|Two For Brazil performed a major concert in tribute to 50 years of the Bossa Nova
at Millennium Park, Chicago Illinois, on July 24th, 2008. Over 10,000 people came out to hear us with the Joao Donato Trio, setting an attendance record for the jazz series. It was a fantastic night of music. Thank you to our fans!
Above, Two For Brazil performs at the Harissburg, PA Jazz Festival, June 2005
We're proud to display our latest review from our performance at the 2004 Heritage Jazz Festival:
Keeping the beat on firmer ground
Top jazz musicians, fans return to South Shore site for rejuvenated festival
By Howard Reich
Tribune arts critic
Published August 10, 2004
With pianist Ahmad Jamal onstage and a sea of jazz lovers before him, one of Chicago's great cultural events dramatically swung back into action over the weekend. Though the annual jazz festival at the South Shore Cultural Center, 71st Street and the lakefront, long has been a rite of summer on the South Side, recently the event fell on hard times. Without Geraldine de Haas and her non-profit Jazz Unites organization planning it, the festival withered, last year attracting only a tiny audience. But this year de Haas and friends were back in control, which helped explain why the talent was first-rate and the audience numbering in the thousands.
The two-day Jazz Heritage Fest, which started Saturday, reached its peak on Sunday afternoon, when a series of stylistically far-flung attractions had the crowd roaring its approval.
One might have wondered whether Two for Brazil--the soft-spoken Chicago duo staffed by singer-guitarist Paulinho Garcia and tenor saxophonist Greg Fishman--would be heard in a wide-open, outdoor setting. Their music typically is so muted and introspective that it induces clubgoers to lean forward a bit in their seats, the better to savor the nuances of an especially subtle art.
But Garcia and Fishman significantly notched up their intensity and volume levels, projecting to the far reaches of the grounds without sacrificing a whit of the authenticity or sonic sheen of their work. In fact, hearing Two for Brazil swinging hard and fast in music of Dizzy Gillespie and Manfredo Fest, among others, convinced at least one listener that there's much more to this duo than just soft sounds evoking white, sandy beaches. Garcia and Fishman can raise a ruckus, too, and it was rewarding to hear a more extroverted facet of their music.
We're proud to display our latest review from our performance at the Jazz Showcase on February 12th, 2004:
Two for Brazil, Judy Roberts warm up Jazz Showcase
by Howard Reich
February 13 2004
Music devotees everywhere know that the Jazz Showcase routinely presents the foremost touring artists in the business, but every winter the venerable club turns its attention to Chicago-based talent.
For local audiences, the brief switch in policy gives local listeners a chance to reassess players who often are taken for granted. For Chicago musicians, the cold months afford an opportunity to play a nationally noted jazz club without leaving town. This week's all-Chicago lineup at the Showcase stands out, for it's a double-bill featuring artists of considerable skill and rising repute.
Thursday night's opening show, played for a smallish but raptly attentive audience, hardly could have been more deftly programmed for a freezing week in Chicago. The very sound of Greg Fishman's ethereal flute and tenor saxophone work and Paulinho Garcia's warmly insinuating vocals and soft-spoken guitar playing evoked images of white sandy beaches along the coast of South America.
That's precisely what this exceptional duo, which calls itself Two for Brazil, had in mind.
But even beyond its idiomatic performance of music from Garcia's homeland, the duo produced top-flight jazz improvisation that transcended stylistic boundaries.
Consider Garcia and Fishman's intriguing account of Dizzy Gillespie's jazz classic
"A Night in Tunisia."
"Many people take Brazilian music into jazz," Garcia told the audience, by way of introduction. "We take jazz into Brazilian music."
Sure enough, the Gillespie tune instantly conveyed a Brazilian lilt, its nervous rhythms sleekly reimagined, its jagged melody lines redefined according to the contours of Brazilian song. This may not have been a "Tunisia" for purists, but as an experiment in cross-cultural transformation it proved uncommonly persuasive.
This listener would have been content to hear an evening's worth of Two for Brazil, but the beguiling duo was the night's opening foray. For once Garcia left the stage, Fishman was joined by pianist Judy Roberts and the rest of her quartet.
Roberts has been a mainstay of Chicago jazz for more decades than she probably cares to remember, but her uncounted engagements in hotel bars and noisy saloons have tended to obscure the melodic beauty and tonal sheen of her best work. Playing in a room where audiences actually listen, Roberts turned in warmly disarming vocals and slyly understated jazz pianism.
The best moments came in "Billie's Bounce," the Charlie Parker bebop anthem that Roberts and Fishman opened in unison, Roberts' high-register vocals exquisitely in sync with Fishman's fast-moving tenor lines. Though the tempo seemed dangerously fast at first, within a few bars it was clear that Roberts and Fishman (who are married) were articulating these volatile, rhythmically mercurial lines with ease.
Larry Gray's comparably buoyant bass lines and Phil Gratteau's impeccable drum work added significantly to the elan of a quartet that thrives in a mainstream idiom.
Two for Brazil and the Judy Roberts Quartet play through Sunday at the Jazz Showcase, 59 W. Grand Ave.;
Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune
THE NEW CD "TAKE FIVE" IS AVAILABLE NOW! Featuring "A Night In Tunisia," "Take Five," "Batida Diferente," "O Grande Amor," and ten more great Brazilian tunes, all sung in Portuguese! To read more about it, just click on the CD cover above (on the far right)!
Below is the latest review of Two For Brazil's "Take Five." This was published in the June 2003 edition of the magazine, "Jazz Improv."
Two For Brazil
Greg Fishman & Paulinho Garcia
PERSONNEL: Paulinho Garcia, acoustic guitar, vocals; Greg Fishman, tenor saxophone & flute.
By Winthrop Bedford
Two For Brazil is a refreshing and energetic duo that performs a combination of standards, jazz, and Brazilian tunes. What makes the duo so compelling is the compatibility and delightful, danceable interplay between these two consummate musicians--Greg Fishman on tenor sax and flute, and Paulinho Garcia on guitar, bolstered by his authentic renditions of the lyrics to these songs.
The unmistakable influence of Stan Getz in terms of both sound and unwavering allegiance to a musical, lyrical, and melodic approach, with flawless technique are cornerstones of Fishman's style. Indeed, Fishman is regarded as an expert on the music of Stan Getz, whose four books of transcriptions of Getz's solos are published by Hal Leonard Corporation. While Fishman certainly has an abundance of academic credentials-including an undergraduate degree in music from De Paul University and a Masters Degree in Jazz at Northwestern University-it would be not only be presumptuous but a big mistake to characterize Fishman's music, improvisational skills as "academic." Fishman is a sensitive and stellar musician, who has played with Louis Bellson, Clark Terry, Ira Sullivan, Eddie Higgins, and the Woody Herman Band. His own recordings define that quite thoroughlyincluding Indian Summer recorded with pianist Eddie Higgins; In The Moment, a quartet recording led by his wife and pianist Judy Roberts, along with two earlier albums by the duo Two For Brazil the first entitled Two For Brazil, and the latter Plays The Standards.
Guitarist Garcia is a rhythmic dynamo whose harmonic and rhythmic contribution to this duo, make it so that the absence of a bassist doesn't even come to mind. Garcia arrived in the USA in 1979, after a successful stint composing, arranging, producing and performing jingles for a studio in Brazil; and founded his own band Jazzmineiro in 1991 in Chicago.
Take Five is the latest CD by this magnificent duo. The chemistry between Garcia and Fishman is readily apparent from the opening notes of the first tracka lively up-tempo rendition of Gilberto Gil's composition "Meio De Campo." Fishman serves up a masterfully lyrical solo. The interplay and sensitivity between the two is notable in their expression of the melodies. For example, within the background or accompaniment lines he plays on tenor sax, Fishman accents certain apropos syncopations and key points in concert with Garcia's expression of the melody.
The two provide another spirited performance on the well-known jazz standard "A Night In Tunisia' by Dizzy Gillespie. Fishman turns in another finely crafted and emotion-driven solo on this track. Garcia's vocals and vocalizations are an ideal foil for Fishman's tenor.
The two move into a more relaxed mode in their performance of Baden Powell's "Deixa,"which is a familiar melody to those who are familiar with Brazilian music. Garcia, as usual, sings the lyrics in native Portuguese. I felt the relaxed, comfortable interaction the two shared on Paul Desmond's "Take Five," which is in 5/4 time, and taken at an energetic tempo here. Garcia provides rock solid time, and his confidence clearly makes it a cinch for Fishman to sound great. On "Que Maravilha," Fishman switches over to flute, contributing another tastefully improvised solo-both rhythmically and melodically. "Chovendo Na Roseira" is in 3/4, and features a nod to more of a swing groove, than the straight eighth, bossa nova flavor that is what this album is very much about. The last of the fourteen tracks on this album is a spirited version of my favorite tunes "Batida Diferente" which I first heard on the landmark Cannonball Adderley album from 1962, Cannonball Adderley and The Bossa Rio Sextet. Fishman turns in one more fine tenor solo.
I recommend this album highly because it is so very musical from beginning to end, overflowing with Fishman's tasteful tenor sax solos, Garcia's toe-tapping rhythms, inspiring accompaniment, relaxed, solid sense of time, and the variety of grooves and tempos inspired different feelings and emotions throughout.
|Our great fans at Gorton Community Center:
Many thanks to Carolyn and The Gorton Community Center for having Two For Brazil perform on February 9th. We had a great time playing for such a wonderful group of people! Thank you!
----------------------------------------------------- Thanks to all of our great fans who came out to hear us at Elgin College on January 17th & 18th. It was a true honor to perform for such wonderful people. Here's a letter from one of our fans who attended the concert:
Thanks again for bringing your talents and music to Elgin on a cold winter nite. From the very first chord played and vocal from Paulhino, the room is filled with warmth. On top of that, with Greg's incredible phrasing and mastery...it really is a magical experience.
I realize you both have your separate musical agendas and endeavors, in addition to Two for Brazil, but please keep the music coming and keep Two for Brazil moving forward. This is music is a gift and to have the opportunity to listen to it live and recorded cannot be accorded a value in earthly terms.
In sum, to me, Two for Brazil exposes a bit of what is right and wrong with the world.
What is right...obviously the original soulfulness of the music...the beauty with which you have allowed it by your thoughtful and uncluttered arrangements...and the obvious respect you have for each other's musical space.
What is wrong...is that most people do not understand or have a view of music that has been cluttered by the media or other influences...and they will never understand what they have missed in this music.
Sleepy Hollow, IL
Scott, we thank you for your kind words and your continued support!
Greg & Paulinho