Thursday, October 29, 2009

Seresta: Brazilian Serenade

There are so many American jazz musicians with a special relationship to the music of Villa-Lobos. Saxophonists like Branford Marsalis and Steve Wilson, have crossed over to the classical side to perform the Fantasia for Saxophone and Orchestra. Others, beginning famously with Gil Evans' version of BB#2 on Miles Davis's Sketches of Spain, have used Villa-Lobos as source material for jazz compositions. An important project from earlier this year was Robert Irving III's Sketches of Brazil. [Both were discussed in my post here, back in July 2009]. One of the most important projects from the past is 2003's Alegria by Wayne Shorter.

Here's another new project with a really strong Villa-Lobos pedigree. Seresta: Brazilian Serenade is designed as an homage to the composer on the 50th anniversary of his death in 1959, as well as to Miles Davis's Sketches of Spain from the same year. The Steve Griggs Ensemble is based in Seattle, and they will perform Griggs' work there on November 19th. The Seresta page on Griggs' website includes MP3 versions of computer renditions of his arrangements. Here's one of my favourites, "Xo Xo Passarinho" from Cirandas:

I'm impressed with what I've heard, but wish I could be at this performance. I hope it makes its way onto disc as well.

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