SideBar Sessions with Neal Alger's Brazilian Trio

Wed, Nov 08 2017, 8:00pm - $10 suggested donation

Doors open at 7 pm.

Thanks to our Media Sponsor: WDCB-FM (90.9) – Chicago’s Jazz Station!

While known in Chicago as a musician who moves primarily within jazz and rock circles, guitarist Neal Alger has developed a large affinity for Brazilian music and has chosen to research and absorb its various styles as his next large artistic adventure.  Over the past 20 years, Alger’s interests have led him to perform in such varied contexts as Neo-Soul/R&B, jazz-rock fusion, Afro-Cuban music, classic rock, movie soundtracks, and studio work for various formats.  None of these, however, have captivated him quite as profoundly as the massive tapestry of Brazil’s musical styles and he has formed a new trio to explore the improvisational possibilities that these styles present.  

Ever since the late 50’s when American jazzers started to absorb the lush harmonies and intriguing rhythms of ‘bossa nova’, improvised jazz music has had a fruitful relationship and exchange with the South American country.  Artists such as Antonio Carlos Jobim, Ivan Lins, Djavan, Hermeto Pascoal, and Egberto Gismonti have enthusiastically used American jazz musicians on their recordings and/or have embraced the language of jazz to enrich their own compositions.  Along with the legendary canon of melodies that jazz players typically drawn from (Tin Pan Alley musicals and modern compositions such as those by Thelonious Monk or Wayne Shorter, for example), Neal has found a new fountain of exquisite yet meaty compositions to play.  The primary difference between straight-ahead jazz and Brazilian tunes can be found in the scintillating rhythms which are an African, European, and Indian blend and have their own particular ginga or “swing”.  

Alger has chosen two very versatile players to round out his trio: bassist Curt Bley and drummer Gerald Dowd.  Bley’s artistry has enabled him to perform with both shredder guitar wizard Dave Urich and Chicago jazz virtuosos pianist John Campbell and harmonica player Howard Levy, among many others.  Most pertinent to the current trio, however, is Curt’s time spent in the 80’s and 90’s with the formidable Chicago/Brazilian ensemble Som Brasil, headed by legendary pianist/vibraphonist Breno Sauer and vocalist Neusa Sauer.  To call Gerald versatile is quite an understatement: he has lent his percussive talents to everyone from alt-country godfather Robbie Fulks to multi-instrumentalist/composer Andrew Bird to R&B singer Mavis Staples.  Thus, Gerald deeply understands the importance of unearthing the essence of whatever style he chooses to lend his talents to, making him a valuable asset to this trio.  

With Neal Alger’s Brazilian trio you will be treated to various facets of the massive Brazilian musical universe: Jobim’s well-known bossas, the pop-influenced work of Ivan Lins and Djavan, the rootsy samba of Noel Rosa and Nelson Cavaquinho, the iconoclasm of Hermeto Pascoal, the deceiving simplicity of Caetano Veloso, the Northeastern accordion tunes of Dominguinhos, and the virtuosic chorinhos of saxophonist Pixinguinha.  Viva a musica brasileira!!