João Gilberto Prado Pereira de Oliveira was born on June 10, 1931 in Juazeiro, Bahia, Brazil. From an early age, music was a part of his life with his grandfather buying him his first guitar at the age of 14. During high school he teamed up with some of his classmates to form a small band and was influenced by Brazilian popular songs, American jazz, and even some opera, among other genres. After trying his luck as a radio singer in Salvador, Bahia he was recruited in 1950 as lead singer of the vocal quintet Garotos da Lua (Moon Boys) and moved to Rio de Janeiro. A year and a half later, he was dismissed from the group for his lack of discipline, showing up late to rehearsals or not at all.
João Gilberto’s first recordings were released in Brazil as two-song 78-rpm singles between 1951 and 1959. In the 1960s, Brazilian singles evolved to the “double compact” format, and João would release some EPs in this new format, which carried 4 songs on a 45-rpm record. For seven years, Gilberto’s career was at a low ebb. He rarely had any work, was dependent on his friends for living quarters, and fell into chronic depression. Eventually, in 1955 he was rescued from this rut by Luiz Telles, leader of the vocal group Quitandinha Serenaders, where he blossomed musically. His first bossa nova song was Bim-Bom, written as Gilberto watched passing laundresses on the banks of the Sao Francisco River balance loads of clothes on their heads.
This style, which Gilberto introduced in 1957, created a sensation in the musical circles of Rio’s Zona Sul, and many young guitarists sought to imitate it. It was first heard on record in 1958 in a recording of Chega de Saudade, a song by Jobim and Vinicius de Morais. With this success launching his career and the bossa nova craze, João featured new songs by a younger generation of performer/composers such as Carlos Lyra and Roberto Menescal on two more albums. By 1962, bossa nova had been embraced by North American jazz musicians such as Herbie Mann, Charlie Byrd, and Stan Getz, who invited Gilberto and Jobim to collaborate on what became one of the best-selling jazz albums of all time, Getz/Gilberto. Through this album, Gilberto’s then wife Astrud—who had never sung professionally prior to this recording session became an international star, and the Jobim/de Moraes composition The Girl from Ipanema became a worldwide pop music standard.
Gilberto went on to work with Claus Ogerman, Clare Fischer, Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil and Maria Bethânia among other collaborations. He won a Grammy Award for Best World Music Album in 2000 for his album João Voz E Violão. Singer, guitarist and composer João Gilberto continues to perform, record and composer.
Larry Goldings was born August 28, 1968 in Boston, Massachusetts and studied classical piano until the age of twelve. While in high school at Concord Academy his primary influences were Erroll Garner, Oscar Peterson, Dave McKenna, Red Garland and Bill Evans. As a young teenager, Larry studied privately with Ran Blake and Keith Jarrett.
Goldings moved to New York in 1986 to attend a newly formed jazz program under the leadership of Arnie Lawrence at The New School. During college he studied piano with Jaki Byard and Fred Hersch. While still a freshman, Sir Roland Hanna invited him to accompany him to a three-day private jazz party in Copenhagen. While there, he met Sarah Vaughan, Kenny Biurrell, Tommy Flanagan and Hank Jones and had the opportunity to play in the band with Vaughan, Harry Sweets Edison and Al Cohn.
As a college student, Larry embarked on a worldwide tour with Jon Hendricks, working with him for a year. A collaboration lasting almost three years with guitarist Jim Hall followed. By 1988 he began developing his organ chops and secured a regular gig at Augie’s Jazz Bar, now Smoke on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. He was featured with several bands, and his own trio with guitarist Peter Bernstein and drummer Bill Stewart got its start there.
His first release was Intimacy Of The Blues in 1991 followed by sixteen more albums as a leader and has appeared as a sideman on hundreds of recordings. Over the course of his career, Goldings distinctive keyboard sound has been sought out more and more by pop, R&B, Brazilian, and alternative artists, such as, Madeleine Peyroux, John Scofield, Carla Bley, Michael Brecker, De La Soul, India Arie, Tracy Chapman, Pat Metheny, Dave Grusin, Norah Jones, John Mayer, Sia, John Pizzarelli, Steve Gadd, Rickie Lee Jones, Jack DeJohnette, Luciana Souza, and the list goes on and on.
In 2007, Larry, DeJohnnette and Scofield captured a Grammy nomination for Best Jazz Instrumental Album Individual or Group for their live album, Trio Beyond – Saudades. He has been twice awarded Best Organist/Keyboardist of the Year by the Jazz Journalists Association, and twice Best Jazz Album for Awareness and Big Stuff by the New Yorker Magazine.
As a composer his music has been used in the films Space Cowboys, Proof and Funny People. Brecker, Scofield, DeJohnette, Hall, Sia, Toots Thielemans, Curtis Stigers, James Taylor and Jane Monheit among others have recorded his compositions. Organist and keyboardist Larry Goldings continues to perform, record, tour and compose.
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Léonardo Gandelman was born Leonardo Gandelman on August 10, 1956, in Rio de Janiero, Brazil. He spent his childhood studying classical music and by age sixteen he was a soloist with the Brazil Symphony Orchestra. He furthered his studies on saxophone, composition and arrangements at Berklee College of Music.
Returning home in 1979 he began his professional career combining Brazilian rhythms and jazz. Eight years later he launched his solo career and to date has participated in over 800 recordings.
Leo has played with Luis Santos, guest appeared in Titas’ single Telecisao and is famous for composing Brazilian telenovelas, films and series soundtracks. He has performed at Lincoln Center and festivals such as Hollywood Rock and the Montreux Festival. The Jornal do Brasil has voted him the most popular instrumental artists 15 consecutive years.
Composer, arranger and saxophonist Leo Gandelman has performed with Caetano Veloso, Chico Buarque, Milton Nascimento, Luiz Melodia, Leny Adrade, Ney Matogrosso, Joel Nascimento and Leila Pinheiro as well as with the Bahia Symphony Orchestra, the Ribeirai Preto Symphony Orchestra and the Young Orchestra of Caracas. He continues to perform, record and tour.
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Don Ellis was born on July 25, 1934 in Los Angeles, California and started playing th trumpet in his youth. After a move to Minneapolis, Minnesota attended West High School. Upon hearing the Tommy Dorsey Big Band he became interested in jazz as well as being inspired by Louis Armstrong and Dizzy Gillespie. He went on to receive a music composition degree from Boston University.
Ellis’ first job was with the Glenn Miller Band until his enlistment in the U.S. Army Symphony Orchestra and the Soldier’s Show Company. Transferred to Germany he met Cedar Walton, Eddie Harris and Don Menza and got his first opportunity to compose and arrange for a big band. Two years later he was in New York City playing in dance hall bands, toured with Charlie Barnet and by ’59 was in Maynard Ferguson’s band.
Becoming involved in the avant-garde jazz scene he appeared on albums by Charles Mingus, Eric Dolphy and George Russell, staying with the latter for two years. Ellis led several sessions with small groups between 1960 and 1962 that featured Jaki Byard, Paul Bley, Gary Peacock, Ron Carter, Charlie Persip and Steve Swallow among others. He would go on to tour Poland, Germany and Sweden, return to New York, form the Improvisational Workshop Orchestra, studied ethnomusicology, Indian music, be involved with several Third Stream Projects and teach at SUNY Buffalo for a year. He delved into electronic music in the late Sixties on Columbia Records with Electric Bath and garnered a Grammy nomination and a Down Beat Album of the Year Award.
Don’s popularity among educators was also climbing and copies of his band’s charts were being published and played by many high school and college big bands. Accordingly, he taught many clinics and played with many school bands. He composed the music for the film The French Connection, winning Grammy for Best Instrumental Arrangement and later composed music for the film The Seven-Ups.
He became interested in Brazilian music and created the Organic Band utilizing a vocal quartet and indigenous musicians. He would continue performing and touring well into the Seventies and his last known public performance took place on April 21, 1978, at the Westside Room in Century City. After this date, his doctor ordered him to refrain from touring and playing trumpet because it was too stressful on his heart. On December 17, 1978, after seeing a Jon Hendricks concert, trumpeter, composer, arranger, bandleader and educator Don Ellis suffered a fatal heart attack at his North Hollywood home where his parents were staying with him. He was 44.
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Bola Sete was born Djalma de Andrade on July 16, 1923 in Rio de Janiero, Brazil. His name translates to Seven Ball and in Brazilian billiards the seven ball is the black ball on the table. He got this nickname when he was the only black member of a small jazz group. He studied guitar at the Conservatory of Rio and started performing with his own sextet and local samba groups while he was still a student. His early influences were guitarists Django Reinhardt, Charlie Christian, Barney Kessell and Oscar Moore, as well as the big band sounds of Dizzy Gillespie, Tommy Dorsey and Woody Herman that toured South America.
His career began in 1952 playing various clubs and hotels around Italy for four years. Then returning to Brazil while touring South America he was spotted by the manager of the Sheraton hotels who brought him to the States to play in New York’s Park Sheraton and San Francisco’s Sheraton Palace. Dizzy Gillespie was staying there at the time and listening to Bola Sete playing every day. When Gillespie decided to bring his pianist Lalo Schifrin to the hotel, he discovered that Lalo and Bola had already met and played together in Argentina. This meeting was the beginning of Bola’s success in the US. In the fall of 1962, Gillespie took the guitarist to the 9th Annual Monterey Jazz Festival. Enjoying huge success he toured for a while with Gillespie then returned to San Francisco and joined the Vince Guaraldi Trio.
Bola was already well known in the US, and his partnership with Guaraldi yielded several well-received recordings. After staying for a couple of years Bola formed his own trio with his fellow Brazilians, bassist Sebastian Neto and drummer Paulinho da Costa. In the 1970s, he became friends with guitarist John Fahey, who had been an admirer of Sete’s. In 1975, Fahey used his Takoma label to release Ocean, which is now seen as one of Sete’s greatest accomplishments.
During the eighties, Sete suffered from lung cancer and though he attempted to counter with yoga and meditation, on February 14, 1987 guitarist Bola Sete passed away at Marin General Hospital in Greenbrae, California from complications caused by pneumonia and cancer.
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