On June 21 Legacy & Alchemy and the U.S. Consulate in Rio de Janeiro will collaborate to honor Brazil’s music and the 60th Anniversary of Bossa Nova.
[Press Release – DL Media] While Brazilian music is deceptively categorized “world music,” Brazilian songwriter/singer Ivan Lins describes it as “total music” — a blend of jazz, Brazilian, ethnic musics, instrumental, sung, completely modern. In other words, it occupies many worlds.
On the 60th anniversary of bossa nova and in full agreement, Legacy & Alchemy CEO Robert Hebert was inspired to honor the totality of the great Brazilian music legacy and celebrate its place in the world.
In the spirit of “total music,” the ambitious 18-track double-CD Brazilian-American collaboration, Alexandra Jackson: Legacy & Alchemy, was conceived, executive produced and produced by Hebert with co-producer Larry Williams.
The passionate project pays homage to Brazil’s music legacy and its legends. Alexandra Jackson is featured on never-before-heard recordings by renowned American artists Miles Davis and Al Jarreau, Rod Temperton, and illustrious Brazilian greats Antonio Carlos Jobim, Oscar Castro-Neves and Dona Ivone Lara as well as with legends Ivan Lins, Carlinhos Brown, Banda Black Rio, Hubert Laws, Siedah Garrett, Daniel and Paulo Jobim, and Earth, Wind & Fire’s Larry Dunn and Al McKay collaborating with an array of Brazilian and American musicians. With Jackson’s brilliant vocal lead, the recording is a documentation of the longtime Brazil-U.S. rapport.
Alexandra Jackson: Legacy & Alchemy is already starting to open ears, including a rise to Top 30 on the Billboard Smooth Jazz Chart for the first single “All One,” and the music in rotation on over 150 radio stations as well as five songs from the album featured on five Sirius XM channels including Latin Jazz, Beyond Jazz, Fusion and Friday Fusion.
Recorded over three years in Rio de Janeiro, Los Angeles, Atlanta, London, New York and Chicago, with over 150 artists participating, Alexandra Jackson: Legacy & Alchemy sets the historical stage for an ongoing engagement with Brazilian and American music. Hebert says: “There is a reason Brazilian music resonates worldwide: the songs and musicianship, the sway of samba, and the wry elegance of bossa nova balanced the earthy and the refined. We are reintroducing this music to the mainstream, where it left off in the 1960s when Brazilian music was the most popular in the world until the British Invasion struck and tastes shifted.”
In producing Alexandra Jackson: Legacy & Alchemy, Hebert chose incredible songs that were hits in Brazil but that the world at large had not been exposed to. “The highest levels of Brazilian music and American jazz have always reverberated,” Hebert says. “We created an environment and commitment to the alchemy of the music, based on humans endeavoring to evolve the legacy of the music. Brazilian, African and American music have a history of connection due to the slave trade, and that’s what creates this sense of musical integrity, what ties it all together: Legacy & Alchemy.
On International Jazz Day (April 30), the U.S. Consulate in Rio de Janeiro and Legacy and Alchemy presented the first single from Alexandra Jackson: Legacy & Alchemy: “All One”, the Oscar Castro-Neves/Lorraine Castro-Neves beauty featuring Al Jarreau. “I adored Al since the first time I heard him playing with George Benson,” Jackson says. “Al was so good at bridging various styles of music and taking it to different people. Everyone loved him. For me it was magical the way this came together. It’s one of my favorite tracks on the album. In hindsight, we look back and marvel that ‘All One’ turned out to be Al’s last recording session.” (The tune was recorded by Castro-Neves in 2005 as his own last studio date, and there’s a sample of his voice from that session in the mix.)
Now, on June 21 at the U.S. consulate’s official “4th of July” celebration in Rio de Janeiro, Jackson will introduce the new recording of the tune “Corcovado.” The Tom Jobim classic highlights Miles Davis’trumpet from a project in the ‘60s, the songwriter’s vocals from a ‘90s recording, and a vocalese by Ivan Lins to accompany Jackson. “Everyone was supportive,” she says. “So here I was joining three musical icons. It came out great, but it was a monster of its own on this huge project.”
A sampling of other tracks on Alexandra Jackson: Legacy & Alchemy:
• Singer-songwriter Djavan’s percussive, jazzy “Amazon Farewell” — featuring Brazilian superstar composer-singer-percussionist Carlinhos Brown
• Ivan Lins’ classic “Anjo de Mim” — featuring a duet with Lins himself
• The sweet, swinging Antonio Carlos Jobim-Vinicius de Moraes bossa nova “A Felicidade” featuring Paulo and Daniel Jobim — from the seminal 1959 Black Orpheus, which is credited with launching samba and bossa nova to the world
As the centerpiece of Legacy & Alchemy, Jackson delivers the sensitivity, sensuality and strength to capture the essence of the songs, whether singing in English or Portuguese. She is the legacy of a remarkable, culturally and socially prominent African-American family — the daughter of Atlanta’s first African-American mayor, the late Maynard Holbrook Jackson Jr., and businesswoman and NPR personality Valerie Richardson Jackson. And her great aunt was Mattiwilda Dobbs, the African-American coloratura soprano who was one of the first black singers to enjoy a major international career in opera.
Beginning with Jackson studying jazz at the University of Miami, she went on to performing with Latin bands and Brazilian ensembles. “My musical influences have provided me with a broad taste in what I listen to and how I write and think about music,” she says. “I love the music of Ivan Lins, Carlinhos Brown, Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil, as well as that of Sarah Vaughan, Oscar Peterson, Take 6, Tony Bennett and Chaka Khan. And, as a member of Generation X, I also embrace the music of Maxwell, D’Angelo, the Brand New Heavies and Jamiroquai.”
“There’s a huge melting pot of music in our world today,” Jackson says. “Legacy & Alchemy offers the opportunity for people to step outside the box. It’s not just jazz, the blues, soul, bossa nova or samba, but it’s a mix of them all. These songs and the stories behind each is why I’m so passionate about this project. I want to take this music and transport it to reach millions of people. Brazil’s music deserves that and more.”
Alexandra Jackson: Legacy & Alchemy
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