Minas: A Brazilian Jazz Love Story

Brazilian Jazz group Minas
Orlando Haddad and Patricia Kng lead the Philly-based Brazilian jazz group Minas.

by Scott Adams

From the very beginning, the Philadelphia-based group Minas has enjoyed a special relationship with the music they create. It’s grown to become a Brazilian jazz love story for Orlando Haddad and Patricia King.

It’s been a special relationship for The Sounds of Brazil, too. I selected their song ‘Dream Of Brazil’ as the closing theme for my radio show when it debuted in 1992.

It was an easy decision: no other song in my music library back in those early days was more in tune with my vision for Brazilian music, ‘on the air’.

Orlando Haddad and Patricia King were immediately generous with their enthusiasm and support and we’ve kept up our musical relationship over the years.

You might say they have a marriage made in musical heaven.

Beginnings

Founded in 1978, Minas was a labor of the love for Brazilian music. King and Haddad, while coming from different cultures and backgrounds, found common ground, romance, and musical inspiration along the way.

“We met in college. We both went to the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem. I came there from Rio to study composition, and Patricia came from Pennsylvania to study opera. We were colleagues and took a lot of classes together,” Haddad says.

“Patricia would approach me and show me things that she had written. She was interested in having Portuguese lyrics, and she gave them to me. I really liked them and wrote lyrics for them. We began collaborating a little bit and singing some Sergio Mendes tunes and then we immediately started working and getting gigs.”

A Brazilian Jazz Mainstay

Today, the band is one of Philadelphia’s most popular musical acts. Their music has appeared in film, television, and public and college radio, and their success has led to a string of CDs.

Since its inception, Minas hasn’t slowed down and the husband and wife team continue to be amazed at their Brazilian band’s success.

“We’re having a great year, presented our two major shows “Symphony in Bossa” and “La Giara, The Water Jug” in April”, says Haddad.

“We played in New York City in June where we also received an award given by The Brazilian Community Heritage Foundation – “Os Notáveis”.

“Currently we’re visiting studios and finishing up arrangements for our upcoming project Beatles in Bossa Nova, to be released as a double vinyl album and CD. And this October, we’ll be in Portugal, performing in Cascais, a beach town not too far from Lisbon.”

And so it goes. 

Brazil’s Own ‘Philly Sound’

Musically, Minas builds its Brazilian jazz sound on Haddad and King as the core of the group. But the band is flexible performing and recording as a duo, sextet, or even as a big band with orchestra.

 “One of the wonderful things we’ve been able to do is a lot of concert work with our original music, go to a lot of venues, and just play a whole evening of original compositions,” King says.

“We’ve had a great response and that’s very nice. We haven’t had to go and do a lot of covers and other kinds of things musically to make it here in Philadelphia, so it’s been a great city for us.

At the heart of Minas’s blend of pop, samba and Brazilian jazz is Haddad playing guitar and Patricia at the piano, with both singing.

Both also compose and write for the band, with songs sung in Portuguese and English with a stellar mix of classical, jazz, and Bossa Nova rhythms.

As Haddad notes, Minas hopes for that perfect blend of opposites – the old and new, the antiquated and the modern, male and female, north and south, samba and jazz, English and Portuguese – a dichotomy of sound that continues to please audiences.

Minas: A Brazilian Jazz Love Story