The New CD MOZIK features a new take on Brazilian Jazz by Gilson Schachnik, the pianist and Mauricio Zottarelli, drummer. Although both were born in Sao Paulo state, their passion for Brazilian music was ignited when they arrived in Boston. They grew up listening to hard rock, jazz, and European classical music. Scholarships were awarded to Berklee College of Music. After living in a sea full of Brazilianness, their move to the United States brought about a profound shift in perspective and allowed them to reevaluate their relationship with their musical heritage. Their new album Mozik, their captivating tribute to Brazilian rhythms and forms is a reflection of their deep love for the early fusion of Chick corea and Herbie Hancock. Mozik Records will release the CD on October 28, 2011. Schachnik, who composed most of the album’s arrangements, said that “a lot of non-Brazilian Brazilian musicians who play Brazilian music want to be authentic”. This is not our goal. We are not trying to recreate bossa Nova. We just want to use all the information we have accumulated over the years. I grew up listening to Return to Forever, and Headhunters.” The album was recorded in Boston with support from a faculty grant at Berklee. It features a fascinating international cast including Brazilian guitarist Gustavo Assis Brazil, Russian flutist Yulia Masayelyan, and Argentine bassist Fernando Huergo. The quintet plays the complex grooves with such power and precision that it sounds like a working group, even though some of them had never played together before. Schachnik’s Web’s Samba opens the album. This tune actually draws from several folkloric rhythms of the northeastern states Bahia, Pernambuco and the heart of Afro-Brazilian cultural life. Zottarelli opens the dramatic tune with a galloping Afoxe beat. This rhythm is derived from Yoruba-inspired Candomble ceremony. This tune is dedicated, along with the album, to Webster Roach the beloved Boston musician who passed away suddenly in November 2010. Three incisive Schachnik arrangements based on Jobim standards are featured on the album. The album also features the fast, upbeat version of “A Felicidade”, the iconic theme from Marcel Camus’s 1959 film “Black Orpheus”, which made bossa nova a worldwide phenomenon. Musayelyan’s powerful flute playing transforms the tune into a celebration, rather than sifting through its melancholy undercurrent. Assis-Brasil’s ravishing ballad, “O Amor em Paz”, (Once I Loved), is a great showcase of his talent. He renders the melody in such sadness and tenderness that it feels like he’s delivering an intimate confession. Schachnik’s extended harmony gives “Desafinado” a bracing postbop boost. The quintet seamlessly switches gears and digs into Herbie Hancock’s modal masterpiece, “Eye of the Hurricane”, and adds a Rio de Janeiro lilt and “Pannonica” to Thelonious Monk. “Yulia came here and blew us all away,” Schachnik says. The flute plays a significant role in Brazilian music, particularly in bossa Nova. Many arrangers use it. “Eye of the Hurricane” is a more in-your-face fusion, and I heard it as an tenor thing. She came in and played just what the piece required.” The album is closed with a thrilling rendition of Paulo Cesar Pinheiro’s and Mauro duarte’s “Canto Das Tres Racas,” a song that is indelibly connected to Clara Nunes, samba legend. Musayelyan’s stirring melody and percussion intro invokes the African roots in samba. All the qualms Schachnik or Zottarelli had about claiming Brazilian music for their own are gone in this roots samba jam celebration of Brazil’s miscegenated cultural heritage. Zottarelli attributes Schachnik to sparking his interest about that heritage. He grew up listening to pop music on the radio, and he was exposed to Brazilian music in the 1980s. His father was a childhood friend of Dom Salvador, a highly-talented Brazilian jazz pianist who recorded countless classic trio albums in his mid-60s. Schachnik brought some of those sessions to Zottarelli’s attention a few years back. The drummer was eager to explore music by the artist he had heard so many times. Salvador, who is a long-time resident of New York City, was a part of his recent album. Zottarelli recalls that he didn’t want to have anything to do Brazilian music while he was there. I was a huge fan of heavy metal, blues and rock, as well as fusion. People assumed that I was familiar with Jobim’s music and could play samba. I didn’t. I was able to learn the music when Gilson gave me some Dom Salvador records. “I fell in love Brazilian music at Berklee.” Schachnik was born and raised in Sao Paulo, South America’s largest city. He began playing the organ at 11 years old, inspired by Deep Purple’s keyboard player John Lord. In his 20s, he entered the Sao Paulo nightclub scene. He then began touring with Rosa Maria and accompanying Patricia Marx. He was a busy studio musician and composed scores for a children’s TV show. Schachnik was awarded a Berklee scholarship in 1990. He graduated with a degree as a jazz composer. He has recorded or played with many of the top musicians in Brazilian and jazz music since settling in Boston. In 1998, Schachnik released Raw, his debut CD. As an Associate Professor in Berklee’s Ear Training department, he has been working there for many years. He is also the accompanist to Wellesley College’s jazz choir, Body and Soul. Mozik is a Berklee link. It was there Zottarelli met Gustavo AssisBrasil, guitarist. “We started playing immediately,” Zottarelli explains. We shared the same influences. Both of us had been in heavy metal bands. When I do a project with guitars I think about Zottarelli and his guitar sound.” Zottarelli was raised in Rio Claro in the state, Sao Paulo. He was surrounded by music. In 1997, he earned a degree as a computer scientist. However, his passion for music inspired him to apply to Berklee to receive a scholarship to the summer program. He thought he was only coming to Boston for a season in 1999. But he continued to earn scholarships to study film scoring and arranging. Zottarelli graduated from Berklee in 2002. Zottarelli is a sought-after drummer since his arrival in New York City in 2006. He has toured the world with Hiromi’s Japanese pianist Sonicbloom and performed and recorded with a wide range of international artists including Eliane Elias and Claudio Roditi. He is the co-leader of Dig Trio, and just released 7 Lives, his first album as his own. It documents his evolving synthesis between jazz and Brazilian music, and fusion. He also shares this vision with Schachnik on Mozik. This jazz album was created by Brazilian musicians who listen to the music from their home country with open ears and hearts. Zottarelli describes, “What I love most about this music is its honest expression of the music that we love.” We’re not trying recreate the past or to recover it. We don’t have an agenda. “It just so happened that I fell in love Brazilian music while living here in Boston.” CDBaby

Leave a Comment