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Acclaimed Brazilian Guitarist Ricardo Silveira Releases 'Solo' On Moondo Music

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The amazing Brazilian jazz/world guitarist steps out on his own and struts his stuff with no embellishment and no embellishment needed. Real guitar fans will be smitten by its dexterous simplicity. Tasty throughout, this is the result of chops that have been cooking over a slow flame for a long time. Hot.
—Chris Spector, Midwest Record
Ricardo Silveira
Renowned Brazilian guitarist Ricardo Silveira released his first solo album, aptly titled Solo (April 16, 2021, Moondo Music LLC). Silveira is a prolific recording and performing artist in both Brazil and the United States. He has worked with a Who’s Who of legendary Brazilian artists, and he has recorded over a dozen albums as a leader or co-leader. He has also appeared on numerous CDs as a sideman for other artists, including Elis Regina, Milton Nascimento, Wayne Shorter, Gilberto Gil, Ivan Lins, Joao Bosco, Gregg Karukas, Marcos Ariel, Diana Ross, Vanessa Williams, and others.

Silveira grew up in Rio de Janeiro, surrounded by the lush rhythms of Brazilian music. Attracted to the top rock and blues acts of the day, like The Beatles, Jimmy Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Cream, and BB King, hand he began playing guitar at the age of 11. He also started exploring jazz artists like Dave Brubeck, Miles Davis, Joe Pass, George Benson, and Wes Montgomery.

Silveira started developing his chops by jamming with friends and playing at various school shows and festivals. He decided to become a professional musician and began studying classical guitar and music theory to pursue his music studies in college. Although Brazilian universities at that time offered courses in music, they didn’t offer courses specifically designed for guitar, so Silveira signed up for a summer course at Berklee College of Music in Boston. That summer course changed his life as he got a scholarship to continue studying at Berklee. He also began shuttling regularly back and forth between Brazil and the U.S.

While in Boston, he met guitarist Bill Frisell, who recommended him for a salsa band called Latin Stars. It was the beginning of Silveira’s career as a professional musician. When he wasn’t in school or playing gigs, Silveira also started travelling back and forth to New York City to play music and hang out with friends. Another Brazilian guitarist, Claudio Roditi, soon told renowned flutist Herbie Mann about Silveira.

Mann was one of the pioneers of fusing jazz and World music. At the time, he was looking for a Brazilian guitarist who could play Brazilian rhythms as well as straight-ahead jazz, blues, and other styles. He hired Silveira on the spot. Silveira quit Berklee, moved to New York, and spent two years performing and recording with Mann. While living in New York, he also began working as a studio musician with some of the top jazz musicians around, like Steve Gadd, Richard Tee, Marcus Miller, Michael Brecker, Jason Miles, and Nana Vasconcelos. He has shared the stage with Sergio Mendes, Dave Grusin, Oscar Castro-Neves, Dori Caymmi, Diana Ross, Justo Almario, Toots Thielemans, Baby Face, Pat Metheny, Ernie Watts, and Abe Laboriel, among many others. He toured Europe and made eight trips to Japan with Sadao Watanabe and Don Grusin.

Silveira recorded his first album as a leader in 1984 for the Polygram label. The album, Bom De Tocar (Good to Touch), became a huge radio hit and established his reputation as a top recording artist in his own right. He moved to Los Angeles not long after the album was released. He explains, “I travelled to Southern California several times to perform, and after living in Boston and New York for several years, I just wanted a change. And coming from Brazil, I really wanted to move to a warmer climate.”

Silveira became a regular on the California jazz scene and went on to record albums for several labels, most notably four CDs for Verve Forecast between 1988 and 1992, and an album for Kokopeli, Herbie Mann’s label, in 1995. He also released six albums for the Adventure Music label, the New York-based label which became a home for many Brazilian, African, and New Age musicians. His first release for Adventure, Noite Clara, received a Latin Grammy nomination for Best Instrumental Album in 2004.

Silveira played on Randy Brecker’s Randy in Brazil, which won a Grammy in 2009 for Best Contemporary Jazz Album. Also in 2009, Silveira was the music director for singer-songwriter Joao Bosco’s I'm Not Going to Heaven, But No Longer Live on the Ground, which was nominated for the Brazilian Music Award and a Latin Grammy Award in 2010.

Like almost all musicians, Silveira’s normally busy touring schedule became wide open because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Quarantined at home, he decided it was a good opportunity to finally record a solo album. At first, he considered just putting out his music on YouTube, but he changed his mind after talking with Colombian-American guitarist, Juan Carlos Quintero, who recently revived his label, Moondo Music LLC. Silveira’s album was a perfect fit for the high-quality, artistically rendered jazz and World Music that Quintero envisions for his label.

Solo is an atmospheric, romantic album that pairs well with a glass of wine on a balmy night. JazzTimes Magazine has said, “Silveira chooses each note carefully, and his compositions are wonderfully detailed yet understated.” Silveira included six of his original tunes, all of which he recorded on previous albums but re-imagined here for solo guitar, as well as songs by great Brazilian composers Marcos Valle & Paulo Sergio Valle, Antonio Carlos Jobim, and Johnny Alf, as well as a gorgeous rendition of Rodgers & Hart’s “My Romance.”

Silveira’s music is graceful, and his style is straight-ahead, contemporary, and audience friendly. Although Latin jazz and Brazilian flavors are sprinkled throughout this album, the music is reflective and airy while still maintaining its groove-based roots.

Solo is now available on Spotify, Amazon, iTunes and all digital platforms.

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