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Clifford Korman

An accomplished jazz pianist and highly regarded educator and researcher, Cliff Korman has developed numerous jazz projects featuring Brazilian and American musicians and presenting a variety of original compositions and arrangements. His understanding of the diversity of sound, instrumentation and harmonic patterns of Brazilian music of the twentieth century enables him to continuously explore the complex interconnections that link the music of the Americas. His recording Migrations (Planet Arts Recordings, 2005) has garnered critical acclaim from Jazz Times, Cadence Magazine and Ben Ratliff in The New York Times.

His duo record Mood Ingênuo: Pixinguinha Meets Duke Ellington (Jazzheads, 1999) with Grammy Award winner Paulo Moura represents one of the first cross-cultural explorations of jazz and choro.

He has performed and recorded with many Brazilian artists including Astrud Gilberto, Toninho Horta, and Leny Andrade, and was featured in a two-piano production with Wagner Tiso and Milton Nascimento at the International Festival of MPB (Musica Popular Brasileira) in São Paulo.

Korman produced the recording Entre Amigos (Chesky, 2003) which pairs Brazilian vocalist Rosa Passos with American bass master Ron Carter.

His tutorial book "Inside the Brazilian Rhythm Section" in collaboration with Brazilian guitarist Nelson Faria is published by Sher Music. His work as a scholar in the fields of Jazz and Brazilian music has received prestigious recognition, including a Chamber Music America Residency Grant (2006-07), Fulbright Lecture/Research grant to Brazil (1999), the publication of an article on the music of Thelonious Monk in the Annual Review of Jazz Studies (2000), a presentation of his lecture "Jazz & Brazilian Instrumental Music: Common Roots, Divergent Paths" at the Jazz Research Roundtable at Rutgers University (2000), and presentation and publication of his research paper “Choro: Brazilian Popular Instrumental Improvised Music” as part of the 2003 IAJE convention. Cliff was awarded a DMA in Advanced Jazz Studies at the Manhattan School of Music for his work for Jazz Philharmonic Orchestra and accompanying thesis "INTERVENTIONS: Improvisation in the Jazz Symphonic Orchestra. He is currently on faculty at the Federal University of the State of Rio de Janeiro (UNIRIO) and maintains a presence as leader of the Cliff Korman Trio, the duo project "Empatia", and with Brazilian colleagues Ricardo Silveira, Henrique Cazes, Nelson Faria, Augusto Mattoso and Rafael Barata.


Primary Instrument



Rio de Janeiro

Willing to teach

Intermediate to advanced



Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson


Planet Arts Records




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