Guilherme Monteiro, eletric and acoustic guitars.
Jerome Sabagh, tenor saxophone
Ben Street, bass
Jochen Ruckert, drums.
Jorge Continentino, pifano and alto flute.
Gilmar Gomes, congas, udu, acoustic guitar and bell shaker.
Yayo Serka, cajon and udu.
Alan Hampton, bass
Chiara Civello, voice
Lila Downs, voice
"Whenever I put on a record at home, I do it with the desire of altering the atmosphere of the room in a certain way. I look for a certain feeling the music gives me, and that’s how I choose the record I want to listen to. That is what I tried to accomplish with “Air”. Despite having such different tracks, to have one definite “color” trough out the album. It is poetic and free, although it has a definite structure. The common thread here is a general feeling of emotionally charged music and a “songlike” feel in all the tunes, whether they are instrumental or vocal."
This piece was inspired by turmoil and how you can still find peace in the middle of it all, through meditation, prayer or songwriting. The band really captured the feeling of restlessness I had in mind when I wrote it.
2. Retrato De Um Forro
Lila Downs was actually the one who first showed me this song by Luiz Gonzaga. I wanted to give it a different treatment. To mix up Northeastern Brazilian Forro with Afro-Peruvian Lando we used the Cajon, Congas and two Udus, which made the song light despite of its groovy nature. Jorge’s Pifano (a traditional wooden flute) sends us back to the region of Cariri in Northeastern Brazil. The style in which I played the guitar is what I call jokingly, “Bandolero Forro”, a sort of Mexican inspired way of playing this very Brazilian style. Lila sings her heart out on this song, throwing some unexpected turns in a conversational improvisation with the Pifano on the final vamp.
This is a popular song from the 70’s by Tavinho Moura. He is one of the most underrated composers of the XXth century, due, I think, to his unassuming character and lack of releases outside Brazil. I always wanted to play it because I knew it would work wonderfully in Jazz format. I just added an Intro/Outro to it. The guys did a great job making its tricky corners sound as smooth as a 4/4 song.
4. Longing For The Future
It is ultimately a pop ballad disguised by its tempo changes. I play the head and Ben Street takes a gorgeous solo on the A sections.
This song was written out of pure happiness. I was in Caraiva, which is a special place for me. It is a small fisherman’s village in Brazil, where I was without a guitar for weeks until I met this really nice guy who would let me hang out at his place and play his old guitar. That’s where I wrote this tune. Inspired by the sound of waves on the background and the joy of being reunited with an instrument. Jerome and I solo together, giving a kind of wavelike feel to the piece, rather than just pure “blowing”.
Gilmar wrote this song for his son, Joel. He played the rhythm guitar and sang beautifully. For me it is an African-inspired song, but the way Yayo plays the Cajon brings us back to South America. It’s worth it to notice that until the solo the only instruments being played are the two guitars and the Cajon, but still the sensation of fullness is of one of a full band. Jorge takes a nice alto flute solo at the end.
7.View From The Top Of A Mountain
I wrote the music and lyrics of this song almost simultaneously. It’s a bit dark and psychedelic. I guess I had Led Zeppelin IV in the back of my mind while writing it. Ben played gorgeously throughout the piece, Jochen played with mallets and I overdubbed some ethereal electric guitar over the acoustic I had tracked live. Chiara sang it like it was one of her own songs. She interpreted it with perfect emotion and precision, despite of the difficult parts and range of the melody.
A very interactive track, it reminds me of some of the late 60’s Blue Note albums as well as the CTI label from the early 70’s. Ben holds an ostinato bass line while everyone else interacts on the solo section.
9. Vento Sul
I wrote this song when I was 20 years old. Vento Sul means “south wind” in Portuguese, and when this wind is blowing, it means that a cold front will bring clouds and rain to the beach in Brazil. I wrote it in a small beach village called Itaunas, and it did rain for the whole month I was there. That didn’t stop the trip from being one of the best of my whole life. It’s the only song that I kept from that early period of my life.
10. Todo O Amor Do Mundo
It is a simple song about love, romantic and universal. On this piece I really explore the feeling of complete silence. The goal was to make the listener hear his (her) own thoughts or just the silence in the room in certain key points in the piece.
Guilherme Monteiro was born in Rio de Janeiro on July 20th 1971. He started playing music at the age of seven and to learn the guitar at the age of twelve in Sao Paulo. By the age of fifteen he was performing in jazz clubs and teaching privately in the city of Belo Horizonte, soon becaming one of the most respected musicians in that city. In Belo Horizonte Guilherme played with renowned musicians Toninho Horta and Tavinho Moura at the age of nineteen. These composers had an strong impact on his musicianship as they brought him closer to the roots of Minas Gerais through their modern and sophisticated approach.
In 1999 Guilherme was accepted to the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance, a highly selective program that accepts eight students of each instrument after auditioning musicians from all over the world. At the Institute he studied privately with Clark Terry, with whom he also performed, and Jimmy Heath, who he performed with at the Kennedy Center and taught a clinic at the Duke Ellington High School, among others.
Living in New York City since 2000 Guilherme has played and recorded with some of the most repected musicians in town, such as Kenny Werner, two records with Ron Carter and Grady Tate for Harry Allen, Slide Hampton’s Jobim’s project with Claudio Roditi and Duduka da Fonseca, Lee Konitz, Randy Brecker, Joao Bosco and Johnny Alf. Last September Guilherme and Lionel Loueke performed in duo at the 3rd International Guitar Festival in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
Throughout the years he has been living in New York, Guilherme has lent his unique sound to help shape the music of very different artists. He is featured on Kurt Elling's latest release, Night Moves alongside Christian Mc Bride and Bob Mintzer, Eliane Elias’ cd “Dreamer” (with Mike Manieri, Mark Johnson, Michael Brecker and Paulo Braga), Chiara Civello’s “Last Quarter Moon” (produced by Russ Titleman) and Luciana Souza's acclaimed release, “Duos II”, which won her a nomination for the Grammy of best Jazz vocalist of 2004.
He was a member of Lila Downs’ band, with whom he toured for four years and recorded two albums. The first one of them (One Blood) won a Latin Grammy for best Folk album. Guilherme is also a current member of Duduka Da Fonseca’s Quintet with which he recorded it’s latest release, Samba Jazz In Black And White and the band Forro in the Dark, with whom he is helping to redefine Brazilian music for this century. With Forro, Guilherme had the opportunity to collaborate with special guests David Byrne, Miho Hatori and Bebel Gilberto on the band’s latest album, Bonfires of Sao Joao.
Besides leading his own band, Guilherme is the co-leader of a jazz quartet featuring Jorge Continentino, hosting a weekly house gig at NYC's hot spot Nublu. He was also a member of Bebel Gilberto's band alongside his band mates from Forro In The Dark. Most recently, Guilherme was featured on Ron Carter’s latest release for Blue Note Records, Jazz & Bossa. A collection of Mr. Carter’s originals together with classics the legendary bassist recorded in the past.
© Guilherme Monteiro, Pigmeus Music (ASCAP)
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