Born and trained in New York, Cliff Kormanʼs journey began over thirty years ago at the Creative Music Studio’s World Music Institute in Woodstock, where he met the legendary Brazilian clarinetist Paulo Moura. From their friendship and musical partnership a series of concerts and recordings was born: Mood Ingênuo: The Dream of Pixinguinha and Duke Ellington, Rhapsody in Bossa, on the music of Gershwin and Jobim, Gafiera Jazz, a revealing commentary on the history of Brazilian ballroom, and the Gnattali/Monk Project, exploring two of the most influential American pianists of the century.

Since establishing his spiritual and physical home in Brasil Cliff Korman has become one of the most respected North American musicians in the country. Cliff obtained his doctorate at the Manhattan School of Music, where as Coordinator of Brazilian Studies he developed and taught a course in Brazilian Popular Music History and led the Brazilian Jazz Ensemble. He is currently on faculty at the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais in Belo Horizonte, where he is assisting in the implementation of a course in Popular Music Studies, and under the auspices of the Instituto Paulo Moura is music coordinator of the project to digitalize Paulo Moura’s archive.

He has produced and arranged a number of Brazilian Jazz CD’s including Chuck Mangione’s “The Feeling’s Back” ,“Entre Amigos”, a project featuring vocalist Rosa Passos and bassist Ron Carter, and Wendy Luck’s 2006 release “See You In Rio”.

His recording “Migrations” (Planet Arts, 2004) is an aural representation of the mark Brazilian music and culture have made on his compositions and improvisational language.

Cliff also appears on numerous recordings made in Brasil, including the series “Bossa Jazz” which features his arrangements of songs of composer Pacifico Mascarenas , “Samblues” (Juarez Moreira) and “Era Só Começo Nosso Fim” (Yuri Popoff).

Cliff holds a Master of Arts in Jazz Performance from the City College of New York, where he trained with Roland Hanna, Ron Carter and Kenny Barron.

He is co-author of the instructional book “Inside the Brazilian Rhythm Section” (Sher Music 2002). He contributed to the Jazz Times 2005-2006 “Jazz Education Guide” with an article in “Tales from the Practice Room”.


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  1. Cliff
    Saw you with Nelson e um cafe
    Entre Amigos is a wonderful recording, and really helped to change my direction in music. I will look you up when I am in Belo. BTW what years were you at CMS? My brother, Bill was there, trading vegetarian food prep for music/sax instruction. Great experience
    Boa sorte com sua música

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