The Music of Brazil

Brazil, the largest country in South America and the fifth largest in the world, is a land rich in history, mystique, and exceptions to the rule. Founded as a Portuguese colony in 1500 that was later known as the Empire of Brazil, it became a republic in 1889 and is now known as the Federative Republic of Brazil.

Its official language is Portuguese, which is spoken by nearly the entire population – and the only Portuguese-speaking nation in Latin America – making its natural and cultural identity very distinct from its Spanish-speaking neighbors. Brazilian Portuguese is also different from that spoken in Portugal. It is fitting that the Museum of the Portuguese Language in Brazil ‘s capital São Paulo is the first language museum in the world.

One of the founding members of the United Nations, Brazil is the world’s tenth largest economy and boasts a natural environment of unparalleled diversity and breathtaking geographic beauty, making it a great draw for international tourists seeking sun and beach and adventure forays into the Amazon Rainforest.

Interview with Kellylee Evans

Canadian soul and jazz music singer Kellylee Evans received a Juno in 2011 for her impressive album Nina in the category “Vocal Jazz Album of the Year.” To get a great impression of her unique qualities, check out this video of one of her 2013 concerts:

Due to a concussion, Kellylee had not performed for almost two years, but in 2017, she returned to the stage in several Canadian cities like Ottawa (at the city’s National Arts Centre), Montreal (the Upstairs Jazz Bar and Grill), Toronto (Hugh’s Room Live), and Burlington, Ontario (Burlington Performing Arts Centre). Kellylee’s latest album, Come On, came out in 2017 on October 27. Let’s take a look at an interview that I had recently with her.

Q – I have turned on a number of people to your CD “Come On”, and everyone wants to know when the next one is coming out. So, can we expect a new album from you anytime soon?

I want to say “yes”, so I’m just going to say it – “yes” :). I’m super obsessed about getting a new CD out. A lot of the material that we perform on the road is unrecorded and fans keep asking for those songs, so I have a lot of incentive to get it done.

Birdland – The Jazz Corner of the World

A few years way back, I overheard the sounds of the singing quartet, Manhattan Transfer, coming from the stereo in my son’s room. The group had added lyrics to Joe Zawinul’s extraordinary instrumental “Birdland,” conjuring some warm memories of the jazz club that had once been called “The Jazz Corner of the World.”

Broadway and 52nd Street in the 1950s and Early Sixties was a jazz oasis. On Saturday evenings crowds could steal glances through open doors at the Metropole Cafe, across from the Colony Record Shop of greats such as Roy Eldridge or Gene Krupa playing on top of the bar. Wednesday night was Mambomania night at the Palladium Ballroom up the street with Tito Puente and Mongo Santamaria ticking and booming their impulsive and complex rhythms on well-tuned skins, what was to become the pulse of today’s Latin Jazz, to the bustling street below.

Below the level of the street near an all-night cafe hung the canopy of a place called “Birdland.” Descending the magic stairs beneath a sign that read “Through these portals, pass the most mortals,” visitors were greeted by waves of modern jazz being created, breezing past the thick red carpets. The intricate sound of Dizzy Gillespie’s trumpet, the bell of the horn wasn’t turned up as yet, blended coolly with the feel of the air conditioning pumping into the club.

John Cocuzzi Band – Remember when they nearly blew the roof off the Glendora Ballroom?

Tony Ventura stepped up to the microphone and faced the crowd. “Today, we’re going to hear John Cocuzzi play vibes. We haven’t heard him before, but he’s supposed to be good,” he said. The stocky Ventura stepped down from the small stage and weaved through the tables to stand in the back of the room as the lights dimmed.

Cocuzzi looked to be somewhere in his forties. With his long gray hair pulled back in a ponytail, he looked more like a modern jazz musician than a guy who would play in front of the Illiana Club of Traditional Jazz.

It was the club’s monthly Sunday afternoon concert at the Glendora Ballroom in Chicago Ridge. It amazes me that hundreds of people drive past this ballroom’s uninspiring façade at 102nd and Harlem, across the street from a Wal-Mart, without a clue that hot jazz is happening inside. The building looks structurally sound, but inside it feels like some old cartoon where there’s a party and the walls of the house sway in time with the music.

Some 200 people came to hear this vibes player “prove” himself. He wore a suit and tie. I like it when musicians dress up for their audiences. It shows respect. Most of the members of this jazz club have gray or white hair, and their generation dresses for concerts. Many were dressed up like the musicians. Others came in their July casual attire.

The Jazz Side of Afrobeat

Ayetoro is a Yoruba word that means a world of peace. Ayetoro is also the name of a band formed in Nigeria just over twenty ago in 1996 by Funsho Ogundipe. Funsho has quite an interesting and unusual biography for a musician. He has never played the piano before he was seventeen and he only discovered his deep love for music while he was at the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) in Nigeria.

After he graduated he worked in a law firm for five years and then for the Prudent Merchant Bank (now Prudent Bank). Oddly enough one of his early encounters with a world famous musician ended in disaster. “I remember when I was in Law School, I used to hang out and go and watch Fela play at the Shrine on most Friday evening after school,

The Life of B.B. King: A Legendary Blues Master

B.B. King has enjoyed one of the most distinguished and influential musical legacies in the history of recording. He is known for prolifically touring the world and has played at least 200 shows annually for over half a century. His career is an inspiration to many musicians and people who look for second chances,  his story is even included in GED tests, says Chris from Best GED Classes. This is the best way to honor his legacy with respect to the great things he’s done for music and his country.

His expansive catalog includes close to sixty albums and dozens of live releases. You may be able to view some of his world performances by ordering a TV package from www.cabletelevision.net and check out also this video where he plays with John Mayer (2012):

A man of humble origins, the renowned blues musician was born on September 16, 1925, within the confines of a desolate cotton plantation in the outskirts of Berclair, Mississippi. His father abandoned him with his mother when he was four. This created a bleak financial situation and he was subsequently raised by his grandmother. Having already sung in the gospel choir his entire childhood, he played guitar from the age of twelve.

A Blues Chronicle: From Robert Johnson To Robert Cray

The Evolution of The Blues
The blues began in America. It was made popular by traditional artists like Blind Willie Jefferson, Son House, Blind Willie McTell and Robert Johnson. However, the most influential period of the blues was in the late ’50s and early ’60s. Electric instruments heavily dominated this blues scene. Check out this video: Sweet Home Chicago with (among many others) Cray and Clapton. Does it get any better?

The blues artists that dominated this period were Slim Harpo, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Sonny Boy Williamson and John Lee Hooker. In addition, it was the blues artists of the ’60s that influenced the next wave of blues that included Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Robert Cray and Taj Mahal.

Jazz Guitarist George Turner

George Turner’s jazz guitar playing offers up mellifluous round tones, influenced by the masters of the archtop jazz guitar such as Wes Montgomery, George Benson, and Grant Green. In Turner’s hands, these influences, as well as his own deep musical sensibilities, are woven together to produce a rich personal sound.

Turner honed his skills as a jazz guitarist while he was a student at Virginia Tech, as a member of the Virginia Tech Jazz Orchestra under the direction of legendary jazz violinist Joe Kennedy. In the late 80’s Turner studied with nationally known jazz guitar master Paul Bollenback, who was teaching and performing in the Washington D.C. area at that time.
Turner then joined the University of Virginia Jazz Ensemble under the direction of trumpeter John D’earth and had the opportunity to play with legendary jazz drummer Bob Moses. These early experience gave Turner a strong foundation in jazz performance and helped develop his compositional style. In the mid 90’s Turner gigged, composed, and taught the guitar in the Washington D.C area. During those years, Turner played with many well known Washington D.C. jazz musicians including pianist and organist Greg Lamont, and pianist Lawrence Wheatley.

John Coltrane: Will there be another like him?

John Coltrane – One of the greatest

Some people ask if there will ever be another like him. The answer is no. The answer is no with Miles Davis. The answer is no with Herbie Hancock. and his music is still alive though John passed away in 1967.

People just don’t have the kind of passion about jazz that Coltrane had. He came from a different time and era where the music spoke volumes. People play around with jazz right now, but more of the jazz music that is out there is secular.
There aren’t any bands like the band that Coltrane had. No one is doing the 8-minute drum solo. No one is playing the trumpet with a madman-type of fury that made the jazz come alive. Only Coltrane had that in him. He could do this with great ease.

Keb-mo – a legend in the making

The Texas Bedford Blues Festival took place over the Labor Day weekend a few years ago. The music portion is part of the overall Bedford Blues & BBQ Festival. One of the leading acts was Keb Mo and take a look at his 2017 video where he plays together with Taj Mahal:

On Saturday, acts included Gibson Road Band, Jimmy Lee Reeves Band, website, Cole Dillow, and Alan Fry on the second stage; with Rastus, Southside Blues Kings, Kayla Reeves & Wes Jeans, Ana Popovic, and headliner Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band on the main stage.
Sunday’s acts included Jimmy James Arnold, White Hot Soul, Sweet Jones, and Texas Cotton Kings on the second stage; with Rusty Burns & Big Wampum, Guitar Shorty, Buddy Whittingham, CJ Chenier & the Red Hot Louisiana Band, and headliner Keb Mo on the main stage.