David Chesky

The New York Chorinhos

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If someone were assigned to write a book about the history of Brazilian music, it would be a challenging assignment because so many different types of music have come from Brazil -- not only samba and the bossa nova, but also Tropicalia, forro, baiĆ£o, embolada, frevo, serteneja, and lambada. Brazil is the largest country in Latin America, and a country that huge is bound to produce a variety of regional styles. In Rio de Janeiro, one style that preceded samba was choro, which goes back to the 19th century and continued to evolve in the 20th century (when everyone from Heitor Villa-Lobos to Laurindo Almeida to Eliane Elias embraced choro). The New York Chorinhos is David Chesky's inspired acknowledgment of choro; this 1990 effort finds the pianist/producer forming a duo with Brazilian acoustic guitarist Romero Lubambo and putting his own spin on the choro rhythm. A New Yorker who has a background in both classical and jazz, Chesky doesn't play choro like a true carioca (native of Rio). But then, that's what makes this CD intriguing -- Chesky plays choro on his own terms, and that means incorporating jazz and European classical elements. It also means doing all the composing. Chesky wrote all 16 of the pieces, and the titles have some type of New York reference -- titles like "Brooklyn Bridge," "Madison Avenue," "Park Avenue," "Washington Heights," and "Soho Waltz." A true carioca, of course, would be making Rio de Janeiro references. But then, Chesky never claimed to be a carioca. He's an American jazz/classical pianist who has a strong appreciation of Brazilian music, and that appreciation serves him well on this consistently interesting CD.

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