Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Harvey Wainapel's fabulous "Amigos Brasileiros" project Comes to Seattle

Harvey Wainapel
CD Artwork by Menote Cordeiro

Harvey Weinapel - Composer, Reeds Player, Brazilan and American Jazz
Premiering live the pieces from his new CD " Amigos Brasileiros Vol 2".
In Seattle at the Royal Room, Tuesday Oct 7 8pm appearing with special guests the Jovinos Santos Neto Quarteto.
website http://www.harvjazz.com CDs can be purchased through the website

Harvey Wainapel is a highy accomplished reeds player and composer originally trained in American jazz and who has developed a lifelong passion for Brazilian music. He made the choice to seriously study music by enrolling, in the year 1971, in the Berklee College of music in Boston, which at that time was one of the first collegiate-level jazz schools. The early 70's were an exciting time for jazz, as it was bursting at the seams with all kinds of new explorations. He began playing with the top artists of the day, and he hasn't looked back. He refers to himself as a "late bloomer", but to be honest, he has had what anyone who keeps up with the music would regard a stellar career - at least by jazz standards these days. Although he's not (yet) a household name, he regularly travels the world not only performing with the greatest artists, but commanding such a level of respect that he can call the top artists to be contributors to his own project. This is exactly what his current music project is - called " Amigos Brasileiros". Now on vol 2, it's Harvey calling his many Brazilian musical friends to collaborate on nine gorgeous tunes, each one with a story of how the song came to be in the accompanying booklet.

The CD Amigos Brasileiros Vol 2 is a continuation of Harvey's exploration of the rhythms and musical traditions of Brazil. He has a vision to continue the work of this very organically-grown music project. The whole process is unusual for a CD. Rather than thinking "I want to make a CD, I'll compose some songs, call the guys to the studio and bang it out" - the usual process -  Amigos Brasileiros is actually a "by-product" in the sense that the recordings spring out of musical friendships and trips to Brazil to connect with his musical friends. This gives the CD, and indeed the shows themselves a rich feeling that the listener is participating in a kind of musical community, not just listening to the compositions. But don't worry, these strong compositions do indeed stand totally on their own. 

It's an ambitious project. The songs are recorded in 4 different studios in Brazil, and one in the USA. Each piece has a different lineup of musicians reflecting the diverse locations (although a few of the musicians do appear on more than one piece).  The musicians are all highly respected, and in some cases, famous beyond the universe of Brazilian jazz fans as well.  Which is to say, there's a consistent standard of top notch performances on  Amigos Brasileiros.

The artwork, by Brazilian artist Menote Cordeiro is also very engaging, and true to the spirit of Brazilian music, colorful and fun. Getting good, original artwork onto a CD in a way that makes you want to look at the artwork on its own, is an accomplishment in itself. The CD contains a no-less than 8-page booklet (printed both front and back for 16 total pages of content) and four full pages are devoted completely to original artwork, plus inset pieces on other pages.

Two full pages are devoted to 22 photos of all the participating musicians, from solo shots to duets, small ensembles and a small Brazilian orchestra. There are over forty musicians on this CD (a dozen from the Orquestra Retratos do Nordeste, of Recife, led by professor/composer/mandolinist Marco Cesar). Of course, I cannot possibly list them all here (and still keep your attention), which is a shame, because Harvey performs with some of Brazil's greatest known (and unknown) talent.

In Seattle at the Royal Room, Harvey will be playing with the fabulous group of Jovino Santos Neto, the world-famous pianist and educator at Cornish School of Music. Harvey has a 10-year long musical friendship with Jovino, and many Brazilian jazz fans in Seattle have had the pleasure of seeing Harvey perform on numerous occasions with Jovino in the past few years. All in all, it's shaping up to be a great re-union of the two maestros for the Seattle premiere of Harvey's new material.
Harvey Wainapel and Jovino Santos Neto

Anyway, let's hear from Harvey! He graciously took the time out of his crazy performance schedule to reply to a few questions.

This CD is a very ambitious project - it involves connecting, rehearsing  and recording with many different musicians in several different locations on two continents - how did you pull the project together - what obstacles did you face in creating this work?
--The process was very exciting, actually;  the fact that I had no deadline really helped! (Vol 2 took about 6 years to complete.) Each song that I recorded became a part of the bigger picture, that is, my desire to showcase a wide variety of rhythms and styles, so as the tracks started accumulating, at a certain point I knew, for example "no more choros on this album."

Although obviously grounded in American jazz and classical, you have devoted a large chunk of your life to the music and styles of Brazil. What brought that about - in other words, how is it that you came to love the music of Brazil so much? What experiences launched you down this path?
--This happened almost by chance, many years ago when I first moved to NYC (late 70's). I joined a 6-horn Brazilian group that played once a week, with some really fantastic players, such as trumpeter Claudio Roditi and drummer Duduka da Fonseca. Although I had already been exposed to the music of Airto & Flora from their stint in Chick Cora's group, actually playing the music every week really sealed the deal for me! And like most people, once you get bitten by that "mosquito," you don't recover (nor do you want to!). Many years later I was thrilled to tour internationally with Airto & Flora, as their "part time saxophonist!" Just played last week with Airto & "Eyedentity" at Yoshi's in Oakland CA.

What's the plan from here on out? Touring? More recording? What is your vision for where you'd like to take this music?
--Well, as you know, I'm on tour right now in your neighborhood, showcasing the new CD, with the help of my dear old friends the Jovino Santos Neto Quarteto  (I was a member of the Quinteto for more than a decade; I miss playing and hanging with these great players, we are going to have a LOT of fun!!) Shortly after I return to California, I'm heading back to Brazil for 6 weeks. I'll be playing a fair amount, but if I have time I might start to work on "Volume 3!" I already have some ideas....and I do hope to be able to present concerts in other parts of the USA, the CDs are really about spreading the word about some of the great talents living in Brazil who don't get the media attention they deserve...Besides all that, I hope to continue with my jazz work, I'll never abandon that -- I've got two lovers, man!

How can readers/ listeners find you and your music - what stores, where online, how to keep up with your performance schedule? What are the next concerts you'd like us to know about?
-- The best bet for all of that is www.harvjazz.com ...all my CDs are for sale there (via CD Baby, which by far gives artists the best treatment financially) and I will try to keep the gig listings up to date. There are also a lot of really fun sound & video clips there of stuff I've been lucky enough to do over the years...

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