When people think of Brazilian music, the first thing that comes to mind is bossa nova. But TED FALCON, a jazz violinist, mandolinist and composer, fell in love with a different style of Brazilian music called “choro.” Falcon’s newest album, TÔ CHEGANDO (toh shay-gan-do) (Almost There), comprises 14 original compositions that celebrate the happy, danceable, urban rhythms of choro music.
Falcon plays both violin and mandolin on the album, which was recorded in São Paulo, Brazil, and Los Angeles with different bands. The São Paulo band consists of ZÉ BARBEIRO (guitar), FABRICIO ROSIL (cavaquinho), and LÉO RODRIGUES (pandeiro, percussion). The L.A. musicians are COLIN WALKER (7 string guitar), WESLEY AMORIM (7 string guitar, cavaquinho, gypsy jazz guitar), JOHN LEFTWICH (acoustic bass), ANAT COHEN (clarinet), CLARICE CAST (pandeiro, percussion), BEN REMPEL (pandeiro, percussion), DOUGLAS LORA (7 string guitar), CATHERINE BENT (cello), RUMI INOUE (flute), and FAY ROBERTS (flute).
Falcon is a prolific Los Angeles-based performer and recording artist as well as an educator and author of several Brazilian music books. TÔ CHEGANDO is his 11th album. Falcon has been playing music since he was five years old. His father was a professional jazz and classical guitarist and his first music teacher. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Pittsburgh and a masters in music from Indiana University. Falcon had been playing jazz gigs when he decided to go to Brazil to learn more about the music and culture. It was a decision that changed his life. He not only fell in love with the country, but he also fell in love with a Brazilian woman, whom he wound up marrying. The city of Brasilia became his primary residence from 2008 to 2016 while he became proficient in Portuguese, studied Brazilian music, composed many choros, and taught workshops.
Although the word choro (pronounced shoru) means “cry” or “lament,” the music is vibrant and cheerful. Considered the first urban popular music in Brazil, choro was born in 19th century Rio de Janeiro. It is an instrumental music that combines elements of European classical music with African rhythms. Often played at informal gatherings called “rodas de choro,“ choro is characterized by the virtuosity and improvisation of its participants.
Falcon not only became a devotee of the music, but he also pushed its musical boundaries. Instrumentation for choro bands usually consists of either a flute, mandolin, clarinet or saxophone as the lead instrument and the cavaquinho (a small, four string guitar), guitars and pandeiro (a hand drum) as accompaniment instruments.
Falcon continues to expand the musical boundaries of choro on TÔ CHEGANDO with unique instrumentation and mixing in other musical styles. For example, on “Salsa Samba,” he blends Latin cultures by combining choro with Cuban music. “Into the Chorosphere” features clarinet maestro Anat Cohen. And then on “Memories of Home,” he used a string quintet and combined a swinging pop sound with the original classical choro sound.
Falcon is a highly accomplished musician and composer, and the music on TÔ CHEGANDO is the best of two worlds. Choro is often labeled the “jazz of Brazil.” Improvisation is at the heart of choro, and its origin is a hybrid of African, European and American musical styles. While Falcon stays true to its rich roots, he pushes the envelope and opens the music to even wider influences.
The post Ted Falcon Album ‘TÔ CHEGANDO-Almost There’ Out August 19 appeared first on Smooth Jazz and Smooth Soul.
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