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 Brazils
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 1970sextremely 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. Theres
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
an interview with
GUILHERME DIAS GOMES
Can you tell us where youre 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 its
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: Its 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 recordedLeste 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 balladsthey 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?
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
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. Theres 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?
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. Isnt it like a continent
on its own? What are your favorite parts of Brazil and is the different
music in different parts of Brazil? Whats 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?
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,
its 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
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 youve
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?
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.
Its 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.
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!