Toward the end of the 19th century, looking toward the 20th century, two genres were born. One formed in Rio de Janeiro Brazil, the other in New Orleans. Sprouting on the same ground – a unique blend of European polka, Schottish and Mazurca together with African music rhythm and melody – two genres are born: choro and jazz. Upon first listen of modern choro and contemporary jazz their similar origin stories may be difficult to digest.
For saxophonist Samuel Pompeo, this correlation was incredibly intriguing. “Que Descaída” Pompeo’s debut album out now, is the result of a two-year intensive study on choro and jazz. During this period, Pompeo immersed himself in research pertaining particularly to the origin and development of the two styles and how they relate to each other. “Although choro has incorporated some of the elements in jazz, it kept a more reserved position and remains connected to its origins to the present time, while jazz traveled from ragtime to free jazz experimentation and beyond,” says Pompeo.
Throughout his research a curiosity built: what would choro sonority be like now if it had taken some stylistic development path similar to jazz? How would contemporary choro sound? These questions and more are tackled on Que Descaída. Pompeo hopes listeners will be able to identify attributes – either rhythmic or harmonic – that are widespread in the contemporary jazz scene in classic choro numbers.
This unique experimentation includes the traditional choro “Apanhei-te Cavaquinho” by Ernesto Nazareth, which is reimagined with jazz oriented rhythm, harmony and improvisations and “Cave du 38Riv”, a samba written by Pompeo which combines choro’s horizontal melody lines and modal and tonal harmony with 1960’s and 1970’s jazz infusions.
Samuel Pompeo, along with his quintet, is highly regarded in the Brazilian music scene. He has performed with the Soundscape Big Band, Banda Mantiqueira and Banda Savana. Joining Pompeo is Dino Barioni- a guitarist who has mastered the art of choro of jazz playing; drummer Paulinho Vicente, who is co-founder of Retete Big Band Jazz and has accompanied prestigious musicians and groups, such as Michel Leme, Ana Cañas and Ary Holland; and pianist Fábio Leandro who is known for his diverse musical language that blends traditional Brazilian music rhythms with the classical and instrumental music. Also joining is bassist Gibson Freitas who is one of the most promising musicians of his generation and plays a significant part in São Paulo’s instrumental music scene.
“With guitarist Dino Barioni, pianist Fabio Landro and bassist Gibson Freitas, Pompeo has invented an amalgam of sound that heralds his debut album with alarming intensity.” Read the full feature here.
DEE DEE MCNEIL
MUSICAL MEMOIRS'S BLOG
"The concept of this recording seems to be relating the two musical forms, (Choro and jazz) to create a conceptual album that embraces both African American jazz roots and Brazilian roots. The flowering offspring is both artistic and innovative." Read the full feature here.