Friday, January 29, 2010

Artista da Semana (janeiro 31 - fevereiro 6) - Luca Mundaca

Artista da Semana - Luca Mundaca

Everywhere she goes, Luca Mundaca seems to attract a devoted following of fans. Whether she’s playing a concert in Sao Paulo, Brazil, headlining a night of world music at New York City’s famous The Living Room club, or touring clubs in the United States, Luca’s combination of personal warmth and musical virtuosity captivates everyone who watches her perform.

“Her abilities are unlimited,” says Seth Rothstein, vice president of marketing at Sony Legacy records. “She has a stunning voice of great intimacy and emotion, and her songwriting is first-rate.”

Luca’s music began at age 15 in Brazil, when her mother bought her the only guitar the family could afford: a clunky and cheap guitar that cost $30 new. With no money for sheet music, Luca taught herself to play, and wrote all her own songs. She locked herself in the bedroom of her family’s house south of Sao Paulo and practiced for 10 hours a day. The guitar’s cheap strings sliced her fingers, so she learned to stick her hands in the freezer to numb the pain before returning to play.

She became the lead singer in a Brazilian pop fusion band, but soon discovered the music that spoke to her soul: Brazil’s own samba and bossa nova.

“I loved the swinging rhythm, the intimacy of the music,” Luca says.

Luca played her first solo gig in 1997. She earned as much money in one night as she made in a month working the hot ovens of a soap factory. That’s when she decided to become a full-time musician. After building an underground following in the bars and jazz clubs of Brazil, she sold all her equipment for a one-way ticket to New York City. Within months, she was playing at The Living Room, auditioning for jazz labels and major record studios, and catching the attention of fans and music industry veterans.

“Luca Mundaca is a classic example of a talent deserving wider recognition,” says Don Heckman, music critic for the Los Angeles Times. She is “(b)lessed with a sweetly engaging sound, impressive musicality and the rhythmic passion of her Brazilian roots.”

In addition to her own albums, Luca’s work has been featured on two Putumayo World Music compilations, “Women of the World Acoustic” and “Brazilian Lounge,” in which she appears alongside Brazilian music legends Bebel Gilberto , Adriana Calcanhoto and Marcos Vale. Her song “Ha Dias” was featured on the soundtrack for the movie “The Visitor,” and licensed for the TV show californiacation on Showtime.

Luca was also named Best World Fusion musician in 2008 by the Independent Music Awards.

Through all of her travels and successes, Luca maintains those rare qualities that set her music apart. Intimacy. Playfulness. Soul. Hearing her play reminds us that life is a fun and romantic gift to be shared with the people we love. And like all things worth doing, good music comes when years of hard work evolve into an effortless expression of joy.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Friday, January 22, 2010

Artista da Semana (janeiro 24 - 30) - Renee Rosnes

Artista da Semana - Renee Rosnes


Renee Rosnes has emerged as one of the premier jazz pianists and composers of her generation. Canadian born, she began classical piano studies at age three and became interested in jazz music in high school. Shortly after relocating from Vancouver to New York in 1986, Rosnes quickly established a reputation as a formidable talent. In 1987, she joined tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson's band; in 1988, she spent a year with Wayne Shorter's Quintet; in 1989, legendary trombonist JJ Johnson invited Rosnes to become his pianist, and she performed and recorded with him for seven years. Rosnes' composition "Malaga Moon" was arranged for string orchestra by the renowned Robert Farnon and recorded on Johnson's "Tangence." Having toured with many of the greatest masters, her resume reads like a who's who of jazz.

Rosnes has released a series of nine highly acclaimed recordings for Blue Note Records, four of which have garnered Juno Awards, the Canadian equivalent of a Grammy. Her latest release is "Black Narcissus" (2008), with bassist Peter Washington and Lewis Nash, and in September 2008, was awarded a Swing Journal "Gold Disc Award" in Japan. This album celebrates the music of tenor master Joe Henderson. Other recent releases featuring Rosnes are Bobby Hutcherson: "For Sentimental Reasons", the SFJAZZ Collective LIVE 2009: The Music of McCoy Tyner & Originals.

Rosnes also shines in the context of larger ensembles. She was the pianist for the Carnegie Hall Jazz Orchestra for ten years, led by trumpeter Jon Faddis, and has recorded three albums with the Gerald Wilson Orchestra. Her 2003 Blue Note release: "Renee Rosnes with the Danish Radio Big Band" features eight tracks, five of which were composed by Rosnes. All Music Guide wrote: "The album is a crystalline wonder of tight writing, exceptional playing, and painstaking attention to harmonic detail; it is a tapestry so varied and multidimensional in both conception and execution that it stands in a class by

Aside from leading her own trio and quartet, Rosnes is a nineteen-year member of the James Moody Quartet, frequently performs with legendary vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson, and was the pianist for six years for the SF Jazz Collective, an all-star band that has featured such artists as Joshua Redman, Nicholas Payton, Miguel Zenon, Nicholas Payton, Dave Douglas and Joe Lovano. Rosnes also often collaborates with her husband, pianist Bill Charlap, in a two piano setting.

"Rosnes rubs balm in jaded ears. She offers exquisite balances of delicacy and power, witty and
weighted ideas, assertiveness and deference." Down Beat

"If you looked closely, you would have sworn you saw steam rising from the piano at the Vanguard."
The New York Sun


Renee Rosnes (Blue Note)
For The Moment (Blue Note)
Without Words (Blue Note)
Ancestors (Blue Note)
As We Are Now (Blue Note)
Art & Soul (Blue Note)
With A Little Help From My Friends (Blue Note)
Renee Rosnes With The Danish Radio Big Band (Blue Note)
Life On Earth (Blue Note)
A Time For Love (VideoArts Japan)
Black Narcissus (Pony Canyon Japan)

Selected Discography as a sideman:

Bobby Hutcherson: "For Sentimental Reasons" (Kind of Blue)
JJ Johnson "Let's Hang Out" (Verve)
JJ Johnson "Heroes" (Verve)
Joe Henderson "The Blue Note Years" (Blue Note)
Niels Henning Ørsted Pedersen: "Friends Forever" (Milestone)
Rich Perry: "So In Love" (Steeplechase)
SFJAZZ Collective: "Live 2009: The Works of McCoy Tyner and Originals"
Marian McPartland: "Just Friends" (Concord)
Joyce: "Astronauta: Songs of Elis" (Blue Jackel)
Steve Turre: "One4J" (Telarc)
Walt Weiskopf: "Anytown" (Criss Cross)
Jimmy Scott: "But Beautiful" (Milestone)
Gary Thomas: "The Seventh Quadrant" (JMT)
Gerald Wilson: "New York, New Sound" (Mack Avenue)
George Mraz: "Duke's Place" (Milestone)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Artista da Semana (janeiro 17 - 23) - Melody Gardot

Artista da Semana - Melody Gardot


Pull down your shades and light some candles. A simple, yet poignant blend of jazz and folk is headed your way. At 22, singer-songwriter Melody Gardot has a hauntingly smooth voice that can melt even the coldest of hearts.

Melody Gardot has set the bar for what it means to be a musical athlete. Drenched in a sublime vapor of mellow blues, eclectic folk, and the faintest essence of jazz, she breaks forth with her debut full length album, Worrisome Heart. The record is an effervescent 11-track collection of original songs co-produced by Melody Gardot and Grammy-Award winning producer Glenn Barratt. With a superb narrative and inventive vocal-scat patterns, the pianist/guitarist tackles heartache full on by way of velvet tongue and alluring disposition.

Few females successfully master the art of capturing mood and emotion the way Gardot does. There is an expressive candor and yearning in her voice--an insatiable longing reminiscent of greats like Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, and Nina Simone. Her roots as a piano player in nightclubs of Philadelphia undoubtedly set the framework for developing her post-midnight sultry sound. Though a motor vehicle accident left the young singer disabled, hidden behind dark glasses and a tempting smile is an extraordinary young woman whose daily struggles feed her artistic pursuit:

“I believe in sharing your heart with people, no matter how hard it may be” says Gardot.

At the age of 19, Gardot was hit by a car while riding a bicycle. The injuries sustained mean Gardot now needs to wear dark glasses and carry a cane. Prompted by a tending physician who believed music would help her regain some of her former cognitive abilities, her first musical venture was in 2005, an EP titled, “Some Lessons” recorded from her bedside.

Gardot’s story garnered attention as a fighter who has overcome adversity and risen above her limitations. City Paper Philadelphia honored her with a People’s Choice award saying, “To our eyes, nobody's a more inspiring, more talented fighter than young singing-songwriter phenom Melody Gardot. She turned the pain of a life-changing car accident into surprisingly mature and utterly enthralling music.”

“It was a most unusual start, but when you come from a place where things are tough it makes it that much easier to appreciate the times when life is easy.” she says.

In addition to the trio of musicians who accompany Gardot live, the record features an impressive cast of musicians including guitarist Jef Lee Johnson (Billy Joel, George Duke, Aretha Franklin), Kurt Johnston (Bon Jovi) and trumpeter Matt Cappy (Jill Scott, Kirk Franklin, Dave Chapelle Movie). Poised and ready the young singer shines on “Worrisome Heart”, proving she is an undeniable lyrical contender who from the very first word will knock you out.

All about Jazz

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Artista da Semana - Sofía Rei Koutsovitis (janeiro 10 - 16)

Artista da Semana - Sofia Rei Koutsovitis

“ As the Argentine singer Sofía Rei Koutsovitis led her multinational band,(…) the passion and clarity with which she assayed a tricky mix of South American rhythms and jazz-inflected harmonies made clear why she has been embraced by New York City audiences from Carnegie Hall to the hippest downtown haunts. ”
-Phil Lutz, New York Times

Sofía Rei Koutsovitis,“one of the most versatile and in-demand singers on the New York music scene” (All About Jazz), is a Buenos Aires native, a vocalist and a composer who mixes and elegantly fuses South American rhythms with a jazz aesthetic in a unique and extremely seductive way. Singing in Spanish, Portuguese or English, Sofia's voice is so graceful as sophisticated and reflects her immersion in modern and progressive jazz while also responding to the pull of ancestry and the appeal of organic, pan-musical connections.

In Danilo Perez' words: "She knows how to combine the best of her Argentine roots with the skills and passion necessary to make many contributions to our music community". Her own project is grounded in traditional South American rhythms such as chacarera, zamba and vidala from Argentina, Afro-peruvian festejo and lando, Afro-Uruguayan candombe, Colombian cumbia and bullerengue and other Brazilian genres that merge involving jazz harmonies and rich improvisations. Her ensemble produces a range of textures as diverse as the cultural roots of its members, an international cast that includes some of the most exiting young talent from North and South America. Her debut CD, Ojalá, received great critical acclaim and was chosen a top 10 album of 2006 by the Jazz Journalists Association. A follow-up CD “Sube Azul” is being released in Europe by the label World Village (Harmonia Mundi) in the Summer of 2009.

Sofia has also recorded, performed and collaborated with renowned artists and bands such as Lionel Loueke, Danilo Perez, Folklore Urbano, Russ Ferrante (Yellow Jackets), Alcatraz, Pavel Urkiza (Gema y Pavel), Avantango, John Scofield, Bob Moses, Aquiles Baez and Hector Martignon. She toured Europe with the Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra and premiered with the group Cerulean Skies, a piece commissioned by the New Crowned Hope Festival in Vienna. She was recently featured with vocal giant Bobby McFerrin in Instant Opera at Carnegie Hall.

Sofia has toured Europe, Asia, North and South America singing at renowned international festivals and venues such as the Carnegie Hall (NYC), Kennedy Center (Washington DC) , Lincoln Center (NYC), the Blue Note (NYC), the Chicago World Music Festival (Chicago, IL), Aspen/Snowmass Jazz Festival (Aspen, CO), the International Jazz en Lima Festival (Peru), the Festival Iberoamericano de las Artes (Puerto Rico), Cite de la Musique (Paris, France), the Festival de Jazz de Barcelona (Spain), the IAJE Conference 2008 (Toronto, Canada), the Lapataia Jazz, the World Music Festival (Uruguay) and the International Jazz and Modern music Festival (Bogota, Colombia).

“ Koutsovitis sings a varied, engaging set, with plenty to dance to, plenty to get down with, and plenty to think about. She’s going for an ambitious goal: original, creative and technically challenging music that’s as exciting to a Bacchanalian crowd as to the ivory tower listener. “
-The Live Music Report, Canada

Friday, January 1, 2010

Artista da Semana (janeiro 3 - 9 ) - William Cepeda

Artista da Semana - William Cepeda

Get Your Own Free Playlist.


William Cepeda - trombone, composer, producer

William Cepeda comes from a well known family rooted in music. The Familia Cepeda is famous for their performances of folkloric music with African roots, the ‘Bomba,’ and as keepers of traditional Puerto Rican music for many years. The legendary Cepedas’ have produced many of Puerto Rico's most respected Afro-Rican percussionists, singers, dancers, composers and instrumentalists. Now, in William Cepeda, the young multi-instrumentalist, composer and arranger who was nurtured by the twin spirits of bomba and bebop, Puerto Rico's potent rhythms and entrancing melodies radiate out to enthrall an international audience hungry for new Latin sounds.

Despite his family’s intimate association with folkloric music, as a soloist Cepeda went his own way. His interest in jazz and great talent has enabled him to develop a unique jazz style which he calls “Afrorican Jazz”. The music is a fusion of jazz with the musical themes so prevalent in the folk music he grew up with.

Born in Loiza, Puerto Rico, Cepeda was immersed in the rhythms and melodies of the native danza, bomba and plena and even the folk music of the jibaro. With this background and family history, he started playing percussion with friends by age ten. In his teens, Cepeda picked up the trombone and got an early start as a professional musician.

Cepeda’s formal musical training includes BA degrees from Berklee College of Music in Boston and from the Conservatory of Music in Puerto Rico. He also attended the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College in New York, on a full scholarship, where he was awarded a Master’s Degree in Jazz Performance. The training exposed Cepeda to some of the greatest jazz musicians and taught him complexities of jazz improvisation and composition. He studied and played with such notable jazz musicians as Slide Hampton, Donald Byrd, David Murray, and others. He also played and recorded with Latin music artists such as Oscar De Leon, Paquito d’Rivera, Celia Cruz, Tito Puente and Eddie Palmieri. When he is not touring, Cepeda is busy in the recording studio. As a recording artist, he appears on over 100 recordings as well as jingles and movie soundtracks.

Cepeda also played with and learned much from Dizzy Gillespie, one of the founders of Latin Jazz. The association began in 1989 when Cepeda was hired by Gillespie during a tour by Gillespie’s United Nation Orchestra. Joining the tour with Miriam Makeba, Cepeda participated in the fusion of jazz with South African music. On his return to Puerto Rico in 1990, after the tour, and inspired by collaboration with Gillespie and Makeba, Cepeda created his Afrorican jazz style. He had made a unique contribution in fusing the distinct musical styles and traditions of Africa and Puerto Rico, in a way that only Rafael Cortijo had done before with the major difference being the addition of jazz.

A chance encounter with Gillespie had opened a great artistic vehicle for Cepeda. It turned into an invitation to tour Europe with Gillespie, a lasting relationship, and unique musical style. It has afforded Cepeda to show his talents as a composer as well as an accomplished trombonist.

In 1997, Cepeda was selected one of the most important and influential Puerto Rican composers. His talent has brought him more than just popular recognition. It has won him many awards as well as grants from such diverse groups as the American Composers Orchestra, the American Composers Forum, the Association of Hispanic Arts and the Latino Arts Advancement Program. In2002 Cepeda was honored with a Meet The Composer’ New Residencies Program award to be a composer-in-residence of the Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico for the next three years. During this residence Cepeda began writing music for many different kind of groupings, from chamber ensembles to big bands and symphonic orchestra, and developing artistic collaboration with dance and theater ensembles. Cepeda is currently on the faculty at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, teaches part-time and conducts seminars and workshops.

But Cepeda has also been successful as a record producer. He produced “Bombazo” (1998) for Grupo Afro Boricua,( highly recommended) as well as his own CD’s on the Blue Jackel label. “My Roots and Beyond,” (1998) and “Branching Out,” in 2000. He has started his own record label Casabe and has released “Live at Montreux,” and “Unity,” both in 2007.

Trombonist /composer /arranger William Cepeda is part of a new generation of musicians who have not only mastered the skills a jazz artist requires, but combine them with the traditional music of their homeland, creating a new and challenging repertoire. Cepeda calls his own variation on this theme “Afrorican Jazz.”

“This is my contribution to Puerto Rican music...Nothing like this has been done before, because while there are plenty of great jazz albums inspired by Cuban rhythms and music, Cuban-jazz fusions and such, there's nothing quite of the same calibre out there for Puerto Rican music and jazz. And there should be. It's time. You know, don Rafael Cepeda said that when the Puerto Rican people understand the value of their music and folklore, they will fight with great force to defend their honor. This music is about my people and for my people.”

“Traditional Puerto Rican music isn't heard that much outside of the island and it's a shame. We have a very strong music. By using a variety of instruments and the wealth of jazz resources, I have brought this rich tradition to another level, to a wider audience but also to a new level of feeling, more in line with the experience of today. I'm putting a little fire into it, with the result, I hope, of offering a dynamic and beautiful music for many, many people to enjoy.” William Cepeda