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Straight No Chaser - A Jazz Show

Welcome to Straight No Chaser, the Award-winning Podcast hosted by Jeffrey Siegel

Sep 12, 2012

Drummer/Composer Duduka Da Fonseca is a blender, set at high speed. The Brazilian drummer (born in Rio De Janeiro in 1951), who arrived in New York City in 1975, has been actively exploring the perfect marriage and mixture of jazz and samba since forming his first Samba Jazz trio as a precocious 14 year old (a band he called "Bossa Trio"), with brother Miguel on bass. Over the years Da Fonseca has becomea master at combining these seemingly disparate worlds, and has emerged as one of the foremost proponents of the genre.

Flowing from his heart, his head and his hands, these two rich musical forms amalgamate as one glorious sonic experience that is the modern Samba-Jazz juggernaut, The Duduka Da Fonseca Quintet. The group's new recording on Anzic Records, Samba Jazz - Jazz Samba, features his friend Anat Cohen (tenor saxophone, clarinet), and long-time collaborator Helio Alves (piano) among other Brazilian stalwarts.

Duduka is the first call percussionist for Brazilian music in New York, and he is a founder of two top working bands, Trio de Paz and the Brazilian Trio. He also rounded out the trio in the recent release from guitarist Roni Ben-Hur and bassist Santi Debriano entitled Our Thing.

I spoke with Duduka last month, and we talked at length about his beginnings as a self-taught drummer, his love of straight ahead jazz and all forms of Brazilian music, and his coming projects. Click here to listen to the conversation, including musical selections:

Rufus Reid – “Dona Maria” from Out Front. Bassists Eddie Gomez and Rufus Reid gave Duduka his first breaks as a straight ahead jazz player when he arrived in New York. Duduka wrote this track for a trio composed of pianist Steve Allee, bassist Reid and himself on drums.

Duduka Da Fonseca Quintet – “The Peacocks” from Samba Jazz - Jazz Samba. Duduka first heard "The Peacocks", played by its composer Jimmy Rowles at Bradley's, where NYC's jazz musicians congregated.  The Quintet is composed of Anat Cohen (tenor saxophone, clarinet), Helio Alves (piano), Guilherme Monteiro (guitar), Leonardo Cioglia (bass) and Duduka (drums). 

Duduka Da Fonseca Quintet – “Obstinaa” from Samba Jazz - Jazz Samba.  Duduka likes to showcases compositions old friends who might not get wider exposure without his inclusion of their work on his CDs. This one from pianist Haroldo Mauro is a great example of Samba Jazz.

Brazilian Trio – “LVM - Direto Ao Assunto” from Constelacao. This outstanding album released earlier this year showcases what I consider to be the premier Brazilian rhythm section at work in the world today -  pianist Helio Alves, drummer Da Fonseca and bassist Nilson Matta.

Roni Ben-Hur &  Santi Debriano – “Green Chimneys” from  Our Thing..Duduka pointed out the way this Thelonious Monk tune is taken apart by the trio in our conversation. A wonderful CD from top to bottom.

Trio de Paz featuring Joe Locke – “Wave” from Live at Jazzbaltica.  If you take the Brazilian Trio and replace pianist Alves with guitarist Romero Lubamba, you have Trio de Paz. Here they collaborate with one of Duduka’s favorite vibes players. Be sure to listen to the interview, as he explains why the band takes this classic Jobim tune at a slower pace than normal.