GUILHERME DIAS GOMES
Leste
(Tratore Music)

 

Brazilian music is back on the international scene with the 2016 CD release of Leste by trumpet maestro Guilherme Dias Gomes. The eight song CD features Guilherme in the studio with some of Brazil’s finest jazz musicians, including Leo Amuedo (electric guitar), Rodrigo Bonelli (drums) and many others, toped off by the album's musical director / pianist David Feldman. With an upbeat CTI Records approach to modern instrumental jazz, Leste kind of echoes the historic jazz sounds of the late great Antonio Carlos (Tom) Jobim recorded in the late 1960s and early 1970s—extremely colorful and full of wild, swinging Brazilian grooves, complete with a full string section. Speaking about his impressive catalog of album releases, Guilherme tells mwe3.com, "I made 6 records in my career. Each one reflects a moment of my life and the influences of the era. Milhas e Milhas (1988), the first one, is fully inspired by the Miles Davis album Tutu. Jazz Brasileiro (1995) goes in the same direction, it's more like fusion than jazz. In Camaleão Urbano (1999) I was influenced by the Hip Hop sound of the era and took it this way. On L'Amour (2004) I tried to make a more jazzy record. There’s a place in Rio called Satchmo and I use to play every Saturday with my quintet for more than one year, so we were really together! I had to seize this moment with them. Autoral is like a L'Amour 2, but as the name says all compositions are mine. The same team playing with the addition of a trombone on some tunes. More mature than the previous one, I think. Then came Leste." Having released his first major solo work back in the late 1980s, Guilherme is hardly a newcomer to the jazz music scene. Fans of Brazilian jazz will get a positive musical vibe from Guilherme Dias Gomes and the swinging orchestral fusion sound of Leste. www.facebook.com / www.guilhermedg.com.br

 




mwe3.com presents an interview with
GUILHERME DIAS GOMES


mwe3
: Can you tell us where you’re from originally and where you live now and what you like best about it? What are your other favorite cities and countries to visit or perform in and have you been to or performed your music in the US yet?

Guilherme Dias Gomes: I'm from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and it’s where I live. I lived in Boston during 1978 and 1979 when I studied at the Berklee College Of Music, otherwise I have always lived in Rio. I'm not a guy who used to travel a lot but I feel very well in Italy. Germany, I also like for the organization but I think the city that attracts me most is New York City, for its music. But I'd never live in another city other than Rio de Janeiro, despite all its problems.

mwe3: How did your new album Leste take shape, when did you write the music and record it? Tell us about how you chose the title of the album Leste. What is the significance of the name and you also have the word Brasil right after it on the cover.

Guilherme Dias Gomes: I had gone seven years without making a new record so my wife said: ‘It’s time for a new one!’ I had plenty of time since I stopped working at TV Globo where I was a music producer for 22 years. I began to review my old songs that had never been recorded—“Leste” and “Flor do Agreste” are two of them that were composed in the 1970s! “Fetiche” I found on an old cassette tape from the ‘80s. It was completely different but as its harmony was very interesting, I gave it a good review and it was reborn. And so things were riding up in my head. I wanted to make a record that targeted my roots, so I needed to emphasize the Brazilian musical colors. The first track “Leste” (East) gave me a tip of the way forward, based on the rhythms of the coast of Brazil, not all of course. Baião, maracatu, samba, bossa nova and also a bit of the sophistication of Rio and São Paulo in the ballads—they inspired this work.

mwe3: How did you work with music director David Feldman and what did David bring to the sound of Leste? His piano performance is really first rate. How did you communicate your compositional and arranging ideas to David and the other players on the album? Did you choose the other musicians on the CD?

Guilherme Dias Gomes: I consider David a genius musician. It was very funny the way I met him. I was playing with my band many years ago in a jazz club in Rio when the bass player asked about a friend who wanted to sit in. I said no problem but when I saw the guy, it was a 16 years old boy! This will not work, I thought. I decided to choose a song not too hard, so I asked him, do you know “Solar” by Miles Davis? ‘Of course’, he said loudly! Well, we started playing, he looked like Herbie Hancock playing! It was a very good surprise. After that we became friends and always played together. I thought he was the right person for this disc from his knowledge of jazz and Brazilian music.

About the second question, I just wrote the charts and introduced them to David and the musicians. We rehearsed a lot in my home before going into the recording studio. The strings and percussion came later. David choose Andre Vasconcellos, the bass player. The other musicians were chosen by mutual agreement.

mwe3: Can you tell us about your earlier music releases and background in the Brazilian music scene?

Guilherme Dias Gomes: I made 6 records in my career. Each one reflects a moment of my life and the influences of the era. Milhas e Milhas (1988), the first one, is fully inspired by the Miles Davis album Tutu. Jazz Brasileiro (1995) goes in the same direction, it's more like fusion than jazz. In Camaleão Urbano (1999) I was influenced by the Hip Hop sound of the era and took it this way. On L'Amour (2004) I tried to make a more jazzy record on this one. There’s a place in Rio called Satchmo and I use to play every saturday with my quintet for more than one year, so we were really together! I had to seize this moment with them. Autoral is like a L'Amour 2, but as the name says all compositions are mine. The same team playing with the addition of a trombone in some tunes. More mature than the previous one, I think. Then came Leste.

mwe3: How has your music evolved over the past years and when did you decide to be a professional musician and are you also active in the Brazilian live music scene?

Guilherme Dias Gomes: I started studying music at age 6, the piano initially. The trumpet I began at 12 in the primary school music band. After I grew up, I was fond of architecture but was not so sure about following along, so I then joined the college of psychology but found it very boring. Parallel to all this, I never stopped playing as the music was always calling me. The decision to become a professional musician came at age 21, so I joined the college of music and graduated. Then I went to Berklee in Boston because it was the dream of every Brazilian musician to study there.

mwe3: Who were your favorite Brazilian musicians growing up? How about the Jobim influence in your music? I can really hear it. Was Antonio Carlos Jobim the Mozart of jazz in Brazil? Were you also influenced by the Brazilian classical composers, like Villa Lobos and are you also interested in heavier sounding jazz-rock fusion too?

Guilherme Dias Gomes: Yes, I am totally influenced by the music of Jobim, but not only him. I love the wonderful melodic lines of Edu Lobo. Ivan Lins also has a lot of influence in my head since I played with him several years and I was his musical director in 1994. Villa Lobos is like the father of all Brazilian music. There is no way of escaping it.

About my interest in jazz rock fusion, my brother, drummer Alfredo Dias Gomes took this path. I've been through it and you can hear it in my older records. It's great to play and one of Leste compositions, “Moak” is a funk that I made in honor of Alfredo. The cultural wealth that took place in in Brazil in the 1960s no longer exists.

mwe3: Brazil is so vast in size. Isn’t it like a continent on its own? What are your favorite parts of Brazil and is the different music in different parts of Brazil? What’s the climate like where you live? There are a lot of Brazilians especially here in South Florida so they must like the hot, tropical weather. What other countries do you like in South America and are the other countries in South America as jazz-friendly as Brazil?

Guilherme Dias Gomes: You could divide Brazil in many countries because it is very large and culturally different as colonization happened. My father's family are from Bahia and has Portuguese ancestry, while my mother's family are from São Paulo with Lebanese mixed with Italian. Portuguese, Lebanese and Italian is a typical Brazilian mix. I'm carioca and I live in my favorite place in Brazil. About the weather, it’s too hot for my taste. I suffer a lot in the summer! I think Florida is hot but not as much as Rio I guess. Do you have days with 108 degrees Fareneheit feeling like 122 degrees F too? I don't know any country in South America except Uruguay, which I found pretty cool.

mwe3: Do you write music all the time and do you write your music on trumpet or other instruments? What do you spend the most time with: the writing, arranging or recording of your music and what is the most detailed and intensive part of making your albums?

Guilherme Dias Gomes: When I was doing soundtracks for television I had to compose all the time but it was a completely different kind of music. In writing a song regarding a scene or a situation, the process of creation is different. Personal compositions do not come so quickly. Sometimes it takes years to develop an idea to the end product. I compose on the piano most of the time but sometimes it happens an idea comes on trumpet. I play valve trombone also.

I think in the process of making an album, all parts are very intensive but the creation of music is undoubtedly the most important because it is the raw material that I will work on.

mwe3: Tell us how you started on the trumpet and how long you’ve been playing? What are your favorite trumpets to play? Most people know Fenders and Gibsons so what are the top trumpet makers and how do you stay in shape as a trumpet master musically?

Guilherme Dias Gomes: I began playing trumpet at age of 12 in the primary school band. When they decided to start a band, they asked who wanted to play and what instrument. At first I chose the saxophone but they already had saxophonist. I then chose the trombone but they also had trombonist. So then they told me I was going to play the trumpet and it was so! I have played the trumpet for 54 years.

I've had many trumpets but currently play on a 1968 Conn Connstellation. It’s not easy playing trumpet, but its jazz sound is incomparable! Leste was recorded with a Schagerl model James Morrison with a B2,5 Monette mouthpiece.

Keeping in shape on trumpet is just like being an Olympian athlete, you have to train every day. The difference is that the muscles you need to play are 90 percent on your face!

mwe3: Who are your favorite trumpet players and what period and what style of trumpet playing is your favorite? I guess Miles set the pace but later day players like Mark Isham and Mike Metheny have done a lot too. How about trumpet history?

Guilherme Dias Gomes: My favorite American trumpeters are Freddie Hubbard, Woody Shaw, Tom Harrel, Miles Davis and Chet Baker. I like Kenny Wheeler, from England too and my favorite style is the hard bop. I was lucky to be a student and also a great friend of my two Brazilian idols, Claudio Roditi and Marcio Montarroyos.

mwe3: What kind of album would you like to do next? Is there a way to bring your music to even more music fans? Are you planning to follow in the “sound path” of Leste for the next album? What other plans do you have for this year as far as writing and playing your music in Brazil and elsewhere?

Guilherme Dias Gomes: I have no idea regarding what will be my next album yet. I'm still very focused on Leste. But yes, you're right, maybe I'll follow in the sound path of Leste - its acceptance was great!




 

 
   
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