Born: April 10, 1978 Primary Instrument: Guitar, acoustic
NYC resident and Rio de Janeiro native Mauricio Pessoa is a classically trained (graduated in Orchestration at Juilliard Music School) guitarist and singer-songwriter emanating from the current crop of young Brazilian music artists that are keeping the great Brazilian musical tradition alive and well. Mauricio’s original compositions are influenced by the classic Bossa Nova and MPB (Música Popular Brasileira) music of composers such as Antonio Carlos Jobim, Chico Buarque, João Gilberto, Paulinho da Viola and other Brazilian greats. After releasing his debut self-titled record in 2007, the long awaited follow-up disc, Habitat, was released digitally on June 19th 2012, on RED/Sony Music Entertainment through iTunes and on CD on August, on Sony Brasil.
The ten songs on Habitat reflect the Brazilian landscape drawing inspiration from Pessoa’s experiences travelling back and forth to Brazil. Mainly influenced by Bossa Nova, Samba and Jazz, the new CD is a transcontinental trip through diverse rhythms, sounds and themes.
The NYC release shows were at:
JULY 8TH – ROCKWOOD MUSIC HALL JULY 12TH – MoMA JULY 23RD – STANDARD EAST HOTEL PENTHOUSE (this show is for the week long celebration of contemporary Brazilian Music at Brazil Summerfest) Produced by arranger and reeds player Zé Luis Oliveira and producer/A&R Béco Dranoff (who he first met in NYC in 2008), Habitat was recorded at Spin Recording Studios in New York and the album is the materialization of Pessoa’s long-standing dream to record an album in the US, where Bossa Nova and Brazilian music first got worldwide attention.
On Habitat, Mauricio’s compositions cover all subjects, from love to dreams to a walk through a Brazilian back road of red dirt. On the first single, “Tulipa Turca”, he says, “This joyful piece mentions the journey of a man that leaves Rio de Janeiro to find the most beautiful flower to present his love. After finding the tulip in Turkey he goes back and sees the beautiful images of the Sugar Loaf Mountain under a blue sky, his love with the flower and the sea.” In comparison, on the track “Boca no Lodo”, which features many Brazilian rhythms and atmospheres, according to Mauricio, “The lyrics mention, in a very particular way, the difficulties faced on a daily basis by most Brazilian people.” Centered on a concept, sonic palette and repertoire that was meticulously discussed and planned by Mauricio and producers, Zé Luis and Béco, for Habitat, the trio decided that the direction was to go “old school”, recording all the musicians at once live in the studio. Culling material from Pessoa’s wealth of original material, the band was assembled for a marathon of rehearsals and arranging sessions at Zé Luis’ studio at the Music Building.
In addition to Mauricio, the musicians on the record include the previously mentioned Zé Luis Oliveira (wood winds and arrangements); Simone Giuliani (piano); Jim Robertson (double bass); and Kenny Grohowsky (drums). The string quartet is Antoine Silverman (violin); Jonathan Dinklage (violin); Todd Low (viola); and Anja Wood (cello). Other musicians included are Darcy (trombone) and Zé Maurício (percussion).
In the words of co-producer Béco Dranoff, “Mauricio is a serious artist who writes timeless words and melodies, a rare feat today when a lot of current music seems to be “assembled” in a computer in a rush. He continues to say, “Habitat is ten original gems in the best tradition of Brazilian compositions from the 60’s and 70’s. Mauricio titled the project Habitat since that is where we live and exist. Our habitat can be anywhere, New York, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, London… but high grade Brazilian music will exist and continue to spring anywhere.”
Rio-born, classically trained acoustic guitarist Pessoa recalls Caetano Veloso’s light-fingered bossa nova sway.” Jim Farber, TOP 10 List NY Daily News
Pessoa plays guitar and sings, sometimes in a trio, other times quartet, often a small semi- symphonic ensemble of six, seven, or more, not classical really but just full, atmospheric, seeming to hold more players than it does, stretching out to pencil in quietly exotic panoramas. Pessoa, I have no doubt, will soon come under their regard.” Mark S. Tucker, AcousticMusic
“Disciple of Tom Jobim and Chico Buarque, Pessoa reiterates the strength of his work in HABITAT.” Mauro Ferreira, “ODia” Rio de Janeiro journal
“Pessoa reminds the masters with elegance. HABITAT is already a classic.” Pedro Brandt, “Correio Brasiliense”
“Habitat pleases from the first until the last song and goes through samba, bossa nova, jazz and choro with mastery.” Rafael Braz, “Gazeta OGlobo”
“...singer, guitarist and songwriter Mauricio Pessoa is born to it radiates from his second album's quietly stunning opener, Boca no Lodo. (...) The New York-based Brazilian's trump card is his songwriting, enhanced by an open mind. And MPB (musica popular brasileira), his other major influence, helps keep fresh air blowing. Mary Leary, Blurt Magazine
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