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Isabel Melo

All About Jazz user Isabel Melo

Portugal

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Personal Manager of Samuel Quinto

SAMUEL QUINTO AND LATIN JAZZ

Samuel Quinto is an exceptional piano player, his virtuoso, often percussive playing, often with a continuous “tumbao”, the rhtyhmical bass figure, accompanying the other soloists improvisations as well as his own, is intoxicating. His compositions, influenced among others by Michel Camilo, Chick Corea and Gonzalo Rubalcaba, are original own melodies which can have - like “on call” - different colourings, depending on the ethnic or geographic origin of theme, dance or title.

Hard to believe that Samuel Quinto is self-taught - his prodigy tale goes like this:

Born in Belem/Par�, North-Brasil, and raised in Salvador da Bah�a. The gospel singing in the Baptist church “Igreja Batista Sinai”, which the family regularly visits, is accompanied by various good piano players, and the seven year old boy is fascinated by them, wants to learn to play everything that they can play, and wants to become a better piano player than the best of them. All alone, only by ear, he teaches himself everything. In his parents� house there is a piano. The parents encourage him, let him do as he likes. Piano classes are hard to finance, and he anyway doesn't want to practice scales and the classical canon. Rather learns by himself to play what he likes to play, learns to read and write music, and to make arrangements for music groups and quires in the church. At the age of 12 he begins playing the piano during services, in “his” church, in front of 1000 members of the congregation. - After a few terms at university gives up his studies of civil engineering and finally - aged 25 - decides to focus on one thing only: music! Earns his livelihood as piano-player in the bar of Hotel Marriott in Costa do Sauipe, a holiday resort near Salvador. Is bored by many forms of piano music and always wants to play more complex things. One day discovers Michel Camilo, born Santo Domingo, the master pianist and composer in classical music and jazz, and has finally found his ideal of Latin Jazz.

In 2008 Samuel Quinto taught Latin jazz piano in a master class at the conservatory of the Catholic University in Salvador da Bah�a, and in another master class at “Escola Jazz Ao Norte” in Porto, and has since given several solo concerts in Portugal.

The first cd of Samuel Quinto Trio, “Latin Jazz Thrill”, was released 2007 in Portugal and has provided the core of the repertoire during numerous concerts and festivals in 2007 and 2008 in various towns in Portugal and during the tour of 2008 with appearances in Hamburg, Berlin, K�ln and Heilbronn as well as in Li�ge and Limoges.

Samuel Quintos 2nd cd “Salsa 'n Jazz” was released officially on 6th June 2009 and was presented in a concert in Porto. On bass Marcos Borges, also from Brasil, classically trained contra bass player, and on drums Manuel Santiesteban from Cuba, who studied drums in Havana. Eight compositions by Samuel Quinto and one standard, variable tone colours despite pure piano trio instrumentation, and an intoxicating joy of playing. Regular repetition of themes and precise playing in harmony may create the impression, on first hearing, that everything is through-composed, though actually its 50 % improvisation.

The description of the track list as the order of courses of a festive dinner (contributed by Rui Vital, also a musician coming from Brasil and a friend of Samuel Quinto), which can be read in the cd booklet and on the website www.samuelquinto.com, gets fairly close:

The starter - “Quinto's Rhumba” - in the style of the jazz-rock-latin fusion experiments of the sixties, a lot of fun and an hommage to Herbie Hancock, whets your appetite for more Latin rhythms, the main course are seven further compositions by Samuel Quinto, themes with a Brasilian and/or Cuban touch and rhythm, among them two romantic ballads, dedicated to Samuel Quinto's wife and to his mother, and as dessert a beautiful version of ”Stella By Starlight, which after a short introduction of the theme turns into improvisations over salsa rhythms.

I had talked to Samuel Quinto after his trio's concert in Hamburg 2008, and we had been corresponding since then. Finally he invited my wife and me to the concert in Porto.

And again, “live” it was even better than on cd.

The location, the assembly or concert hall of the private jazz school “Escola Jazz Ao Norte” in Porto (www.jazzaonorte.com), which breathes in each of its sound-proof rooms the great music enthusiasm of its founder, owner and director, engineer Pedro Ferreira. Provides music lessons on various instruments, workshops, music-therapy and concerts. Whenever all his administration and finance work leaves him the time, he takes saxophone lessons in his own school.

All the well-tempered and excited friends, the helpers, the three musicians of the Samuel Quinto Trio, who appear in elegant black suites before the almost 100 guests, all share a great passion for music, for Latin jazz, impersonated by Samuel Quinto that night in Porto at the grand piano.

Meanwhile, a couple of things have become clear to me: Latin Jazz isn't principally different from North American jazz, but an extension of its possibilities by the multiple rhythms of Latin American music, a process of exchange and mutual influence, continueing since the 1940ies. And Samuel Quinto is on the way to becoming one of the great ones among the piano players in this genre.

Frank Eichardt, 22nd June 2009

Hamburg - Germany

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