symphony in bossa

For some reason, I’ve always had a deep love for Brazilian music. I say it this way because it doesn’t really make sense for me – this music was not part of my upbringing, and I’m not really sure when I was exposed to it, or consequently, started to crave it in my regular listening (besides the fact that I have never been to Brazil). It’s not hard to justify, though. Brazilian bossa novas and sambas seamlessly blend pop sensibility with intricate jazz harmonies, danceable rhythms, all while telling a story through the perfectly (if not the most perfect) musical language of Portuguese.

I have had the great pleasure over the last few months to get to know and work with
Minas, a Brazilian jazz duo based in Philadelphia. Partners in music and in life, Orlando Haddad and Patricia King have formed a bond that is a 30+ year musical love story. They are also some of the kindest people I know.

Lately, I’ve been helping them with many tasks, but the largest has been overseeing a project that has been several years in the making. In 2004, Minas teamed up with celebrated UArts educator and incredibly talented arranger, Bill Zaccagni, for “Symphony in Bossa.” The project fuses traditional Brazilian repertoire with Minas’ original music, all backed by orchestral strings and a full big band.

“Symphony in Bossa” had a wildly successful opening concert at the Merriam, and plans were being made to record the whole thing and to take the program on tour, perhaps even on the university circuit where student orchestras could be enriched by this music. Sadly, Mr. Zaccagni passed away before any of these plans could come to fruition.

Now, in 2013, Minas has revived the project. Everything is in place, but they need some serious help to get this thing off the ground (it ain’t exactly cheap to hire an orchestra and big band, let alone the studio and album pressing costs). I usually try not to be so shameless here, but I will toss that aside at the moment because this music truly deserves to be heard. Please check out their story, and consider getting involved.

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