Over the course of his career as instrumentalist, composer, and arranger, Paulo Moura participated in, contributed to, and initiated some of the most influential movements of Brazilian popular music. His ability to perform at the highest level of proficiency in a wide range of styles and genres demonstrated the flexibility and scope of a professional urban musician; his commitment to creativity, transformation, and improvisation revealed the mind of an innovator, visionary, and master.

In this eulogy, pianist Cliff Korman, one of Moura’s duo partners, considers elements of Moura’s artistic and aesthetic motivation, his commitment to improvisation as an underlying premise of popular music, and the path he forged to eventual mastery. In a look at their last presentation, accompanied by reference to supplementary video clips, Korman offers a descriptive analysis of their approach to preparation and performance and contemplates Moura’s evolving definition of improvisation.

This article appeared in: Critical Studies in Improvisation

Brazilian Improvisations/Improvisações Brasileiras
Jason Stanyek and Alessandra Santos, editors