Swingão Brazilian Jazz Project is a brand new, international Brazilian jazz project. With musicians born around the globe, they play music fostered by a mutual love of samba, choro and bossa nova. Anchoring the US band members is the legendary Brazilian drummer Portinho, alongside harmonica sensation Hendrik Meurkens. The Canada team features Mexican bassist Paco Luviano, Hannah Burgé and Gord Sheard. They are making the Toronto debut of this international collaboration at Sam’s Place in the beautiful Prince Edward County, Ontario, on June 30th, 2023 at 7:00 pm and on July 1st at the TD Toronto Jazz Festival, at the TD Village Stage in Yorkville at 8:30 pm.
A few days before Swingão Brazilian Jazz Project’s debut in Toronto, we present to our readers a brief conversation with founder member Paco Luviano.
DN: How was this band [Swingão Brazilian Jazz Project] born?
PL: Swingão is a fun name that I came up with. I was looking for a word that combined the “swing” of jazz and a Brazilian groove and a word that could span English, Spanish and Portuguese. The other band mates made it more Brazilian with the “ã.”
What does each member contribute to this project?
Portinho contributes the Brazilian legacy and groove. He’s been instrumental to so many Brazilian and jazz projects. Hendrik Meurkens is well-admired in the jazz and Latin jazz communities for his iconic harmonica playing. Dr. Gord Sheard has a long history of playing Brazilian Jazz in Canada and abroad, and Hannah Burgé contributes that smooth vocal sound, rhythmic approach, and lyric content. I hold it together on bass, having played a lot of Brazilian, Jazz, and Latin jazz music. But we all have a mutual love of the music that brings us together.
In practical terms, how will you conduct your rehearsals?
Well, we’re lucky the band is getting together a day ahead of the gigs – and that’s not so unusual for projects where folks live in different cities. We’re starting our rehearsal time together in Prince Edward County ahead of our June 30th gig at Sam’s Place in Consecon, Ontario. We’ve all been communicating about the project for months, putting together songs and structure by text and email. These concerts are great opportunities to play songs that we’ve enjoyed playing together in the past. Also, Hendrik and Portinho are playing together regularly in NYC, so we’re building on common repertoire. We’re thrilled to be bringing Portinho to Canada at the TD Toronto Jazz Festival – and to the county —it’s going to be really fun.
Is this a project that you hope to maintain in the long term? What are your plans?
I’d love to tour with these folks in Canada and possibly Mexico next year. We’re hoping that people will get excited to hear the music and musicians in the project.
Let’s talk about the first performances of this band, about the music you are going to perform.
We’ll have classic songs, Hendrik’s hits, and new compositions to feature at these two concerts. Hendrik has so many wonderful sambas, bossa, and choros, and his arrangements of the classic songs are really hip. Hannah and Hendrik’s duo performances from her Green River Session albums will be featured, as well as some unreleased bossa arrangements. We’re going to play as many songs as we can fit into these concerts.
Is there any possibility to record an album?
I’d love to record this project just as soon as we can.
Anything else you would like to add?
Thanks so much for the chance to talk about the project.
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