Tonight we enjoyed an excellent concert of Brazilian-influenced jazz (and more) by Hiromi Suda in the beautiful setting of Gantry Plaza State Park at the Hunters Point waterfront in Long Island City.
Having enjoyed our visit last year to a concert in the summer Live at the Gantries series, we wanted to make sure we went back at least one Tuesday this year. Hiromi Suda and her three accompianists had us from the very beginning with her silky, crystalline voice on a classic Antonio Carlos Jobim song.
Her Portuguese phrasing was so clear and precise that we assumed she was Brazilian (in Florida we had several Japanese-Brazilian friends who grew up in São Paulo, all of whom were native Portuguese speakers), but from her bio we see this:
She won the World Scholarship and entered Berklee College of Music in 2005. There, Ms. Suda studied with many world renowned musicians including Jazz vocals with Ms. Lisa Thorson, Latin American music with Ms. Mili Bermejo and Brazilian music styles with Fernando Brandao.
By 2007, Hiromi had developed a keen interest in Brazilian music and during the summer of 2007 she spent three months in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil further honing her skill with Brazilian music styles and instruments, such as the pandeiro. Her experience in Brazil was highly rewarding not only musically, but also gave a historical and cultural context to her passion for Brazilian music. During this period, Ms. Suda attended the Choro School called Escola Portatil de Musica. She studied the pardeiro with Celsinho Silva and Jorginho Silva and choro vocal style with the choro singer, Amelia Rabello and MPB vocal style with the Brazilian vocalist Suely Mesuqita.
Tonight she did a gorgeous selection of MPB (Música Popular Brasileira), choro, bossa nova and samba, and she sounds just as good in English or Japanese as she does na língua portuguesa. Her band members, the versatile percussionist Keita Ogawa, guitarist Hiroya Tsukamoto and bassist Yasushi Nakamura, melded with her exquisitely.
There were cool breezes from the East River, making it feel less humid than it had been before. And listening to a song like "Chega De Saudade" made it feel even cooler. It was a really pleasant night, so much so that we extended it by walking over the Pulaski Bridge to Brooklyn - though we tired out midway home and got the B43 bus on Manhattan Avenue.