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Brasil Jazz Festa

Every summer in the mountains of California’s Sonoma county, surrounded by Redwood trees, throngs of musicians gather for California Brazil Camp-annual two one week sessions in the late summer when musicians come together to learn about and celebrate Brazilian jazz music. Throughout the week, musicians learn from some of the top Brazillian jazz musicians from the United States and Brazil. Among their instructors is San Diego’s Mark Lamson, who plays in the bands Toquali and Alli and the Cats.

Among the most notable musicians to teach at the California Brazil Camp, Brazilian jazz guitarist Chico Pinheiro inspired San Diego jazz singer Allison Adams Tucker and local flute player Louisa West. After one of Pinheiro’s concerts in Los Angeles, he went out to dinner with a West, Tucker, and some other Brazilian jazz musicians. That dinner inspired West to call Tucker and suggest a concert dedicated to Chico Pinheiro. Local jazz aficionado Michael Andreen heard of West and Tucker’s efforts, and he offered to help support their efforts.

On the day of the jazz festival, Andreen brought a banner to the Chico Pinheiro Tribute concert commenced that read "Brazil Fest." That gave birth to a jazz festival that celebrated Brazilian jazz, rather than one particular artist, along with Tucker and West’s decision to rename it "Brasil Jazz Festa." In 2008, the first year of "Brazil Fest," 16 people performed; and Andreen opened the concert with a ribbon cutting ceremony. This year Tucker and West decided to keep the entertainment limited to 11 musicians in three bands. Those 11 musicians will overlap within those three groups, as various artists may perform in two or more groups, within the two hour music festival of three sets.

Among the those musicians involved, Tucker, West, and Lamson will each lead their own group. Tucker’s band will perform vocal jazz, West’s band will perform traditional jazz, and Lamson’s band will perform percussionist jazz. Tucker’s band, Alli and the Cats, consists of 2009 San Diego Music Award winner Danny Green on Piano, Evona Wascinski on bass, and Mark Lamson on drums. West will join Tucker’s band for a couple of songs, as well as will vocalist and bass guitarist Andy Villas-Boas. Since Lamson is a specialist in Brazillian music, and the leader of the Brazillian music and dance group Sol e Mar, they wanted him to incorporate more Brazilian rhythms. Green will also play Piano for Lamson’s band, and Justin Grinnel will play Bass.

This year, Brasil Jazz Festa will take place at the Encinitas Library on Sunday, November 22 from 2:00 to 4:00. Tickets will be available for $15.00 at the door. Other musicians and performers will include Jimmy Patton, Enrique Platas, Grant Clarkson, and Ruben Mello.

For those interested in Brazil Camp, campers can sleep in four person tents set on large platforms, raised above the ground; and for those who would like a little more privacy, they can bring their own tents. Throughout the two sessions, of which campers are welcome to take part in one or both, campers study instruments used in the production of Brazilian jazz. Those instruments include the Cavaquinho, Bateria, Pagode, and many other instruments. Campers will also learn the art of dance, such as Angola Arisha.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Alli and the Cats
  • Press Release Date: 11/22/2009
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