Travessia, the first of several live videos from Serenata makes its debut.
Live: Gregg Karukas Plays Travessia from his album Serenata
One of pianist Gregg Karukas’s goals for Serenata was to record several of the album’s best songs, live in-studio. Today the first of these has been released to fans worldwide.
‘Travessia’ (‘Crossing’) is Serenata’s opening track for both the CD and digital release, a heartfelt tribute to the music of Milton Nascimento, Dori Caymmi and several of Brazil’s best songwriters from one of the most creative periods in Brazilian pop (MPB).
Most Brazilian music fans can point to a special moment, a bond with a particular song or musician that made a lasting impression, and Gregg’s personal attachment to this song by Milton Nascimento made him a fan for life.
“My parents had Antonio Carlos Jobim’s Wave album and I was playing the standard Bossa Nova tunes on lounge and jazz gigs as a teenager,” Gregg recalls.
“I was lucky to become friends with Mitch Rubin, the cook at Harold’s Rogue and Jar, the jazz club in Washington, DC. Mitch had lived in Brazil and he let me borrow a stack of classic MPB LP’s from Milton Nascimento, the classic Clube da Esquina albums, Edu Lobo, João Bosco, Chico Buarque, to name a few. I copied them all to cassettes and I still have them.”
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‘Travessia’ is the opening song of Milton Nascimento’s record debut, released to the Brazilian market in 1967 and in the USA in 1969, under the title ‘Bridges’ with Milton singing in English on several songs.
‘Travessia’ was first heard at the 2nd International Song Festival in late October 1967 in Rio de Janeiro, where Milton’s performance was seen nationally by TV Globo. The song took second place, but led to Milton’s first recording deal, with Creed Taylor in the USA.
On the album’s 50th anniversary in 2017, Radio Brasil de Fato noted that ‘Travessia’ was the album that forever changed the sound of Brazilian music. In an interview with the station, long-time friend, and member of Clube da Esquina put it this way:
“There was nothing like that in Brazilian music, in the vast Brazilian songbook, there was no such thing as Travessia. It wasn’t bossa nova, it wasn’t samba-song, it was a super original song, unprecedented, by a guy named Milton Nascimento.”
Listen to Travessia
Recorded Live, Gregg Karukas plays ‘Travessia’ with the same sense of longing and passion found in Milton’s original recording. While the lyrics tell the story of moving on from lost love, pianist Gregg Karukas allows the melody to carry the story; capturing the uniquely Brazilian sense of Saudade throughout the song.
Listen, and you can’t help but be moved by his solo piano tribute to a song which has touched the lives of millions worldwide.
Live: Gregg Karukas Plays Travessia From Serenata
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