As I’m writing this blog, I’m addressing myself first, so I don’t forget what I’ve learned over the years and what I’m learning right now. Secondly I want to address all fellow bass players, because I strongly believe, they are going or have gone through similar situations as I have. And finally I want to address all improvising jazz musicians out there and hope you will find something that helps you as well as it helped and helps me become a better jazz musician, improviser and a better person.
I was born in 1986 in a little town called Niteroi in the state of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. Both my parents are from Angola in Africa and have lived in Congo during their youth as my mother was even born in Congo during the independence war in Angola.
My musical influences in my early years included hymns from the baptist church and African music. I remember some Samba and other popular Brazilian tunes, but I didn’t get the chance to really absorb Brazilian music, as it was forbidden in my christian home and the christian community in which I lived.
Around 1992 my parents, my siblings and I moved to Switzerland and that’s when I discovered MTV and rap music and some popular Congolese music, as I met a big African community in the west part of Switzerland.
In the first grade (1994) I met the first jazz musician, who was my teacher and a fellow bassist. He encouraged me to express my musicality even in class. Some years later (1997) I was doing my first presentation on jazz music without having even heard any jazz records. I was fascinated just by reading about jazz musicians like Miles Davis and Louis Armstrong.
It would take many years (2001) and another teacher to formally introduce me to jazz music and hand me my first jazz record. That’s when I got to know Gene Harris. There are several reasons why I liked Gene Harris so much right from the start, but to name a few I would point out his Gospel and Blues roots and his expressive improvisation.
From that moment on I got to hear many jazz records and got to learn and play some jazz standards. When I started studying jazz at the Zürcher Hochschule der Künste (2007) I thought, I’d finally meet some like minded people to share my passion for jazz music, but it never happened.
I found myself cornered in a funky, groovy, gospel, Afro and Latin section and nobody cared to join me and I didn’t know how to join the jazz section. Instead I boasted about my gospel and Afro roots and stopped considering myself a jazz musician and even a jazz lover.
It would take one record by Wayne Shorter in 2014 to kindle my love for jazz again. At this place I would like to share that record with you. Even though I know it might not ignite the same feelings in you as it did in me, I still hope you’ll enjoy it: