Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Sambeleza: Brazilian songs and Pulsing rhythms

There's something fun and uplifting about gathering some friends, packing a picnic with a favorite bottle of wine and coming out to the park for a relaxed evening of delicious music. 

So it is with happy anticipation that we invite you to kick off this Summer's Twilight Tuesdays concert series with Sambeleza, on Tuesday, July 21, at 7:30 p.m. in the Park of the Arts behind Neighborhood Music School. Learn more.
Sambeleza performs a wide variety of Brazilian songs - both old and new - with a jazz twist. The pulsing rhythms, lilting melodies and colorful harmonies create a vibe that's both spicy and chill. NMS faculty member and jazz great Jeff Fuller plays bass and vocals, with Joe Carter on guitar and Isabella Mendes on keyboards and vocals. 
Sambeleza derives its name from two words: samba, the national dance of Brasil, and beleza, Portuguese for 'beauty'. The trio creates tapestries of guitars, percussion and vocals in both Portuguese and English to interweave the traditional sounds of bossa nova and samba with exciting jazz improvisation. They are outstanding U.S. and Brazilian interpreters of the great songs from the bossa nova and samba traditions, as well as outstanding jazz artists in their own right.
An integral part of the Connecticut, New York and international jazz scenes, Jeff Fuller toured worldwide and recorded with saxophonists Lou Donaldson and Paquito D'Rivera. He has played with jazz masters from all styles and eras including such diverse artists as Dizzy Gillespie, Mose Allison, "Papa" Jo Jones, Gerry Mulligan, and Clark Terry. Fuller is one of the most sought after jazz bassists in Connecticut, and currently leads his own ensembles in many jazz venues.

Jeff teaches private lessons at NMS and is a faculty member for NMS's Summer Jazz Program, a week-long intensive workshop that draws students from all over the region.  In addition to his own local performances, Fuller leads the NMS Premier Jazz Ensemble, an auditioned group which often represents the School at area festivals, fairs and concerts. He also teaches at the ACES Educational Center for the Arts, a magnet high school which is attended by many NMS students. 

In September, 2014, Jeff Fuller was awarded Jazz Haven's "Unsung Heroes Award," presented to him "For all you have done in presenting and preserving the culture and music of jazz." 

Several people spoke about Jeff at the Jazz Haven awards presentation, but especially poignant words came from fellow musician, NMS Jazz Department Chair and Jazz Haven Board member Jesse Hameen II, who said "Jeff has been, and still is, touching the hearts and minds of young people; helping facilitate their careers and giving them ... not just music lessons, but life lessons... [many people can perform gigs or record their own music] but to make sure you leave a legacy in the hearts and lives of many people who will carry it on, that's beautiful."