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Helio Alves

Pianist and composer Helio Alves has received high praise as an in-demand sideman with Joe Henderson, Yo-Yo Ma, Slide Hampton, Airto Moreira and Flora Purim, Paquito D'Rivera, Claudio Roditi, Oscar Castro-Neves and Gato Barbieri, to name but a few. And now, with more than 40 recordings as a sideman - and two at the helm of his own ensembles - this incomparable musician is quite deservedly earning respect as a leader too.

Alves' second recording as leader, Portrait in Black in White (Reservoir Music, 2004), once again displays his impressive mastery of both straight-ahead and Brazilian jazz styles. The release is highlighted by four Alves originals - "Frenzy," "Sambetinho," "Loose Samba" and "Song for Anna" - and features his longtime musical friend Santi Debriano on bass and Matt Wilson on drums.

Alves is emerging as a powerful interpreter of even the most familiar standards, such as "You Must Believe In Spring," "Angel Eyes," and Jobim's "Portrait in Black and White," all included on his new release, and imparts a distinctively fluid and rhythmic stamp to his music. Alves selected all the music for Portrait in Black in White, and included compositions by bassist Steve Swallow ("Falling Grace") and Brazilian multi-instrumentalist and composer, Egberto Gismonti ("Loro"). The mix of straight-ahead and Brazilian sensibilities reflects Alves' personal tastes and his musical complexity. "I love jazz, and I love Brazilian music, and I always try to open things up a bit by mixing the two together," he says. "It's good to be able to go back and forth, trading one off the other. It keeps things interesting."

The son of two pianists, Alves was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in 1966 and started piano lessons at age 6. Following his early immersion in playing the pop standards and classical music favored by his parents, he gravitated to jazz in his teens and formed a band with some friends. "I had so much fun trying to play jazz. I just enjoyed it so much. With classical music, you have to play what's on the paper, exactly as it's written. That early discipline was good, and it still helps me keep my chops together, but jamming was such a blast, such a contrast," he recalls. Alves entered high school jazz festival competitions and won, two years in a row. One of the judges, the well-respected Sao Paulo bass player, the late Xu Viana, became his first jazz harmony teacher, and suggested he continue his studies at Berklee College of Music. Alves moved to Boston at age 18 and received his BA in Professional Music in 1990.

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Album Review

Dial and DeRosa: Keep Swingin'

Read "Keep Swingin'" reviewed by Jack Bowers


Keep Swingin', a splendid new album from pianist Garry Dial and drummer Rich DeRosa, features “the music of Charlie Banacos." Charlie who? you may ask. And the answer is, there are jazz educators, and then there was Charlie Banacos, whose talent and ingenuity in the classroom influenced and inspired countless jazz musicians for more than fifty years. During that time, he designed more than a hundred courses of study and wrote half a dozen books on composition and improvisation.

4
Album Review

Gili Lopes: Algures

Read "Algures" reviewed by Doug Collette


Bassist, composer, musical director and producer Gili Lopes is nothing if not an astute judge of talent. After all, for Algures (from an old Portuguese word meaning 'somewhere'), he has recruited a redoubtable case of accompanists, not the least of whom is saxophonist John Ellis, he of fruitful collaborations with Charlie Hunter and Miguel Zenon among others, as well as a string of diverse albums under his own name such as Dance Like There's No Tomorrow (Hyena, 2008) and Puppet ...

3
Album Review

Torben Westergaard: Jazz Brazil

Read "Jazz Brazil" reviewed by Geno Thackara


For Torben Westergaard, sooner or later all roads lead back to Brazil. The special flavor of South American jazz shaped his life from an early age, and has stayed a recurring staple in his music from his debut Brazilian Heart (Self Produced, 1996) through the Tangofied (Gateway) series of 2013-17. If it's taken him a while to circle back to this favorite milieu again, that's because he has been roaming a long way in the meantime, from home base Denmark ...

3
Album Review

Hendrik Meurkens: Manhattan Samba

Read "Manhattan Samba" reviewed by Edward Blanco


Composer, virtuoso on both the vibraphone and harmonica, German-born New York-based Hendrik Meurkens presents yet another colorful and tantalizing taste of Brazilian music on the exquisite Manhattan Samba. A proponent of the samba and bossa nova styles of music after a full immersion while living in Rio de Janeiro in the early 1980s, Meurkens continues documenting his passion for the music, this time offering new compositions, includes previously recorded tunes and features the music of Brazilian/jazz masters Ivan Lins, Toninho ...

2
New York Beat

Helio Alves and Duduka Da Fonseca: The Indomitable Brazilians

Read "Helio Alves and Duduka Da Fonseca: The Indomitable Brazilians" reviewed by Nick Catalano


Undeterred by the pandemic, camaradas Helio Alves and Duduka Da Fonseca continue their masterful musicianship in Gotham boîtes wearing masks as they consistently perform ever-fresh music from the Brazilian archives. Performing at Smalls Jazz Club on April 28 in front of stouthearted souls representing New York's proud jazz patronage while streaming the show for worldwide adherents, they once again displayed their knowledge and command of Brazilian composers and compositions. Both samba stalwarts have fronted various combos in their ...

8
Album Review

The Brazilian Trio: Águas Brasileiras

Read "Águas Brasileiras" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky


Brazilian waters beckon with their beauty and energies, and this trio serves as a perfect vessel to carry the ears across that aqua viva. Pianist Helio Alves, bassist Nilson Matta and drummer Duduka Da Fonseca--three Brazilian heavies long based in New York—have played together in different configurations and situations for decades. And when they first banded together under this appellation for Forests (Zoho Music, 2008), they quickly earned the respect they so richly deserve by netting a Latin Grammy nomination. ...

4
Album Review

Helio Alves and Duduka Da Fonseca (HD2): Songs from the Last Century

Read "Songs from the Last Century" reviewed by Dr. Judith Schlesinger


One of the many delights of writing for All About Jazz is stumbling upon a great CD from the past, and being able to bring it to an audience that might have missed its debut. It's clear that Songs from the Last Century is one of these rare gems--even before a single note is heard, the list of players and songs suggests that something very special is going on.For one thing, the leaders are the superb pianist Helio ...

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300

Recording

Brazilian Pianist Helio Alves Releases "Musica" On Jazz Legacy Productions, November 9

Brazilian Pianist Helio Alves Releases "Musica" On Jazz Legacy Productions, November 9

Source: DL Media

LABEL DEBUT FEATURES REUBEN ROGERS & ANTONIO SANCHEZ, AMONG OTHER SPECIAL GUESTS While growing up in Sao Paulo, Brazil, studying classical piano, Helio Alves did not pay much attention to the samba and other indigenous rhythms that surrounded him. Yet today, as one of the most in-demand and consistently creative pianists on the international jazz scene, he incorporates samba, baião, and other Brazilian patterns into his technically stunning, rhythmically and harmonically challenging, and frequently rhapsodic approach to jazz. Such characteristics ...

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Performance / Tour

Helio Alves Quartet Appearing at Cachaca Friday & Saturday, December 14 and 15

Helio Alves Quartet Appearing at Cachaca Friday & Saturday, December 14 and 15

Source: Jim Eigo, Jazz Promo Services


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Performance / Tour

Bargemusic December and January Jazz Programs

Bargemusic December and January Jazz Programs

Source: Jim Eigo, Jazz Promo Services

THURSDAY NIGHT JAZZ SERIES AT BARGEMUSIC

For reservations and further information, please call: (718) 624-2083 Or e-mail us at [email protected] Tickets are $35 regular, $30 seniors, $20 students

Located at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge, Bargemusic began its Thursday night JAZZ Series starting in June 2007. Please find the September schedule below with more performances to come! Imagine a truly unique New York City location with charm, history and spectacular water views. A location that will delight ...

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Performance / Tour

Helio Alves Quartet Appearing at the Zinc Bar November 20, 21, 22 Sets at 9, 11 and 12:30PM

Helio Alves Quartet Appearing at the Zinc Bar November 20, 21, 22 Sets at 9, 11 and 12:30PM

Source: Jim Eigo, Jazz Promo Services


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Performance / Tour

Upcoming Appearances for the Helio Alves Trio the Kitano 8/2 + Litchfield Jazz Festival 8/5

Upcoming Appearances for the Helio Alves Trio the Kitano 8/2 + Litchfield Jazz Festival 8/5

Source: Jim Eigo, Jazz Promo Services

HELIO ALVES TRIO is; Helio Alves: Piano Lonnie Plaxico: Bass Ernesto Simpson: Drums

appearing at:

The Kitano Thursday, August 2nd 8:00 and 9:45 pm

66 Park Ave@ 38th St (212) 885 7119 (no cover charge)

August 5th at the Litchfield Jazz Festival With Matt Wilson and Lonnie Plaxico

“Alves' work melds a percussive edge with a lively, fluent right hand..." John Ephland ...

105

Performance / Tour

Helio Alves Trio Oct 11th at Sweet Rhythm

Helio Alves Trio Oct 11th at Sweet Rhythm

Source: All About Jazz

Helio Alves Trio

Helio Alves: Piano Santi Debriano: Bass Anthony Pinciotti: Drums

Oct 11th at Sweet Rhythm 88 Seventh Ave. (at Bleecker St.) (212) 255 3626 http://www.sweetrhythmny.com/ 2 Sets at 8 and 10 PM P

laying songs from Helio's CD Portrait in Black and White

“Brazilian pianist Helio Alves lets things rip with his samba-laced, straight-ahead Portrait in Black and White ... Alves' work melds a percussive edge ...

95

Performance / Tour

Helio Alves Quartet at 55 Bar Monday, September 11th

Helio Alves Quartet at 55 Bar Monday, September 11th

Source: Jim Eigo, Jazz Promo Services

Helio Alves Quartet

Helio Alves - Piano Vic Juris - Guitar Santi Debriano - Bass Ernesto Simpson - Drums

Playing songs from Helio's CD Portrait in Black and White

At the:

55 Bar 55 Christopher Street, NYC (212) 929 9883 Monday, September 11th Sets at 7 and 8PM http://www.55bar.com/

“Brazilian pianist Helio Alves lets things rip with his samba- laced, straight-ahead Portrait in Black ...

101

Performance / Tour

Brazilian Piano and Vocals Maucha Adnet & Helio Alves at Terrace in the Sky June 13

Brazilian Piano and Vocals Maucha Adnet & Helio Alves at Terrace in the Sky June 13

Source: All About Jazz

"Jazz in the Sky"

Produced by RobertaOnTheArts.com

At TERRACE IN THE SKY 400 West 119th Street (bet. Amsterdam Ave & Morningside Drive) New York, NY 10027 212.666.9490

Reservations suggested for guaranteed seating Sky Grille & Cash Bar. No Cover!

LIVE MUSIC 7:30PM - 9:30PM BAR OPEN LATE!

Spectacular skyline views & river views ** Outdoor tapas & grille Superb wines & exotic drinks ** Great networking events

106

Performance / Tour

Hendrik Meurkens-Helio Alves Brazilian Jzzz Duo Tuesday, March 21st at Cornelia Street Cafe

Hendrik Meurkens-Helio Alves Brazilian Jzzz Duo Tuesday, March 21st at Cornelia Street Cafe

Source: All About Jazz

HENDRIK MEURKENS - HELIO ALVES BRAZILIAN JAZZ DUO

Tuesday, March 21st 8:30 PM

at the CORNELIA STREET CAFE 29 Cornelia Street, NYC 10014 (212) 989-9319 http://www.corneliastreetcafe.com

Hendrik Meurkens, harmonica Helio Alves, piano

Hendrik Meurkens and Helio Alves have been playing together since 1994, when they first toured Europe with the Hendrik Meurkens Samba Jazz Quartet. That same year, they recorded their first CD October Colors.

In the last decade, Hendrik ...

92

Performance / Tour

Hendrik Meurkens and Helio Alves Brazilian Jazz Piano Duo February 6, 2006 at A Piano-Plus Jazz Series ( AC Pianocraft Showroom/Concert Space)

Hendrik Meurkens and Helio Alves Brazilian Jazz Piano Duo February 6, 2006 at A Piano-Plus Jazz Series ( AC Pianocraft Showroom/Concert Space)

Source: All About Jazz

February 4, 2006 To: Listings/Critics/Features From: JAZZ PROMO SERVICES Press Contact: JIM EIGO, [email protected] ? ? ? Reminder!!! RobertaOnTheArts.com and A.C. Pianocraft, Inc. www.RobertaOnTheArts.com and http://www.acpianocraft.com/homepage.asp Are Pleased to Announce A Piano-Plus Jazz Series February 6, 2006 Hendrik Meurkens and Helio Alves Brazilian Jazz Duo Hendrik Meurkens on Harmonica and Helio Alves on Antique Steinway All Concert Profits to be Sent to The New Orleans Musicians' Clinic http://wwoz.org/clinic/ $20/Ticket, At the Door, Includes 8 - 10 PM Concert, Wine, and ...

"Alves' work melds a percussive edge with a lively, fluent right hand." —John Ephland, Downbeat

"His performances were technically astonishing, showing great rhythmic, harmonic and improvisational strengths, which few, if any, could match. His melodic free form inventiveness and sense of time stood out like a free spirit seeking to liberate itself from all traditional constraints." —Bruce Gilman, brazzil.com

Photos

Music

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Algures

Self Produced
2024

buy

Keep Swingin'

Outside in Music
2024

buy

Where We Begin

Sunnyside Records
2024

buy

Jazz Brazil

TWMUSIC
2022

buy

Duduka Da Fonseca &...

Sunnyside Records
2022

buy

Elegant Fish

Self Produced
2021

buy

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