Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

613

Sandro Albert: A Bard’s Journey

Raul d'Gama Rose By

Sign in to view read count
When I got my first deal to record I went deep into composition and I did find it to be like DNA. We all have something that is radically different from each other. You just have to discover it.
His voice is soft and as lyrical as the music he composes and plays. Hearing the young and immensely talented guitarist, Sandro Albert speak can calm even the most frayed nerves. Nervousness was never an issue, but it is always exciting to speak with an accomplished musician. Albert is certainly one. He was born in Brazil and grew up there. Not long ago he moved to the United States—first to Los Angeles, then to New York City, which he has immortalized on Vertical (Daywood Drive Records, 2010).

Completely self-taught, Albert paid his dues in small clubs and shacks on the Brazilian circuit before he graduated to larger venues in Brazil that included music festivals. In 2002, he played at the prestigious North Sea Jazz Festival at the invitation of Musical Director Senders Grand. It was there that he performed with his friend Jimmy Haslip, on bass, as well as with the Yellowjackets' keyboardist, Russell Ferrante.

Albert has also worked with legendary Brazilian superstar Milton Nascimento on his first record, Soulful People (Visom, 2001). For his next album, he invited another friend, the late bassist Dave Carpenter to share production credits. It was on that album, A Beautiful Cloudy Day (Schoots Records, 2009), that Albert began to write counterpoint for horns and strings and produced a wonderful, richly hued sound on that celebrated record. As his writing matured and became more complex, Albert cut one more album featuring Airto Moreira on percussion and also featured Ferrante on keyboards, Edsel Gomez and Tamir Hendelman on piano as well as his regular reeds and woodwinds player, Katisse Buckingham and a plethora of guest musicians—including Mark Ledford. It was after this that Albert got down to working on his ode to New York City, releasing Vertical in the process. This album also features ideas he developed during his celebrated association with the late Jimmy Wyble.

All About Jazz: Let's start at the beginning: what was it like growing up in Porto Alegre, Brazil? The sights and sounds?

Sandro Albert: It was amazing! I had a great time in my childhood, going to school, climbing trees, swimming in the local river in summer; playing soccer and of course, the guitar. Soccer and the guitar were my deepest passions. I started playing the guitar, initially, because of the local girls from my neighborhood in Porto Alegre. I would learn the songs they liked and sing them in order to try and impress the girls. As a young guy I was a little bit shy and the guitar did help me to break the ice with the girls in my near my home and at school.

AAJ: Who was your first teacher and how did he or she help you put the sound and color you heard around you to music?

SA: I consider myself a street player, a self-taught musician who put a lot of time into practicing.

I bought my first guitar from an ice cream vendor who used to stay around the corner from where I lived. It was like a fairy tale: he would sit down under an old tree and play the guitar. I was fascinated and almost immediately hooked. After I got the guitar I came right down to earth. I quickly realized that I was going to have to put some time into it if I want to play. I was going to have to learn a lot about the guitar, but I had no idea where to begin. So I started going out more often to the local bars that offered live music and observe how the musicians played the instrument. Brazil has a long and rich tradition of guitar players. During the breaks in the set I would approach the musicians start a conversation and try to develop a friendship with them. I found that they were eager teachers and I always knew that I had something to learn from them.

Also, my parents were friends with this guy who had a choro quartet. The quartet would get together each week and play all the classics, from Ernesto Nazare to Pixinguinha to Jacob do Bandolim. I learned a lot by just listening at them playing.

AAJ: How much of a factor were your parents in your music formation? You have spoken of your father being an aficionado of Brasilian classical music—Heitor Villa-Lobos and others—How did this shape your discipline and your sound?

SA: My parents were always very supportive. When I decided that music was going to be my vocation and profession they really encouraged me to go ahead and be a musician. My father had lots of good records in our house and guys like Dilermando Reis, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Joao Gilberto and Villa Lobos were always playing in our living room over the weekend. Once I decided to play music at a more serious level, my father started to always tease me saying that a real musician would have to learn those—especially Villa Lobos' pieces and play the music of other masters like him. This egged me on and I started putting a lot more time into learning and transcribing their music.

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Julian Priester: Reflections in Positivity Interview Julian Priester: Reflections in Positivity
by Paul Rauch
Published: December 8, 2017
Read Aaron Goldberg: Exploring the Now Interview Aaron Goldberg: Exploring the Now
by Luke Seabright
Published: November 24, 2017
Read Pat Metheny: Driving Forces Interview Pat Metheny: Driving Forces
by Ian Patterson
Published: November 10, 2017
Read Bill Anschell: Curiosity and Invention Interview Bill Anschell: Curiosity and Invention
by Paul Rauch
Published: November 9, 2017
Read Tomas Fujiwara: The More the Better Interview Tomas Fujiwara: The More the Better
by Troy Dostert
Published: November 6, 2017
Read "Erik Friedlander: A Little Cello?" Interview Erik Friedlander: A Little Cello?
by Ian Patterson
Published: January 9, 2017
Read "Remembering Art Farmer" Interview Remembering Art Farmer
by Lazaro Vega
Published: April 19, 2017
Read "Ralph Towner: The Accidental Guitarist" Interview Ralph Towner: The Accidental Guitarist
by Mario Calvitti
Published: May 16, 2017
Read "Charles Lloyd: The Winds Of Grace" Interview Charles Lloyd: The Winds Of Grace
by Ian Patterson
Published: July 14, 2017
Read "Nat Hentoff: The Never-Ending Ball" Interview Nat Hentoff: The Never-Ending Ball
by Ian Patterson
Published: January 9, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!