Led by SPC music department honcho and Helio Orchestra director Dr. David Manson, the band is fronted by his wife,
native Rio chanteuse Andrea Moraes, and joining the couple are bassist Alejandro Arenas and drummer Mark Feinman, both from Latin band La Lucha, along with keyboardist John Richardson of Infinite Groove Orchestra, and "monster" sax player/flutist Austin Vickrey on saxophone and flute.
Moraes sings mainly in Portuguese, and Manson plays the trombone and pandeiro (more or less, a tambourine). Moraes entertained audiences between tunes with her tough, wise-crackin' and deadpan humor. She'd say, "Why is everyone laughing? I wasn't being funny." Manson would reply, "It's nervous laughter, dear."
Dynamic and subtly passionate, Moraes sang with a range that went from whisper soft to belly-socking belt-outs, drawing from Brazilian greats like Elis Regina.
O Som Do Jazz's repertoire includes some less-than-standard (to U.S. folks) Brazilian samba, bossa nova and MPB (Musica Popular Brasilera) — Milton Nascimento ("Cravo e Canela," "Edu Lobo" ("Casa Forte" and "Upa Neguinho"), Jorge Mautner ("Maracatu Atomico"), Antonio Adolfo ("Zabumbaia"), Chico Buarque ("Manguiera"), an original or two and songs by the greatest songwriter of the last century, Tom Jobim ("Felicidade," "So Tinha de Ser Com Voce") and more.
The band has hovered under the radar but is truly a local gem. Be sure to check them out at the Museum of Fine Arts' jazz series Aug. 3 if you haven't seen 'em yet.
Also, they would kindly appreciate it if you'd get off your bum and dance a little. Trust us, at least a few in the tunes in their set should move you to do so if you have even the faintest pulse.
"We try to play Brazilian songs the right way because it is awesome soul-shaking music and deserves the best efforts," said Manson, who should be dubbed an honorary Brasiliero for his seemingly infinite knowledge of the South American nation's music and skilled technique in performing the genre.
Samba de Janeiro
Garota de Ipanema
So Tinha De Ser Com Voce
Brisa do Nordeste
Tarde em Itapoa
Cravo e Canela
Mais Que Nada
Piano na Mangueira