Monday, December 14, 2009

Blame It On The Bossa Nova - Lisa

The Englert was nearly full last Saturday with a full menu of great Latin Jazz. I’m a born people watcher…and I have to tell you…when you boast that it’s going to be a Brazilian Night…it brings out the area’s Brazilians in a big way…and that made me even happier.

The best known Brazilian in the house was Rodrigo Ursaia from New York, finishing up a UI residency. He played with Jazz Repertory Ensemble, the Latin Jazz Ensemble and Johnson County Landmark bands. Each band touted some terrific soloists and were supported by faculty players like Jim Dreier and Steve Grismore.

Ursaia gave some interesting histories of the Antonio Carlos Jobim tunes that he had selected for the evening, and some comments on the dynamics of Brazilian life in the 50s

He commented that Jobim was aware of the barrio and what that reality is like. It was all reflected in some complex music and it was a great program. The head of the UI Jazz department, John Rapson gave us some suggestions on artists to seek out to hear more of this great music. He suggested we seek out Rosa Passos, a vocalist who often works with Ursaia.

One thing is for sure…jazz musicians love playing…they love each other…and Ursaia was a wonderful addition to the terrific Latin jazz program at Iowa. I appreciated the faculty praising each other, showing respect and support of one another. What a class act!

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