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Take Five with Ricardo Bacelar


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Meet Ricardo Bacelar

Ricardo Bacelar is a Brazilian composer, multi-instrumentalist, and producer. He began his musical career at a young age and was initially influenced by classical, jazz, and Brazilian styles, which significantly contribute to his work today. Throughout his career, he has had numerous accomplishments, garnering top radio play in the U.S., among other notable media coverage domestically and abroad. For many years, Bacelar was a member of the Hanoi Hanoi rock band from Rio de Janeiro that experienced a lot of fame and commercial success, and he has recorded with many notable musicians, such as Belchior, Erasmo Carlos, Luiz Melodia, Adriana Calcanhoto, Ednardo, Lulu Santos, Amelinha, and others. He founded Jasmin Studio, one of the preeminent recording studios in Latin America, along with his record label Jasmin Music which represents a comprehensive catalog of music from some of Brazil's leading artists.


Piano, voice, and multi-instrumentalist.

Teachers and/or influences?

My teachers were Celia Mota, Ricardo Bezerra and Koellreutter. My greatest influences are Keith Jarrett, Egberto Gismonti, Chick Corea, Lyle Mays, J S Bach and Debussy.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when...

When I couldn't do anything else but play. I was sixteen.

Your sound and approach to music.

I like to be in the flow of improvisation and composition. The music appears inside my mind. I sing the sound in my mind, and it flows.

Your teaching approach

My teaching approach is to explore harmony and play with freedom, take risks, and to get out of your comfort zone.

Your dream band

Marcus Miller on bass, Dave Weckl on drums, Wayne Shorter on saxophone, Herbie Hancock on piano, John Scofield on guitar, and Paulinho DaCosta on percussion.

Road story: Your best or worst experience

I was in Tokyo, playing in a jazz club for a small audience, and I received a kind of attention and silence so profound that I thought they could hear my breathing. This was unusual for me.

Favorite venue

Theatro José de Alencar, in my city of Fortaleza, state of Ceará. It's a beautiful historic building with good acoustics.

Your favorite recording in your discography and why?

My favorite recording is Ao vivo no Rio, a live recording in Blue Note Rio (2019). The sound and acoustics of the jazz club were warm and offered a very spontaneous performance.

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically?

I believe in combining the musical influences from my background and my origins with other esthetic elements.

Did you know...

I am an amateur photographer and love to take pictures on trips.

The first jazz album I bought was:

Black Market from Weather Report.

Music you are listening to now:

Kandace Springs (Blue Note)
Pedro Martins (Heartcore Records)
Fabia Mantwill (Self Produced)
Gilberto Gil (Warner)
Frederic Chopin

Desert Island picks:

Egberto Gismonti (ECM)
Keith Jarrett (ECM)
Lyle Mays (with Metheny Group)
Elis Regina (Universal Music)
Ivan Lins (Universal Music)

How would you describe the state of jazz today?

I believe jazz is everywhere because the fusions happen along the way throughout time, and nowadays, there are lots of possible ways to combine improvisation with other sonorities.

What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing?

It's necessary to get young people to know and appreciate jazz. Stimulate young people to improvise and study the classics and transform this expression into a type of future communication. That's the challenge.

What is in the near future?

I have several projects going on: Brazilian music, jazz, soundtracks, and collaborations with other musicians. I want to schedule a tour of my recent record, Congênito.

What is your greatest fear when you perform?

Losing emotion.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

"The Koln Concert part 1" by Keith Jarrett.

What is your favorite song to whistle or sing in the shower?

Trenzinho Caipira by Villa-Lobos. And any music by Antonio Carlos Jobim.

By Day:

I'm a lawyer and consul of Belgium.

If I weren't a jazz musician, I would be a:


If I could have dinner with anyone from history, who would it be and why?

Mahatma Gandhi. To try to understand from where all that light comes.

What is your vision about the future of musical production?

I believe that we have to keep in mind the importance of developing catalogs. Today, widespread commercial success in the music industry is the best way to make money. But the new business of streaming doesn't offer a fair remuneration for most creators. In the long-term, the future of music will suffer due to this emptiness if music is not being created and supported on many levels.

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