Maurício de Souza's new album, "Different Directions" (Pulsa Music, 2013), is available at CD Baby, most online stores, and live performances.
Different Directions is a collection of ten Jazz and Brazilian Jazz tunes, covering a wide range of styles (as the tittle suggests). Each track is exciting, unique, and sophisticated. Trio, quartets and quintets are featured with various instrumentations. Bossa Brasil® and Maurício de Souza Group once more unite to feature the music of Tom Jobim, Chick Corea, Edu Lobo, Bill Evans, Ney Rosauro, Dizzy Gillespie, Maurício de Souza, Sharel Cassity, and Luiz Eça.
The musicians on the album are: Maurício de Souza (drums), Mike Stern (guitar), Sharel Cassity (alto, soprano, and tenor saxes, flute), Gregory Gisbert (trumpet/flugelhorn), Marc Copland, Miho Nobuzane, and Ben Winkelman (piano), Jerry Weir (vibes), John Lee and Gary Mazzaroppi (electric and acoustic bass respectively).
OFFICIAL CD RELEASE PARTY at BLUE NOTE (NY).
Saturday, November 16th 2013 as part of the Late Night Groove Series. 12:30-2am (after second set on Saturday night). 131 W 3rd St., New York, NY. 212-475-8592.
All About Jazz Review by C. Maichael Bailey ("Jazz Quanta: February"). (February 2014).
All About Jazz Review by Alain Londes. (January 2014).
Hot House Jazz Magazine Cover and Review (page 10) by George Kunzler. (January 2014).
The New York City Jazz Record Review by Marcia Hillman. (November 2013)
Jazz Week. (October 2013)
"de Souza has put together a tasty CD, proving he
and his band can swing as well as they can samba." Marcia Hillman, The New York City Jazz Record.
"Los arreglos de de Souza crean una atmosfera muy agradable de jazz brasilero."
Luis Raúl Montell, Jazz Caribe.
1. Ponteio (Edu Lobo): Maurício de Souza (drums), Marc Copland (piano), Jerry Weir (vibes), Gary Mazzaroppi (bass).
2. Vivo Sonhando (Tom Jobim): Maurício de Souza (drums), Mike Stern (guitar), Ben Winkelman (piano), Gary Mazzaroppi (bass).
3. Prelude (Ney Rosauro): Maurício de Souza (drums), Sharel Cassity (alto sax), Jerry Weir (vibes), John Lee (electric bass).
4. Shasha (Maurício de Souza): Maurício de Souza (drums), Sharel Cassity (soprano sax), Ben Winkelman (piano), Gary Mazzaroppi (bass).
5. Lá Vamos Nós (Luiz Eça): Maurício de Souza (drums), Sharel Cassity (alto, soprano, tenor saxes, flute), Greg Gisbert (trumpet/flugelhorn), Miho Nobuzane (piano), Gary Mazzaroppi (bass).
6. Invitation (Webster/Kaper): Maurício de Souza (drums), Mike Stern (guitar), Ben Winkelman (piano), Gary Mazzaroppi (bass).
7. The Acceptance of Resolve (Sharel Cassity): Maurício de Souza (drums), Sharel Cassity (tenor sax), Gregory Gisbert (flugelhorn), Miho Nobuzane (piano), Gary Mazzaroppi (bass).
8. Different Directions (Maurício de Souza): Maurício de Souza (drums), Marc Copland (piano), Gary Mazzaroppi (bass).
9. Con Alma (Dizzy Gillespie): Maurício de Souza (drums), Sharel Cassity (alto sax), Gary Mazzaroppi (bass).
10. Straight Up And Down (Chick Corea): Maurício de Souza (drums), Sharel Cassity (alto sax), John Lee (electric).
Gregory Gisbert: Buddy Rich Big Band, Frank Sinatra, Dizzy Gillespie Alumni Band, Paul Anka, Maria Schneider, Gary Burton, Jimmy Heath Big Band.
Sharel Cassity: Dizzy Gillespie Alumni Band, Diva Jazz Orchestra, Jimmy Heath Big Band, Cyrus Chestnut, Sharel Cassity Quintet.
Mike Stern: Blood, Sweat & Tears, Miles Davis, Jaco Pastorius, Brecker Brothers, Joe Henderson, Mike Stern Band.
Marc Copland: Joe Lovano, James Moody, Wallace Roney, Gary Peacock, Randy Brecker, Dennis Chambers, Marc Copland Trio.
John Lee: Joe Henderson, Max Roach, Toots Thielemans, Gil Evans, McCoy Tyner, Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins.
Gary Mazzaroppi: Lionel Hampton, Les Paul, Joe Morello, Louie Bellson, Herb Ellis, Stan Getz, Jim Hall, Clark Terry.
Miho Nobuzane: Bernard Purdie, Hendrik Meurkens, Portinho, Café, Miho Nobuzane Group.
Ben Winkelman: Julie O'Hara, Ali McGregor, Diego Gerrero, Ben Winkelman Group.
The Making of "Different Directions" by Maurício de Souza
Thank you for taking the time to read my notes on the making of my new album, "Different Directions". It is with great pleasure that I once more sit down to remember and write about being in the studio recording with my groups. At this point it's only been a few months so it is relatively easy to bring back the memories and the joy I felt during that week in March (2013). I began working on the album in September of 2012 (selecting tunes, writing tunes and arrangements...) and should finish all the post recording work (mixing, mastering, print and radio promotion...) by the fall of 2013. In other words, making an album is a relatively long process.
Like in my previous album ("Here. There..."), the title of the album and the name of the title track are the same but have different meanings. I don't mean to be confusing, just amusing. In this case, the tune came first. In "Different Directions" (the tune), I try to reflect musically the frustrated love experiences of my life, when, sadly, people go in different directions. When I began writing the tune, I was just getting over one of these frustrations and I seized the opportunity. I'm glad I did because I feel I was really able to capture (musically) the feelings I was coping with at the time.
As an album title, "Different Directions" refers to the variety of styles covered in the ten tracks. We go from a fast Baião, to a smooth Bossa Nova, to a slow Bossa Nova, to a medium Baião, to a stylish Maracatú, to a 12/8 Latin/Straight Ahead arrangement, to a floating Jazz Waltz, to a deep Jazz Ballad, to a challenging 5/4 arrangement, to an up (and running) tempo Jazz burner.
Track 1: Ponteio by Edu Lobo.
Being a former Jazz and Brazilian Jazz bass player, my dad has a great collection of albums, a profound knowledge of the music, and terrific suggestions for tunes. He suggested this tune as well as "Lá Vamos Nós" (being one of the producers in the album has its advantages: people will listen to you). As an arranger, I thought this would be a great opportunity to blend the beautiful sustain and rhythmic capabilities of both the piano and the vibraphone. Marc and Jerry worked extremely well together, I was having a ball just listening to the two of them interact during the recording. Marc had the great idea of having Gary take the first solo (his playing and his bass sound so good!). Jerry built his solo beautifully and Marc put his signature on his solo when he played this really cool figure across a few bar lines at the beginning of his second chorus. From there his solo really took off! I wasn't really planning on doing a drum feature on this track but Marc contributed with yet another great idea: he suggested I took a short, eight measure solo leading into the melody after the solos. The result is what you hear in the opening 7:15 minutes of the album.
Track 2: Vivo Sonhando by Antônio Carlos Jobim.
When Mike said, "Yes!" to recording with me again, I immediately thought of having him record this tune. I thought his sound and feel would be perfect for the track. Also known as "Dreamer", this tune is normally played at a slow tempo. In my frequent arrangement experimentations, I decided to try and play this tune a bit faster on live performances. I think the opening rhythm (and melody as well) gains life when played at this tempo. Being careful not to turn a dream into a nightmare, we made sure to maintain the tune's dreamy quality. Mike's lyrical playing and smooth, singing sound really brought out the mood for this track. Ben played a beautiful solo and Mike and I had a lot of fun trading ideas on the vamp at the end of the track.
Track 3: Prelude (from "Prelude and Blues") by Ney Rosauro.
I had the immense pleasure of studying with Ney Rosauro during a summer course in my hometown (Brasília) in Brazil back in 1996. I became a huge fan of his percussion compositions. When I was choosing compositions for my percussion/drum set recital in college, I chose to play his Prelude for vibraphone. A few years later, when I was choosing new tunes for the group, I chose to play his Prelude as a slow Bossa and feature my fellow percussionist in the group, Mr. Weir. And, to add to the arrangement, I decided to add the alto sax and make it a quartet. When I was choosing musicians for the track, the addition of Sharel's melodic playing and John's unique sound came to mind instantly. I absolutely love the sound of this quartet combination. Sharel's solo nearly brings tears to my eyes. Jerry and John display great lyricism in their solos.
Track 4: Shasha by Maurício de Souza.
I began playing with Sharel Cassity in February of 2012. In this short time, not only her playing but also her compositions have contributed greatly to the evolution of the group. After hearing her tune "Kisor the Despisor", I began working on Shasha (that same night). The composition and the title came to me almost at the same time. Nicknames for my friends are always popping up in my head and "Shasha" popped up as I sat down and began thinking of the tune I was about to write. Since I was going to dedicate the tune to a fellow (outstanding) musician, I really focused on doing my best. In Shasha, the goal was to combine different ideas inspired by different sources while keeping Sharel's playing in mind. Some of the other inspirational sources were Beethoven (from when the sax comes in until the end of the piano interlude), Jobim (rhythmic figure used to separate musical ideas and sections), Pascoal (the tune is eccentric after all...), and Gismonti (fast melodic lines before the solo section and at the end of the tune). Sharel, Ben and Gary did a phenomenal job, it is a huge joy to hear my music played so well.
Track 5: Lá Vamos Nós by Luiz Eça.
As I mentioned previously, my dad/co-producer suggested this great tune and now we have a stylish Maracatú in our repertoire. Writing the arrangement for this tune was a lot of work but also a lot of fun. The fact that Sharel was enthusiastic about recording four instruments gave me plenty of room to be creative. Greg sounds great on both trumpet and flugelhorn, his solos are perfect. Sharel easily plays through most of the saxophone family and flute like they're all the same instrument. Trading ideas with Miho on top of this intricate bass line was challenging but a lot of fun. Gary was the anchor for the entire tune (he had a big ship to anchor).
Track 6: Invitation by Webster/Kaper.
It was such a pleasure to be in the studio with one of my favorite guitarists, Mike Stern, for a second time. I'm already looking forward to the third, fourth, fifth... times. Interesting fact about this track: I decided to play some figures just on the cymbals for the intro and switch to the 12/8 Latin rhythm at the beginning of the melody. But, on this take, I ended up staying on the cymbals until the bridge, which ended up being a really nice, unexpected change of events in the arrangement. Initially, I wanted to trade eights with Mike and Ben on this tune but Mike suggested I played a drum solo over the group figure (good man!). Like in "Here. There...", I had to adapt to a new idea overnight (literally), which was, once more, a great experience. Mike's and Ben's solos are killin'! Gary came up with the coolest bass line for this tune, which from the very beginning invites us (and the listeners) in.
Track 7: The Acceptance of Resolve by Sharel Cassity.
It is always a pleasure to play Sharel's tunes and I was really excited about recording her music. This peaceful, floating Jazz waltz is a perfect addition to the album. It provided yet another unique musical direction to the tracks. In it, Sharel displays her outstanding talents both as a composer and as a multi-instrumentalist. The expressive melody is well complimented by a crafty counter-melody beautifully played by Greg. Gary starts off the track, setting up the mood. In the solo section, which transitions to a groovy 9/8 for each chorus, Sharel rips it up on tenor sax, Greg plays his heart out on flugelhorn, and Miho blazes through the piano keys. In the shout chorus, the music appropriately gains intensity and reaches a new level of development and expression.
Tack 8: Different Directions by Maurício de Souza.
I always wanted to write a Jazz Ballad in a minor key. As I mentioned above, this tune is a musical reflection of frustrated love experiences. The unaccompanied opening melody represents how lonely life can be at times. The minor key for the A sections is, obviously, the sad emotions. The major quality of the bridge represents hope, the happy emotions that come from believing things will turn out ok. I decided to sustain this idea for a measure into the last A section (which is a half-step lower than the first A) before going back to the minor mood to represent the idea that hope dies hard. When I began writing this tune, Marc Copland's style of playing came to mind right away. His incredible and musical experimentations with dissonance seemed to really fit the music I was writing. I had the immense pleasure of meeting Marc in 2010 by coincidence while parking to go hear him play in New York. When he agreed to record a couple of tunes for the album, I sent the chart to him right away. It was a double pleasure to be in the studio with one of my favorite Jazz pianists and also record my tune with one of my favorite Jazz pianists. In this tune, I used the chords more for texture and color than for traditional function (pretty much what I did in Shasha as well). After going through the tune a couple of times, I remember Gary saying, "It certainly makes a lot more sense now that Marc has played it". Gary played beautifully well. We recorded this tune with almost no isolation: piano and bass were in the same room (with no panels between instruments) and I opened the door to the drum booth halfway.
Track 9: Con Alma by Dizzy Gillespie.
This track is dedicated to my drum mentor and friend Joe Morello. Even after 166 (or so...) lessons, there was always something new to learn from him. Luckily, I also had countless chances to spend time with him, talking over dinner, lunch, a sandwich... The stories he told were life lessons. It was always very inspiring to hear him play live. His drum solos (especially the ones in 5) were incredible. When choosing tunes for the album, I decided to stick to the odd meter tradition and record this great Gillespie tune in the challenging 5/4 meter. Ben always plays extremely well in 5. Gary played with Morello for over thirty years so this was another walk in the park for him. Sharel sounds great, I really like her interpretation of the tune in this different light. Sharel's and Ben's trading of short ideas at the end of the tune is dazzling. My playing in this tune is my homage to Morello's outstanding contributions to Jazz drumming.
Track 10: Straight Up And Down by Chick Corea.
As always, it was a great pleasure to record Corea's music. This tune in particular was very challenging due to all its transitions and off-beat accents. John provided this bigger than life bass foundation for the tune (it was so strong it was making my entire car shake in the first mix we did). Sharel's playing is equally strong, making the walls shake. The result is a very energetic 4:14 minutes of music. Jerry plays a great vibes solo, almost melting the bars on his vibes. I had a blast trading eights with him and Sharel. And, since history tends to repeat itself, we were once more pressed with time to record this track (like when we recorded "Firm Roots" in "Here. There..."). In hindsight, it was a good thing, it made us play it faster!