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Timeline / John Stein
TIMELINE :: Xangô Três :: G.E.P.S.P. :: Mandala :: Malika :: Hermeto Pascoal :: Egberto Gismonti :: Marlui Miranda :: Grupo Um :: Band Leader :: Duo Nazario :: Pau Brasil :: Percussônica :: John Stein :: Other stories
Teco Cardoso, Alexandre Zamith, John Stein,
Frank Herzberg, Zé Eduardo Nazario, Bocato
2003 - 2008

I met John Stein, a jazz guitarist and professor of harmony at Berklee College of Music in Boston, when he first came to Brazil in 2003. I got hooked up with his group through bass player Frank Herzberg, a German-born living in São Paulo, who invited me to be part of a series of concerts and workshops. Since then we have been working together. In 2005 John came back for a new concert tour in Brazil during which we recorded the CD "Concerto Internacional de Jazz." The album was released in the United States in 2006 by the Whaling City Sound label, and has been given good reviews in the specialized press.

In 2007 John came back again, this time for the CD release concert at the Brazil Instrumental SESC, which was recorded by the SESC TV. In November of that year, I went to the United States to play with John in a series of concerts in Boston, where I also gave some drum clinics both at Berklee College of Music and Brimmer and May School. Also, I played in the John’s "Green Street" album release concert at the Scullers Jazz Club, and recorded his newest album entitled "Encouterpoint," which was released in 2008.

A new CD will be released in 2009. Please keep checking this website for more details.

Concerto Internacional de Jazz (2006)
John Stein / Frank Herzberg / Zé Eduardo Nazario / Alexandre Zamith / Bocato / Teco Cardoso / Pedro Ito
1. Happy Hour :: 2. Lonely Street :: 3. The Night Has a Thousand Eyes :: 4. It's About Life :: 5. Marta :: 6. I'm a Fool to Want You :: 7. Blues in Maude's Flat :: 8. Sometime Ago :: 9. Inutil Paisagem
Encounterpoint (2008)
John Stein / Zé Eduardo Nazario / John Lockwood / Koichi Sato
1. Jordu / 2. Line drive / 3. The Roundabout / 4. Dindi / 5. Close Your Eyes / 6. Trois / 7. Half-Whole Blues / 8. Só Danço Samba / 9. You Don't Know What Love Is
2005 2007 Scullers Jazz Club
Pouso Alegre, 2005 Scullers Jazz Club, 2007 Koichi Sato and John Stein. 2007
JAZZ IMPROV - Summer 2006 - Vol. 6 - Number 4
You recorded your latest album, Concerto Internacional de Jazz, in Brazil. How did you decide to record there?
I have been traveling to perform music for many years, and I have usually felt more focused and creative when I am on a tour. There are a number of factors which may contribute to this, but mainly I think on tour I get to concentrate on playing music consistently without the responsibilities and distractions of my teaching and everyday life. I decided to try recording while on tour, hoping to capture the special feeling when I am able to tap into my expressive musical self and simply channel music without distractions. I considered locations where I’ve had superlative musical and personal support. My first thought was New Orleans, where I had close friends who were deeply embedded in the local music scene and where the level of musicianship was very high. My plans to travel to New Orleans were well under way when another opportunity presented itself: a two-week concert tour in Brazil. Brazil is much farther away (which made the opportunity a bit more special), has an equally distinctive musical flavor, and most importantly for me, my musical collaborators in Brazil also perform at the highest level. I opted for Brazil.

How did you make the acquaintance of the participating sidemen on the CD?
Frank Herzberg is from Germany and I met him when he came to Berklee College in the early 90’s to study. When he graduated from Berklee, he returned to Berlin to finish his music studies in Germany and he now has degrees from two fine music schools. Frank began arranging concerts for me in Germany, which initiated my international touring, and when he moved to Brazil a number of years ago it became possible to organize concert tours there. Frank is making a nice career for himself in Brazil and is playing with many of the great musicians in that country. So it was easy to find collaborators for our concert tours and for the recording. Teco Cardoso, flutes and reeds, and Bocato, trombone, are stars in Brazil, very widely known and admired. Alexandre Zamith is a fine young pianist who plays often with Frank and Zé. Pedro Ito graduated from Berklee and lived in Boston before returning to São Paulo. He overdubbed some percussion in Boston just before he left to go home, and I think the extra colors add a lot to the musical texture.

Could you discuss the rhythmic aspects of implying the beat that are qualities embodied in much modern jazz music, and which are essentials in the music you have created on your new album?
There are a couple of tunes on the CD in which the rhythm is explicit. Happy Hour, for example, is conceptually based upon and features Zé’s second-line drumming. Marta is another piece where the rhythm is an obvious foundation for the performance, although a bossa in triple meter takes some getting-used-to. I love the cymbals on Marta, by the way, which sound like bursts of thunder during a wild summer thunderstorm. But a lot of the music on the CD is rhythmically subtle and is created by the whole band, not just the drummer and bassist. We were trying to breathe together as a band, and create a mood and feel, all of us together. When a group of musicians plays in such a way, roles are not clearly defined. It is not a case of a soloist supported by a bunch of accompanists, which is fairly typical in jazz performances, but more a situation where the musical parts intertwine and change as the music breathes. It’s challenging to play that way, and requires some serious listening and much flexibility. I think my Brazilian collaborators have a natural affinity for making music in such a manner, and I think the recording has a Brazilian flavor or spice because of it, even though Concerto Internacional de Jazz is not really an album of Brazilian jazz, but a jazz album played by Brazilians, along with myself, of course.

Did you encounter any difficulties recording in Brazil?
Well, it was certainly a challenge for me to record in a Portuguese-speaking country. I admit, with regret, that I only speak English. Now that I travel very frequently I wish I spoke a number of languages—German, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Japanese. It would be incredible to be multi-lingual! Luckily, English is the most prevalent international language, and I have been fortunate that most people have been incredibly gracious when I travel, helping me out and translating for me. My recording engineers in Brazil spoke very little English, and that made things a bit harder. All of the musicians spoke English, though, and we managed. I have recorded most of my CDs in an excellent studio in the Boston area, so it was a risk to use a studio in Brazil with which I was unfamiliar. I also had to bring the digitally recorded files back home with me on DVDs to do the mixing, so that added more complexity—recording in one place, then editing and mixing in another. There were some inevitable compromises but I think it worked out.

What’s next? What are your plans and what projects are you currently involved in?

I am planning a nice promotional tour for the new recording in the fall and I expect to bring Zé, my Brazilian drummer, and Frank, my bassist, up to the USA to participate. It will be special to have them, as they have been deeply involved in the project throughout.
Site Jazz News - Ginny Shea

All of which brings us to his Concerto Internacional de Jazz. While it's not Brazilian jazz in a figurative sense, it is in a literal sense jazz played by Stein's Brazilian band. Bassist Frank Herzberg, drummer Zé Eduardo Nazario, trombonist Bocato, flutist Teco Cardoso, and percussionist Pedro Ito all combine to inject the nuances, colors, and spices that make native Brazilian music so exceptional. The ensemble takes Stein's compositions and adds the richness and subtlety to them that you'd expect from a great Brazilian band. The set was recorded at Nossoestúdio in São Paulo and mixed at WGBH Studios in Boston. This might give you some indication of the sweet dichotomy of Stein's artistry. Not only is he educated in the formal sense, and steeped in the history and tradition of North American jazz, he's able to massage that formality with the super-sensate vibes of sultry Brazil and its musical uber-culture.

The Patriot Ledger - Joh Leman
This is not just another album of bossa novas (though there are a pair of those) or Brazilian crossover tunes. Instead, it’s mainstream contemporary jazz played by a blend of U.S. and Brazilian musicians who speak the same musical language but who each add their distinctive inflections. Stein’s unfailingly melodic yet solidly driving guitar lines push the entire ensemble always forward, with strong and tasteful support from bassist Frank Herzberg and drummer Zé Eduardo Nazario. The Brazilian musicians bring an innate sensitivity to sensuous dance rhythms and a subtly syncopated sense of melancholy.
Jon Garelick
Guitarist John Stein has a way of making every familiar situation sound new — as he did on a "soul jazz" disc with David "Fathead" Newman a couple of years ago, and in a straight-ahead trio last year with John Lockwood and Yoron Israel, and as he does here on a CD he recorded in a São Paulo studio last year while on a Brazilian tour with bassist Frank Herzberg and drummer Zé Eduardo Nazario. So, yes, it’s "Brazilian," but it includes Grant Green’s "Blues in Maude’s Flat" (a showcase for Stein’s subtle, inexorable swing) and the hard-driving New Orleans second-line rhythms of the opening original "Happy Hour." The Herzberg samba "Marta" is in triple time, the old Sinatra torch song "I’m a Fool To Want You" gets a bossa treatment and some beautiful free interplay between Stein and flutist Teco Cardosa that makes you forget all about Frank and Ava, and Stein deepens the theme of Jobim’s "Inutil paisagem" by putting Cardosa’s bass flute under Bocato’s trombone. These are Brazilian players who know their Mingus and Bill Evans (check Alexandre Zamith’s piano on Sergio Mihanovich’s "Sometime Ago") as well as their foro. And Stein’s playing, as always, is proof that loud-and-fast isn’t the only way a guitarist can convey technique and depth of feeing.
Dave Miele
Stein chooses to begin the CD with one of his own compositions, "Happy Hour". Drummer Zè Eduardo Nazario starts this jam off, setting up a funky New Orleans groove. Stein introduces his unique improvisatory voice over this funky beat, and at times plays with only Nazario, who takes a snappy solo, maintaining the New Orleans vibe. Another original, "Lonely Street" follows.
John M Peters
John Stein - Concerto Internacional de Jazz [WCS 031], an album guitarist John Stein recorded in Sao Paulo, Brazil, with a band made up of top local jazz musicians. So, essentially an album of latin jazz instrumentals with some added spice thanks to New Orleans rhythms and whatever else could be added to the 'stew'. However, if you are expecting the usual sort of samba-coloured jazz of, say, Sergio Mendez, then expect to be disappointed - this is a harder edged version, more Miles Davis-hued music. Thanks to the wider pallet of instrumental sounds here - flute and trombone - this album never outstays its welcome(...).
Matthew Warnock
Guitarist John Stein has brought together an all-star ensemble for the album Encounterpoint and these world-class musicians deliver on every tune. The ensemble cast of Koichi Sate, keyboards, John Lockwood, bass, and Ze Eduardo Nazario on drums and percussion are always on top of their game. Whether it be a funk groove, hard swinger or relaxing bossa-nova tune, the energy and interaction are always solid throughout. With a band of this caliber it would hard for anyone to sound less than their best, but Stein is not one to rest on his heels as he pushes the band to new heights of creativity and emotion during his melodic interpretations and improvised solos(...).

That and many others can be read at:
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