Lines". "The sound of this album is inspired by all of the people I have encountered and the experiences I have had along my journey," says Sivan, "..."Broken Lines" personifies the journey of an organic musician."

​Six of the seven tracks are original compositions and each one tells a unique and compelling story with each lyric carefully crafted and bolstered by the musical current below it. "Every note I sing and lyric I write has enormous meaning behind it," she says. The deeply personal nature of the album is evident on "Analysis", which highlights its emotional lyrics over dreamy arpeggios to cacophony, on the sweeping dedication to her father, "For Aba", and on the driving "Open My Tube of Art". On the Miles Davis-Bill Evans opus "Blue and Green" her creativity as an improviser and arranger is on full display.

To celebrate the release of "Broken Lines", Sivan will be appearing at Shapeshifter Lab in Brooklyn, NY on June 16th at 9:30 PM and at Club Bonafide in New York, NY on June 24th at 11 PM.
Sivan Arbel is a graduate of the Rimon School of Music in Israel as well as the Newpark Music Centre in Dublin, Ireland. Before relocating to New York City in 2014, Sivan established herself as a prominent vocalist in Israel with her quartet and eventually went on to represent Israel in 2012 as the headliner at the Israeli Independence Day celebration in Venezuela. In 2014, Sivan represented the Newpark Music Centre in Cape Town, South Africa at the prestigious International Association of Schools of Jazz conference spearheaded by NEA Jazz Master Dave Liebman. Following the IASJ, Sivan made her move to New York City, where she quickly established herself as a rising star.

Marcina Arnold w/Ricardo dos Santos in London

If you are in London, don't miss the Marcina Arnold Quartet live @ Toulouse Lautrec Jazz Bar & Brasserie (140 Newington Butts) this Friday, May 13.

The group features Brazilian bassist Ricardo dos Santos (who played with Joao Donato and Joao Donato), pianist Andrew McKormack and drummer Shaney Forbes.

Willy Rodriguez Quintet live in NY, May 13

Also on May 13, but in NY, the Willy Rodriguez Quintet will be performing at Rockwood Music Hall (185 Orchard Street) at 11:30 pm. Featuring Godwin Louis, Victor Gould, Hery Paz, Tamir Shmerling and a rare appearance by renowned publicist Lydia Liebman (yes, the daughter of the legendary Dave Liebman) on vocals.

For reservations, please call: (212) 477-4155.

Willy Rodriguez was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico and began playing drums at age thirteen. He received his musical start playing throughout Puerto Rico in rock and pop bands. When Willy was twenty-one he started working as the Musical Director and drummer for Latin American Idol’s touring group. Following his experience at Idol, he was awarded a scholarship to attend Berklee College of Music in 2007.

His reputation as a skilled musician spread quickly in the Boston area and he began playing extensively with musicians such as Jason Palmer and Andre Heyward. At Berklee, Willy studied with a host of famed teachers such as Terri-Lyne Carrington, Yoron Israel, Ralph Peterson and Greg Osby. He was awarded the Evans/Daddario scholarship during his time at Berklee. Willy’s reputation grew due to his association with Wally’s Jazz Cafe, the famed jazz club located in Boston’s historic South End, where he conducted the famous weekend jam sessions. Eventually, Willy began performing every Thursday at Wally’s with his salsa group ‘The 427 Flavah Factory’.

In 2014, Willy graduated from New England Conservatory with a Master’s degree in Jazz Drum Performance. At NEC, he studied with Miguel Zenon, Jerry Bergonzi, Bob Moses, Billy Hart and Cecil McBee, among others. He has performed alongside some of the premier musicians in jazz including Randy Weston, Dave Holland and Dave Liebman, with whom he has recorded and played with extensively.

Along with being an established performer, Willy is an accomplished educator and teacher with over ten years of experience. He has taught at the famous Community Music School of Boston, Young Artists of Massachusetts, the IBA, and has given workshops at the Panama Jazz Festival 2014.

Boston Symphony Hall, Roccella Jazz Festival, Panama Jazz Festival, Cape Verde Jazz Festival, Berklee Performance Center, Jordan Hall, and Mechanics Hall are just some of the renowned festivals and venues Willy has performed at. He has appeared on a variety of recordings including "Ceremony," the most recent release from NEA Jazz Master Dave Liebman.

Monday, May 9, 2016

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R.I.P.: João Palma (1941-2016)

One of the world's greatest drummers, João Palma (photographed by Arnaldo DeSouteiro) just passed away today, May 09, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, the same city where he was born on January 16, 1941 (not 1943, as mentioned in many sites.) Known as "The aristocrat from the drum world," Palma was 75.

Renowned music historian Alex Henderson wrote about him in the prestigious All Music Guide website: "... João Palma commands the sort of respect that has been given to Max Roach in hard bop, John Bonham in heavy metal/hard rock, and Ray Barretto in salsa/Afro-Cuban music; in other words, he is widely regarded as one of the best drummers in his field... Over the years, Palma has been compared to various American jazz drummers; perhaps the most accurate comparison is cool jazz icon Shelly Manne. Clearly, jazz' cool school has had a major impact on Palma's playing, and like Manne, Palma is a master of subtlety, restraint, and understatement. Another valid comparison is American post-bop drummer Joe Chambers, who is also known for his use of subtlety."

Joao Palma (born João Ferreira da Silva Palma) started his career in the late 50s, and did his first gig at the famous Bottle's Bar, in the Beco das Garrafas (Bottle's Alley), in Copacabana, as a member of Johnny Alf's trio, with Alf on piano and Sebastião Neto on bass. He was also a member of Copa Trio (with Toninho Oliveira on piano and Manuel Gusmão on bass), being replaced by Dom Um Romao when he was enlisted to Army.

Back on the block, Palma soon became one of the most important bossa nova drummers, and one of the most respected names in that new (and brilliant) generation of young Brazilian musicians.
During a gig as a member of pianist Eumir Deodato's combo at the now-defunct TV Rio, guitarist Roberto Menescal appeared and invited the band to become his group. "Menescal had signed a record deal, but had no group," Palma once told me. "Since we were all friends, he made that proposal and Deodato accepted." The other guys on the band were Sergio Barroso (bass), Ugo Marotta (vibes), Henri Ackselrud (flute) and Celso Brando (rhythm guitar).
With the "new" Roberto Menescal E Seu Conjunto, Palma recorded one album for the Imperial label (with Celso Brando playing rhythm guitar plus a horn section arranged by Deodato), and two for Elenco ("A Bossa Nova de Roberto Menescal" and "A Nova Bossa Nova de Roberto Menescal E Seu Conjunto"), plus an all-star session with singers Sylvia Telles and Lucio Alves titled "Bossa Session".

Palma also played on Lucio Alves' "Balançamba" (arranged by Carlos Monteiro de Souza) and in a live date by Maysa, recorded at the Au Bon Gourmet club (without Menescal and with Copinha replacing Henri on flute), all produced by Aloysio de Oliveira. For another label, RGE, he recorded in 1964 on Wanda Sá's debut album, "Wanda Vagamente."
                  (João Palma with members of Sergio Mendes & Brasil 66)

Moving to the USA in 1965, he joined Sergio Mendes' new band and recorded the grundbreaking album "Herb Alpert Presents Sergio Mendes & Brasil 66," which included the mega hit "Mas Que Nada." He settled in Los Angeles, and toured all over the world with Mendes for three years. Two more best-selling albums for A&M followed: "Equinox" and "Look Around."
However, his first session with Mendes had been the instrumental album "The Great Arrival." And, actually, his first gigs in the U.S. with the pianist were in a group that included Sebastião Neto (bass), Marcos Valle (guitar), Anamaria Valle (vocals) and José Soarez (percussion).
(from left to right: Joao Palma, Sergio Mendes, Janis Hansen, José Soarez, Bob Matthews & Lani Hall)

But, when the Brasil 66 signed with A&M, the line-up was Mendes, Palma, Soarez, bassist Bob Matthews, and singers Bibi Vogel (soon replaced by Janis Hansen) and Lani Hall. But Mrs. Vogel is the one who appears in the cover photo of the amazing "Herb Alpert Presents Sergio Mendes & Barsil 66."
         (João Palma in an advertisement for Camco Drum, 1966)
When he left Mendes' group, Palma moved to New York to join Walter Wanderley's combo, recording two critically acclaimed sessions @ Van Gelder Studios, both produced by Creed Taylor for A&M/CTI: "When It Was Done" (1968, mostly arranged by Don Sebesky, who became a big fan of him) and "Moondreams" (1969, arranged by Deodato, featuring Hubert Laws and Marvin Stamm.)
Also in 1969, Palma did another important project for CTI, "Courage," Milton Nascimento's first album recorded in the USA, playing alongside Herbie Hancock on piano and José Marino on bass.
That same year, he became Antonio Carlos Jobim's drummer (from 1969 to 1976) and their first session together was on Frank Sinatra's "Sinatra & Company" (recorded in February 1969 but only released in 1971) for Reprise, with Deodato on piano & arrangements, Chuck Berghofer on bass, Jobim on acoustic guitar, and Morris Stoloff conducting the orchestra.
{Actually, that second second Sinatra-Jobim session was originally scheduled for release in June 1969, with the original "bus" cover shown below. Only a few promo copies were pressed and the release was cancelled, although a rare single with "Song of the Sabiá" came out in Italy! Then, in 1971, seven of those ten bossa nova songs finally did appear on the Side A of the "Sinatra & Company" album, that also included seven pop songs arranged by Don Costa on Side B. And, in 1980, a 2-LP set compiled by Roberto Quartin for WEA Brasil, "The Sinatra-Jobim Sessions." mixed songs from their '67 & '69 meetings. In 2010, a 20-track CD titled "Sinatra/Jobim - The Complete Reprise Recordings" was released in the USA, with terrible liner notes, no credits for the musicians, and with all tunes terribly remixed, ruining the "light as a feather" essence of those sessons.}
After the 1969 Sinatra-Jobim sessions, four landmark albums with Jobim followed: "Tide," "Stone Flower," (both from 1970, recorded during the same sessions), "Jobim" -- recorded in 1972 and released in 1973 in Brazil as "Matita Perê," including the most famous version of "Waters of March"; Palma also did the original recording of that song in 1972, for a rare single issued as "Disco de Bolso" by the Pasquim newspaper --, and "Urubu" (recorded in 1975, released in 1976.)
Two tracks from those albums -- "Brazil" (Aquarela do Brasil) from "Stone Flower," and "Ligia" from "Urubu" -- are among the best recordings ever done by a drummer, a splendid showcase of Palma's unique brushwork.
Since I bought my first copy of "Stone Flower" I became fascinated with Palma's solo on "Brazil," but always regreted the fade-out in the end. In 1989, when supervising the first U.S. CD reissue of that album (released by CBS/Epic), there was a decision to remix everything from the original multi-track tapes that had been found; that led me to be able to extend the track from 7m20s to 9m40s. We also found an alternate take of "Brazil" that was played by Palma using sticks instead of brushes, with a string section overdubbed by Deodato, and it was added to the CD as a bonus track.
Later on, I also supervised CD reissues of "Stone Flower" in 2000, 2006 and 2009 for the Japanese market, but using the original Van Gelder mix, since CTI's distributor in Japan, King Records, was not allowed to remix anything. Anyway, specially in the 2009 issue on SHM-CD, I did my best to enhance Palma's performances throughout the album, in terms of sonic quality.
Adored by such arrangers as Claus Ogerman (who scored "Matita Perê" and "Urubu") and Don Sebesky, and producers like Creed Taylor and Tommy LiPuma, Palma continued to develop a brilliant international career, recording albums with Astrud Gilberto ("Gilberto with Turrentine"), Stanley Turrentine ("The Sugar Man"), Paul Desmond ("Bridge Over Troubled Water," a jazzy Paul Simon songbook recorded alongside Hancock and Ron Carter), Robin Kenyatta ("Stompin' At The Savoy," a rare case of session he did playing percussion), George Russell (the guitarist, not the arranger, on "His Guitar And Music") and many others, including a never released 1977 session with Joyce (arranged & produced by Ogerman, featuring Michael Brecker, Joe Farrell, Buster Williams, Naná Vasconcelos and Mike Mainieri), that remains unissued except for a couple of tracks I was authorized to use in compilations I produced for Verve such as "A Trip To Brazil Vol.2: Bossa & Beyond."
(Palma during the recording sessions of the "Gilberto with Turrentine" album, 1971, photo by Price Givens)
(Joao Palma's name appears in the front cover of "The Sugar Man," an out-takes collection)
Palma's discography also includes a never released 1977 session with Joyce (arranged & produced by Ogerman, featuring Michael Brecker, Joe Farrell, Warren Bernhardt, Buster Williams, Naná Vasconcelos and Mike Mainieri), that remains unissued except for a couple of tracks I was authorized to use in compilations I produced for Verve such as "A Trip To Brazil Vol.2: Bossa & Beyond." On "A Trip To Brazil Vol.3: Back To Bossa," appears a version of "Ligia" peformed by Palma with Ithamara Koorax that I was fortunate to produce.
Not to mention dozens of albums, including sessions with Herb Alpert & Tijuana Brass, on which none of the musicians were credited. Even on the famous Jobim's "Tide," his name didn't appear on the original vinyl release, despite the fact that he has played magnificently on the whole album. So I felt good when I was able in 2000 to supervise the first digipak CD issue of "Tide" for the U.S. market and gave credit not only to Palma but also to all the other musicians omitted on the LP release.
More samples of Palma's artistry can be found on compilations by such Maestros as Claus Ogerman (the 4-CD box set "The Man Behind The Music") and Eumir Deodato ("The Best of Deodato In The CTI Years.")
During occasional trips to Brazil, to visit his family in Rio, Palma did sessions with Egberto Gismonti ("Água e Vinho" in 1972), Luiz Henrique ("Mestiço" in 1976), Michael Franks (tracks for "Sleeping Gypsy" in 1977), and even Paulo Autran ("Melhores Momentos" in 1979), as well as gigged with João Donato.
During 1977 and 1978, his fame allowed him to act as a leader of his own band, The Joao Palma Sextet, that played all Thursday nights at the Stryker's jazz club, located at 103 West 68th Street in NY. The same place where the David Matthews' Big Band played on Mondays. Jazz critics like Leonard Feather and Ira Gitler were always in the audience.
       (José Roberto Bertrami & João Palma, 1986, photo by Terri Hinte)

After his definitive return to Brazil in 1980, everything changed. He lived for some time in Brasilia, where he had a new marriage and a new kid (rock drummer Tiago Palma, that made him very proud), but returned to Rio to record with Dori Caymmi. He lost interest in the recording industry, I mean, in the recording business, and vice versa. Palma recorded very sporadically with people like Nana Caymmi ("Mudança dos Ventos"), Azymuth's founder José Roberto Bertrami ("Dreams Are Real") and as special guest of the Fogueira Tres group (curiously, he later acted as a "manager" for that trio during an U.S. tour in the late 80s.)
          (João Palma, first on the left, with the Fogueira Tres crew)

In 1996, he formed his own quartet (with Paulo Malaguti, Augusto Mattoso, Juarez Araujo and singer Ithamara Koorax), performing sold-out engagements at Vinicius nightclub in his native Rio de Janeiro, where the group was filmed for a TV broadcast on Japanese TV.
(José Roberto Bertrami, Ithamara Koorax, Palma, Sergio Barroso, during the sessons for the "Love Dance" album, 2002)
More gigs followed in some now-defunct venues such as Partitura and Ritmo jazz clubs as well as on the Sala Funarte (Funarte Hall) Theater, with different line-ups that included Carlos Malta, Ithamara Koorax, Haroldo Goldfarb, Gabriel Improta, Fernando Leporace. In 2003, his brother, Marcos Palma, an amateur percussionist, passed away in a car accident.

For the past 10 years, he only performed in rare occasions, always sharing the stage with Ithamara Koorax, with whom Palma did his last engagement, performing for six consecutive weekends at the Bottle's Bar from December 2015 to January 2016.
(Ithamara Koorax & João Palma, January 2016 @ Beco das Garrafas, photo by Bernardo Costa)

I had the honor to have him as a friend for 37 years, since I attended a gig he was doing with pianist Joao Donato and bassist Ricardo Santos at the Cirrose nightclub (owned by Vinicius de Moraes) in Rio, as well as to produce the recording sessions he did for albums by Ithamara Koorax ("Love Dance" aka "Someday", "All Around The World", "Ithamara Koorax Sings Getz/Gilberto"), Jorge Pescara ("Grooves In The Temple") and his final date, Rodrigo Lima's "Saga," recorded in 2014. Many more could have happened, but some musicians simply couldn't handle Palma's "temper."
(colockwise: Jorge Helder, José Roberto Bertrami, Arnaldo DeSouteiro, João Palma during a recording session for the "Marcos Valle Songbook" in 1999)
(João Palma & Rodrigo Lima during the recording sessions for the "Saga" album, 2014)
(Fabio Fonseca, João Palma, Ithamara Koorax, Arnaldo DeSouteiro, 2008, photo by Marcia Ferraz)

From 1987 to 2000, when I lived in the Barra da Tijuca area, in Rio, Palma used to visit me very often, and became an essential part of the musical parties I used to organize. We met for the last time on December 25, 2015, and talked for hours; as usual... He is survived by three sons (Francisco, Gabriel and drummer Tiago Palma), one sister (Anna Beatriz) and one brother (Flavio). Another brother, Marcos Palma, deceased in 2003. Rest in Power, Rest in Bossa.
João Palma: o adeus à batida da bossa perfeita

Dia de extrema tristeza para mim, por múltiplos motivos contidos em um só: morreu João Palma. Morreu meu amigo, com quem convivi por 37 anos apesar do temperamento difícil, explosivo, de pavio curtíssimo, um sujeito tão "marrento" que julguei imortal. Morreu meu grande ídolo da bateria, com quem tive a honra de trabalhar em shows e gravações. Morreu, com ele, o que restava de um Brasil sutil, sofisticado, cosmopolita. O mesmo Brasil que Tom Jobim, João Gilberto e Luiz Bonfá também sonharam.

Nosso país deu ao mundo alguns dos maiores bateristas da história da música: Palma, Dom Um Romão, Edison Machado, Milton Banana, Airto Moreira, Helcio Milito e o único de uma geração posterior que estudou profundamente, absorveu e melhor desenvolveu, ampliou e reciclou - na linhagem da bossa, do jazz e do híbrido sambajazz - o legado desses mestres, Zé Eduardo Nazário.

[Claro que temos muitos outros excelentes bateras: Ivan Conti, Cesar Machado, Robertinho Silva, Nenê, Wilson das Neves, Portinho, Rubens Barsotti, Carlos Bala, Pascoal Meirelles, Duduka da Fonseca, Rafael Barata, o extraordinário Mauricio Zottarelli, além dos saudosos Paulinho Magalhães, Juquinha, Jadir de Castro, Plinio Araujo, Ohana, Luciano Perrone etc etc. Mas pertencem a outras correntes, trafegam ou trafegaram em outras vias, alguns mais para o samba, outros para o fusion, funk ou avant-garde. Duduka, Portinho e Zottarelli, radicados nos EUA, também procuram, cada qual à sua maneira, preservar a estética de Palma, Machado & cia.]

Cresci ouvindo todos eles em discos e ao vivo. Conheci pessoalmente todos eles. Milito e Banana frequentavam minha casa. Airto também, porque foi meu concunhado. Machado, conheci nas jams na casa de José Roberto Bertrami e assisti a seu emocionante último show (realizado no Vinicius Bar e não no People, ao contrário do que dizem os pesquisadores preguiçosos). Trabalhei muito com Dom Um (produzi seus últimos três discos), gênio não só da bateria mas também da percussão, além de ser humano maravilhoso, de quem tenho infinita saudade.

Mas João Palma sempre foi meu predileto. Questão de gosto pessoal mesmo. Talvez por ser, na minha humilde opinião, repito, o mais "esteticamente refinado" de todos (Airto e Dom Um seriam os mais "completos" pela soma de bateria + percussão), de uma elegância musical absurda, capaz de ir da mais sofisticada sutileza (que me fascinou, inicialmente, através dos LPs com Tom Jobim) ao galope incendiário igualmente presente, em doses certeiras, nos mesmos discos de Tom. Sempre perfeito, sempre de ataque fatal. Sabia tocar com "força" quando necessário, a sua "pegada" tinha impacto, a caixada era precisa, a pratada era mortal, mas nunca/jamais soou "pesado".

A obra-prima "Stone Flower" ilustra isso perfeitamente: Palma vai do requinte minimalista de "Tereza, My Love" (era o único baterista que os maestros e produtores permitiam que iniciasse uma música dando uma "bumbada"!) ao vigor flamejante da faixa-título e de "God and The Devil In The Land of The Sun", empregado também em "The Mantiqueira Range" (do álbum "Matita Perê"), onde as chicotadas no prato de condução soam como tiros de caçadores numa floresta, raios riscando o céu. Passa ainda pela condução jazzisticamente valseada de "Children's Games" (Chovendo Na Roseira), pela batida da bossa perfeita em "Sabiá" ("consegui tirar o chororô daquela música", dizia), pela execução econômica, quase minimalista, em "Andorinha", e pelo show de vassourinha na swingueira insuperável do samba "Brazil" (Aquarela do Brasil), talvez a faixa que mais ouvi em toda a minha vida, desde que comprei o primeiro exemplar de "Stone Flower" quando tinha 10 anos de idade.

[Outra gravação extraordinária com Tom é a faixa "Ligia", do disco "Urubu". Considero a atuação de Palma, captada com impressionante qualidade de som pelo engenheiro Frank Laico, a melhor performance de vassourinha em todos os tempos. Mixada "na cara", com um som cheio, redondo, que deveria servir de aula para jovens músicos e engenheiros acostumados ao som chapado do ProTools. Aliás, sempre que gravei com Palma, ele pedia dois microfones na caixa: um na parte superior, como se usa normalmente, e outro embaixo da caixa, para captar toda a "fritura" da esteira. Outra característica sua, quando gravava bossa ou samba, era o uso de um cowbell acoplado à bateria, recurso muito utilizado nos dois excelentes discos com Walter Wanderley.]

Graças aos insondáveis mistérios do universo, do "tudão" (termo utilizado por outro João genial, o Gilberto), eu sempre vivi tão apaixonado por "Stone Flower" que acabei produzindo e/ou supervisionando e/ou escrevendo textos de encarte para diversas reedições em CD; inclusive a primeira no mercado americano. Quiseram os deuses que eu achasse as fitas originais de multi-track que estavam "perdidas" (sem identificação) no acervo da Sony/Epic, onde o acervo do selo CTI tinha ido parar por questões judiciais.

Fato que nos permitiu a ousadia de remixar o disco, me levando a descobrir que algumas faixas haviam sido encurtadas pelo engenheiro de som Rudy Van Gelder para não comprometerem a qualidade da prensagem, devido às limitações de tempo do vinil (o produtor Creed Taylor raramente deixava um "lado" ultrapassar 17 minutos). Assim me foi possível encerrar aquela maravilhosa "Aquarela" não aos 7m19s do LP, ceifando o balé do solo de Palma, mas aos 9m40s, alongando a faixa ao máximo e trazendo à tona, pela primeira vez, o improviso completo da bateria.

Conversando com Palma, descobri também que aquele havia sido um "take" de ensaio, bem à vontade, improvisado no estúdio por Jobim, Eumir Deodato (ambos tocando Fender Rhodes), Ron Carter no baixo, Palma na bateria, Airto (triângulo + surdo no final da faixa) e Everaldo Ferreira (caixinha de fósforo) na percussão. Mais intimista e espontâneo, impossível. Inicialmente, Creed Taylor não gostou muito. Achou a faixa longa demais. Pediu que um novo "take" fosse feito no dia seguinte, mais curto, mais compacto. Palma trocou as vassouras pelas baquetas. Deodato adicionou um arranjo para flautas e seção de cordas. Mas, na hora da mixagem, Creed mudou de idéia, optando pelo "take" original, sem cordas. O outro, que era pra ser o "oficial", foi arquivado e esquecido por todos. Menos por Palma. E por mim, que lembrei da história e não sosseguei até encontra-lo e inclui-lo no CD como bonus-track.

Por essas e outras, minhas conversas com Palma duravam horas. Era cultíssimo! Adorado por Van Gelder, Claus Ogerman e Don Sebesky, a quem fui por ele apresentado. Quando me dava a honra de sua presença nas reuniões musicais que eu organizava, a "sessão" acabava girando em torno das gravações dele. Certa vez, num encontro ao qual estava presente Anna Carolina Albernaz, deixou a artista plástica encantada ao narrar, em detalhes, a concepção de cada faixa que eu ia mostrando de seus discos com Paul Desmond, Astrud Gilberto, Michael Franks e tantos outros, durante o "terceiro set" de uma festa na qual estavam presentes também João Donato, Lisa Ono, Sergio Barroso e José Boto.

Em outra ocasião, me telefonou às 16hs perguntando se a festa estava confirmada para às 21hs. Eu respondi que sim, e ele emendou: "OK, então estou saindo agora". Naquela época, 1998, eu morava na Barra da Tijuca; ele, na Lagoa, perto do Corte de Cantagalo. Travou-se então o seguinte diálogo:
- Palma, você entendeu errado. A reunião só começa às 21hs.
- Eu sei, mas você acha que eu vou de táxi? Eu vou a pé, quero me exercitar!

E assim fez como bom andarilho, caminhando por dentro dos túneis, atravessando vias perigosíssimas, e chegando pontualmente às 21hs, para espanto dos demais convivas. Nas mãos, um saquinho com chá de maçã, que eu sempre prazeirosamente preparava, porque ele já não mais tomava bebida alcoólica.

Nos vimos pela última vez em 25 de Dezembro de 2015, quando fui passar o Natal no Rio. Ele estava tocando no revitalizado Bottle's Bar, no Beco das Garrafas, onde tinha iniciado a carreira tocando em trio com Johnny Alf (piano) e Tião Neto (baixo). Senti que se fechava um ciclo. Foi o fim do roteiro trágico do herói.
Abaixo, um dos muitos artigos que escrevi sobre Palma para o jornal Tribuna da Imprensa.

A bossa atemporal de João Palma no Partitura
Arnaldo DeSouteiro
Artigo escrito por Arnaldo DeSouteiro e publicado originalmente no jornal "Tribuna da Imprensa" em 2003

Segundo um dos mais conceituados críticos de jazz da atualidade, Alex Henderson, do All Music Guide, “a importância de João Palma no mundo da bateria é igual a de Max Roach e John Bonham”. Dennis Seiwell – batera do grupo Wings, de Paul McCartney – sempre cita Palma como seu baterista favorito. Agora, depois da temporada de sucesso, em 2001, na Sala Funarte, Palma volta a matar a saudade dos fãs brasileiros com três imperdíveis shows, hoje, amanhã e domingo, as 21:30hs, no Partitura (Av. Epitáceo Pessoa 5030, Lagoa). Ao seu lado, amigos fiéis como o pianista Haroldo Goldfarb, o baixista Fernando Leporace e a cantora Ithamara Koorax. “É sempre um prazer tocar no Rio, e uma grande alegria tocar com músicos tão bons”, afirma João. “E a Ithamara eu faço questão de ter sempre como minha convidada especial, porque, além de uma intérprete extraordinária, ela dá um charme extra ao show.”

Aclamado como um dos maiores bateristas na história da música brasileira – e, certamente, o mais sutil e requintado dentre todos os bateras consagrados na época da bossa nova -, o carioca João Palma deixou sua marca estampada em vários sucessos interplanetários de Tom Jobim (“Águas de Março”, “Ligia”, “Stone flower”) e Sergio Mendes (“Mas que nada”, “Going out of my head”, The look of love”). “Vamos relembrar todas essas músicas no show, tenho orgulho do meu passado”, declara. “Toquei com o Tom por quase dez anos, fizemos seis discos juntos, inclusive o segundo álbum dele com o Sinatra. Antes eu tinha tocado por quatro anos com o Sergio, na época áurea do Brasil 66”. Também estará no repertório a canção "Absolutely", música inédita de Tom Jobim gravada por Ithamara Koorax para a trilha sonora da novela "Celebridade".

Entre os artistas americanos que serão homenageados, Palma destaca os saxofonistas Paul Desmond e Stanley Turrentine, já falecidos. “Desmond tinha uma sonoridade aveludada de sax-alto que nunca ninguém conseguiu imitar. Toquei no último disco dele para a A&M, ao lado do Herbie Hancock no piano, do Ron Carter no baixo, e do Airto Moreira na percussão, com orquestrações maravilhosas do meu amigo Don Sebesky. É um disco só com arranjos jazzísticos para temas do Paul Simon, que já saiu em CD. Chama-se “Bridge over troubled water”. Com o Turrentine, que tinha um som forte e redondo no sax-tenor, eu inclusive excursionei várias vezes. Gravei no disco dele em dupla com a Astrud Gilberto, produzido pelo Creed Taylor para a CTI Records”.

Nascido em 1941, revelado no Beco das Garrafas em fins dos anos 50, Palma foi o baterista original do grupo Copa Trio, com Manuel Gusmão no baixo e Toninho Oliveira no piano. “Quando fui chamado para o Serviço Militar, o Dom Um Romão me substituiu”, revela. “Na volta, entrei no grupo do Eumir, que tocava na TV Rio, e aquele conjunto depois virou o quinteto do Menescal. Fizemos dois discos na Elenco, do Aloysio de Oliveira, e um no selo Imperial, além de LPs com Maysa, Sylvia Telles e Lucio Alves”. Atendendo ao convite de Sergio Mendes, embarcou para os Estados Unidos em 65. “Cheguei logo para gravar o disco The great arrival, com arranjos de Clare Fischer e outros feras que eu idolatrava. Com a orquestra toda no estúdio, como se fosse um show ao vivo. Fiquei um pouco intimidado, tanto que minha execução é bastante contida naquele álbum”.

Pouco depois, já no célebre Sergio Mendes & Brasil 66, ajudou a emplacar o maior sucesso na carreira do pianista, “Mas que nada”, seguido por dois outros LPs (“Equinox” e “Look Around”) geradores de longas excursões pelos quatro cantos do planeta. Mudando-se da Califórnia para Nova Iorque, Palma gravou todas as faixas de “Courage”, disco de estréia de Milton Nascimento no exterior (“tem as melhores músicas dele, como “Travessia”, “Morro velho”, “Canção do sal”, ele nunca mais fez um disco tão bom...”) e entrou para a banda de Walter Wanderley, atuando nos LPs “When it was done” e “Moondreams”. No meio de uma turnê pelo México, recebeu a notícia de que um jatinho estava à sua espera para leva-lo a Los Angeles. Era um chamado de Frank Sinatra, que o convidava para a gravação do álbum “Sinatra & Company”, com músicas e violão de Tom Jobim, Ray Brown no baixo, e arranjos de Eumir Deodato.

A partir dali (junho de 69), tornou-se o baterista predileto de Tom, com quem trabalhou até 76 em discos como “Tide”, “Stone flower”, “Matita perê” e “Urubu”. Nos anos 70 e 80, continuou ativo nos estúdios de LA e NY, gravando com Robin Kenyatta, George Russell, Astrud Gilberto, Joyce e até Michael Franks, no cultuado “Sleeping gypsy”, ao lado de Claus Ogerman, David Sanborn, João Donato e Michael Brecker. Nas férias, sempre vinha ao Brasil, aproveitando para deixar sua marca em álbuns memoráveis como “Água e vinho” (Egberto Gismonti), “Mudança dos ventos” (Nana Caymmi), “Dreams are real” (José Roberto Bertrami), e “Dori Caymmi” (“um LP de 1980 para a EMI que tinha “A porta” e uma regravação de “Saveiros” que ficou genial”).

Na última década, reduziu bastante o ritmo de trabalho. “Passei a tocar apenas por prazer”, garante. “Com 40 anos de carreira, não tenho mais nada a provar, de formas que só aceito participar de projetos que sejam enriquecedores para mim. Não aguento mais ego-trip de músico inseguro, quero é me divertir no palco, quero que a platéia viaje junto comigo.” Os vários shows com Ithamara Koorax desde 1996, sempre com casa cheia, foram algumas dessas ocasiões, assim como a gravações de algumas faixas para o novo CD da cantora, “Love dance”. E também como prometem ser os shows no Partitura “Vamos arrasar!”, declara.
Foto de Celso Brando, que antes de se tornar renomado fotógrafo foi guitarrista do grupo de Tenório Jr. e tocou muito com João Palma, com quem gravou no disco "Bossa Nova" (Imperial, 1962) de Roberto Menescal.