Music lovers around the world are celebrating 60 years of bossa nova with theme concerts, discussions and classes. For American listeners, the genre was the entry drug leading to the Brazilian music craze and lifelong addiction to music from the Southern Hemisphere, with its engaging melodies and compelling rhythms.
New York based trumpeter and vocalist Nico Sarbanes returns to his Baltimore stomping grounds to join Brazilian saxophonist and composer Michel Nirenberg, with internationally known bassist Michael Pope, New Orleans-based Brazilian guitarist Geovane Santos and drummer Julian Berkowitz, who shares their Brazilian heritage. The program is a special Jazz Beyond Borders presentation for An die Musik Live!
The band will revisit classic bossa nova tunes, showing the genre’s roots in the samba, and then treat listeners to some other unique and enduring styles of Brazilian instrumental music. The audience will delight in classic songs such as Jobim’s” Wave,” and “How Insensitive” composed by Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes. Tunes penned by Michel Nirenberg will allow the band to weave a variety of Brazilian styles into the program. His song “Faith” brings out three different musical styles: baião (a traditional rhythm from the Northeast), partido alto (a type of samba), and maracatu, gracefully moving the program in the direction of cultural diversity.
Nico Sarbanes is a jazz vocalist, trumpeter, and composer residing in New York City. This up-and-coming artist combines virtuosic technique on trumpet with an impressive command of vocal repertoire. He has performed and recorded with some of today's greatest jazz players, including Antonio Hart, Cyrus Chestnut, Warren Wolf, Winard Harper, Mark Gross and Tim Green. His compositions draw from jazz and classical influences, as well as the klezmer music of his Jewish heritage. Sarbanes holds a BM from the esteemed Schulich School of Music at McGill University in Montreal. He has twice appeared at the Festival International de Montreal and at many venues throughout the Mid-Atlantic in the U.S.
Bassist and composer Michael Pope, a veteran of many international tours and recording with some of the greatest names in jazz, won accolades for his third release, Cold Truth, Warm Heart. The Ottawa Citizen praised his “jaw-dropping exuberance and precision.” The 2014 album showed him to be a visionary composer, arranger and bandleader. The virtuoso acoustic and electric bassist has worked extensively with Chick Corea, David Sanborn, Al DiMeola, Bill Bruford, Joe Locke, and Eldar Djangirov.
Brazilian saxophonist and composer Michel Nirenberg is a rising star on two continents. His 2015 debut album, Portrait, a blend of Brazilian and American jazz styles, met with critical and popular acclaim. Said venerated critic Raul da Gama of Latin Jazz Network, “Here is a player who uses virtuosity not for self-aggrandizement but to glorify the music.” Nirenberg’s two prior tours of the U.S. introduced a wide variety of Brazilian musical styles to North American listeners in sold-out shows that often ended in standing ovations. On his third U.S. tour, he is eager to share his country’s rich cultural heritage with stunning new compositions such as “Faith,” “O Trem,” and a masterpiece, “Nirenberg in the Shtetl,” that fuses traditional Jewish musical styles with Brazilian and American jazz.
Brazilian guitarist, vocalist and composer Geovane Santos first advanced his musical education at institutions in Mexico and Brazil. During a 2012 visit to New Orleans, he met master guitarist Carl LeBlanc and was influenced to transition from the flat pick gypsy jazz to a modern jazz fingerstyle technique played on electric guitar. A passion for jazz brought Santos back to New Orleans in 2015 to pursue a master’s degree at University of New Orleans, and he was awarded the 2017 Louis Armstrong Jazz Composition Award through the ASCAP Foundation. He now plays seven-string guitar. Bringing Brazilian music to U.S. audiences, he concentrates on bossa nova and MPB (Musica Popular Brasileira) repertoires. His arrangements incorporate New Orleans funk, West African rhythms and Caribbean beats.
Drummer Julian Berkowitz is half Brazilian on his mother’s side. At George Washington University, he studied with leading Brazilian drummer Aljejandro Lucini, graduating in 2017 with a double major in political science and sociology and a minor in music. The young drummer has gigged with many of DC’s top jazz musicians. He played much of the Nirenberg repertoire during a 2017 tour and rejoins him in 2018.
Tickets: $20 in advance/$23 at door/$10 full-time students with ID