The weekend of 3-5 October saw an amazing Brazilian festival of dance, art, food, literature and music at Snape Maltings in Suffolk. Cosmic Jazz followed the music and found so much to enjoy and dance to.
What an opening night. The London-based Brazilian band Da Lata started off the party. The band started by guitarist Chris Franck and former Suffolk school pupil and DJ Patrick Forge now have two excellent albums Fabiola and Songs From The Tin that have been played on Cosmic Jazz. Look out for the forthcoming digital release that will include an excellent live version of the Brazilian classic Ronco da Cuica.
The band have an engaging, inspiring and joyful vocalist up front in Jandira Silva and some outstanding musicians. What a treat it was to see the excellent jazz sax and flute player Finn Peters, and a special mention must go to percussionist Carl Smith who managed to play on while his congas collapsed around him.
Their music combined the more gently rhythmic at the start of the set and led up to a storming finish. Perhaps it was too early in the evening, or maybe those unfamiliar with the range of Brazilian music do not appreciate that it is often gentle and complex and not all barnstorming samba., but it took a tune or two to fill the dancefloor and then it was wild. The climax of the set was the Da Lata composition Pra Manha, a tune that has helped me to fill dancefloors and the encore was the irresistible Joao Bosco tune Ronco Da Cuica. Check their live YouTube recording of this. Feedback from the band indicates they enjoyed the evening, so did the crowd; see them if you can.
Gilles Peterson followed with a Brazilian DJ set. This combined a range of Brazilian styles from forro to funk to hip hop to samba, to a taste of Airto Moreira’s Celebration Suite to tunes fro the excellent album Sonzeira BrasilBam Bam Bam that he has produced with Brazilian musicians young and old and released on his Brownswood record label. With long-term associate Earl Zinger adding to the mixing and contributing vocals and melodica playing it was a set that set the Snape Maltings Studio partying and moving in a way it has probably rarely seen before.
Bebel Gilberto, a Brazilian superstar who divides her time between Rio and New York, performed in the Concert Hall on the Saturday night. She has recently released a new album Tudo, her first in five years. Much of the set based on these new tunes but there were a few moments from her mega-selling Tanto Tempo, although not the dancefloor filler Close Your Eyes. A shame really, too much of the lounge-style music does not always work in a concert hall setting. The backing musicians were excellent but could have been given scope to show off their skills; I longed for a solo or two from them.
On top of all this, there was an outside stage om Saturday and Sunday with forro and choro bands and the gently uplifting Amarea Trio with Malick Mbengue added on percussion and some lovely vocals from Daida Carbonell who had flown in from Barcelona for the weekend. If you add to this the drumming and forro , choro and capoiera workshops and the wonderful spontaneous capoeira performances it was a weekend to remember.
Look out for the festival to return next year. We will keep you posted on Cosmic Jazz.