Mar 9, 2019

"Brasil Toca Choro" - contemporary choro videos

A friend hipped me to a recent series from Brazilian TV, "Brasil Toca Choro" (Brazil Plays Choro). There are 13 episodes on youtube, each with first-rate studio performances by some of the best contemporary choro musicians.

Even if (like me) you don't speak Portuguese, the music is very much worth your listening time.

This link will get you to an index of episodes - or, check the list below.

Here's the blurb from the introductory trailer, google-translated:
Thinking about the importance of chorinho to the construction of Brazilian identity, TV Cultura launches the channel's newest program, Brasil Toca Choro. It is in the mix of melodies of European classical music and American jazz with the African rhythm played in the terreiros of Rio de Janeiro that the pulsating heart of the choro is found. Originating in the second half of the nineteenth century, the musical rhythm has enchanted and thrilled generations for approximately 150 years.
Each program centers around an instrument, composer, or other theme:
  1. Pixinguinha (the legendary choro composer)
  2. Piano e primórdios (piano and origins)
  3. Sopros (wind instruments)
  4. Violões (guitars)
  5. Acordeon (accordion)
  6. Choro Canção (“choro-song” - a modernized form, predecessor of bossa nova)
  7. Maestros arranjadores (great arrangers)
  8. Cavaquinho (stringed instrument basic to choro)
  9. Samba Chorado (samba choro)
  10. Novas Linguagens (new languages)
  11. Flauta (flute)
  12. Outros Sotaques (other accents)
  13. Bandolim (mandolin)

Here's the first program (Pixinguinha), if you would like to get started:

Jan 6, 2019

897 Free Choro Charts on Doce de Choro website!

Choro is a Brazilian music genre, mostly instrumental, improvisational, with a history beginning in the 19th century, predating American jazz. If you are a jazz player and not familiar with choro, you really should check it out. The repertoire is extensive and rich (a few famous composers: Pixinguinha, Jacob do Bandolim, Waldir Azevedo, K-Ximbinho). Performance styles have evolved over the years (as has American jazz), and there are some truly great performers active today.

If you are into choro, the website Doce de Choro (click here) is a gold mine - lead sheets for 897 choros are available for free download. The charts were created by Jean Pascal Leriche-Lafaurie (at least I assume so, as that is the only name listed on the website). Some of the tunes are classics, some are obscure; some are simple, some melodically and harmonically challenging.

I do play some choros with my group, with a jazz approach. I count myself as a fan and student, not an expert. You can find plenty of information about choro on the web, and plenty of performances, old and new, on Youtube.

Just for laughs, here are two recordings of a classic, "Assanhado" by Jacob do Bandolim (1918-1969). It's one of the first choros I learned.

First, here is the original recording by Jacob (click here).

Compare Jacob's original to this more modern version by two great players, Armandinho and Yamandu Costa: