Roda de Jazz

Cliff Korman

I have been fascinated by the ways in which artists like HelioOiticica played in their work with notions of improvisation and commentary.

Playing: Domingo a Noitecom Café (C.Korman). From “Live in Brasilia”

Over the course of the twenty years Cliff Korman has traveled between New York and Rio de Janeiro, he has developed two points of observation from which he views the intersections and divergences between Jazz and Brazilian Instrumental Music. One goes from Brasil to New York, and the other from New York to Brasil.

The first concerns the unique color, the “tinge” as Jelly Roll Morton put it when referring to Latin (Afro-Caribbean) inflections, with which Brazilian music has infused Jazz in the past four decades. The second considers the way Jazz has become part of the grammar of many contemporary Brazilian musicians.

The two musics, however strongly compatible, are not at all the same. Their dialogue is more profound and understated than the public at large often tends to think and far less obvious that the simple adoption of Brazilian standards among the practitioners of jazz or that of jazz standards and patterns among the Brazilian instrumentalists. Artists like EgbertoGismonti and Wayne Shorter have historically penetrated secrets of the two languages that make their intertwining as unassuming as it is meaningful and powerful. Cliff Korman has long pursued the threads of this subterranean exchange and made it part of his musical language.

The roda originated during Korman’s Fulbright residence in Brasilia and Rio de Janeiro, when he had the opportunity to work closely with many Brazilian instrumentalists, composers and arrangers, and share first hand their use and creative manipulation of the Jazz language. The performance’s format is that of a traditional choro group where the concept of “jam” is paired and replaced with that of “roda”. The show includes Cliff Korman on piano and a selected Brazilian band which will present a Brazilian, Jazz and original repertoire bringing a jazz component to idiomatic and experimental Brazilian forms, rhythms and concepts.

image: Parangolè by HelioOiticica