Brazilian Music at the Blue Note - The Hunter WORD
by Emilie Pons on Nov. 11, 2007
A full room on a November 4 Sunday night at the Blue Note in New York City. Four musicians on stage: bassist, saxophone player, drummer, pianist. While everybody is waiting for Rosa Passos to make her apparition on stage, the musicians play a smooth and jazzy tune.
When she finally arrives, she warmly greets everybody. “I don’t speak English,” she says, and continues in Portuguese. Her saxophone and flute accompanist translates for her. She is very happy to play in New York, at the Blue Note. It is a special occasion.
She sings songs from different albums, and while some in the crowd dance to her notes and rhythms, others already know the tunes and their lips pronounce the words. Passos knows how to create a vibrant atmosphere. Maybe it’s her language, her voice, her culture. Maybe it is her being so sulfurous. Or Brazilian. Brazil in New York. Probably a combination.
She enthralls the audience. Passos enjoys giving white roses to whomever is around her. She sings and dances at the same time. After performing in front of a long black Steinway, and before taking her guitar, Passos thanks her sound engineer who is her “spiritual son” and who travels with her all over the world: Europe, Asia, America. “Care, love and respect” stem from her relationships with her musicians, she says. “We are a family,” she adds.
Passos' interlude with the acoustic guitar, which she first uses as a drum, creates an even more intimate atmosphere. The sounds become colorful and at times the pianist interrupts to give room to the bass player, the saxophone and Passos. The saxophonist also becomes a flutist for certain tunes. Even on her third and last night at the Blue Note, Passos and her musicians know how to improvise and there is a time for each of them. This is what the Blue Note offers: A variety of improvisers, all more than competent, and each concert is made of two sets. The Count Basie Orchestra wraps up tonight.