FROM BRAZIL: André Mehmari Trio
Saturday April 4 @ 8:00 PM
“Among the many musicians, singers and arrangers, the critics and the lucky few who have heard his independent discs, there is no doubt: André Mehmari is the man…”
Neymar Dias (bass, viola caipira)
Sérgio Reze (drums)
A unique feature of his concerts are improvisations based on audience suggestions of favorite tunes, compositions, musicians, or even abstract ideas. NPR’s Ari Shapiro interviewed Mehmari about his improvisations on the All Things Considered theme.
Something about the alchemy of piano trios brings the best out of pianists. Evidence of this is seen in the trios of Keith Jarrett and Brad Mehldau, to whom Mehmari is often compared; and in his victory in the 1998 competition for the Prêmio VISA de Música Popular Brasileira, the nation’s leading award in music. Last year he toured the U.S. with the repertoire of his latest trio album, Na Esquina do Clube com o Sol na Cabeça. He now returns with newly composed works for trio, an ensemble that has a special place in the life of one of today’s leading musicians.
Mehmari’s activities as pianist, composer, and arranger are highly regarded in both popular and classical music. As his compositions have been performed by leading orchestras such as Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo and chamber ensembles such as the São Paulo String Quartet, his career in Brazilian popular music and jazz has attained wide attention with performances in all of Brazil’s major festivals and abroad at Umbria Jazz in Italy and Juan Les-Pins in France.
He began studying music at age five and by the time he was ten had started composing and taught himself improvisation. While studying at São Paulo State University, he won the University’s competition for original Brazilian popular music and, two years later, was given the same honor in classical music. The 1998 Prêmio VISA de MPB award included the recording of an album which became the first of his forty releases. In 2006, he won the Carlos Gomes award for classical music and was appointed resident composer for the São Paulo State Wind Band. He continues to receive frequent commissions from Brazil’s leading orchestra – Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo – and was commissioned to write music for both the 2007 Pan American Games and 2016 Olympic Games held in Rio de Janeiro. In 2017, South America’s leading literary festival, the International Literary Festival of Paraty, was attended by 25,000 people and commissioned Mehmari to compose and perform a new work in tribute to author Lima Barreto.
A prolific musician, in the past twelve months alone Mehmari has released five albums including a new recording of his works for strings and a solo piano recording of the works of composer Noel Rosa.
“One of the greatest talents this country has ever produced.”
Luis Nassif, Folha de São Paulo (Brazil)
“He has flawless technique, absolute pitch and invariably brings a head-full of ideas to the keyboard whenever his hands flow across it. Moreover, he is one of the most expressive pianists not only in Brazil, but throughout the Americas.”
Raul d’Gama, World Music Report (Canada)
“His live performances, original compositions, and covers blur the boundaries between classical, jazz, and Brazilian and international pop music – and even compel us to question the distinctions between composing, improvising, and arranging. Think Keith Jarrett with Brazilian overtones, and you have a sense of Mehmari’s sound.”
Sandor Slomovits, The Ann Arbor Observer (USA)
“If you enjoy modern jazz pianists like Mehldau or Jarrett and still haven’t heard Mehmari, don’t miss him. Like them … [he] combines classical technique with exquisite improvisational skill.”
Carlos Calado, Valor Econômico (Brazil)
“If Mehmari’s goal was to transcend genres, he more than succeeded.”
Sammy Sussman, The Michigan Daily (USA)