Scott Feiner’s musical story is not a common one. Not only is he an American pandeiro player, but he has also introduced this Brazilian hand drum to the world of jazz in a highly personal way.
A native of New York City, and originally a guitarist, Feiner received a Bachelor of Music degree in Jazz Studies/Guitar at the Hartt School of Music, where he learned about jazz history from the legendary saxophonist Jackie McLean. In 1990 he returned to New York City and immersed himself in the jazz scene, gaining a reputation for his sense of swing and lyrical phrasing. During the early ‘90s Feiner led bands two nights a week at Augie’s (now Smoke), the world-renowned club in Manhattan known as a meeting place for New York City’s best young jazz musicians. He recorded two CDs during that period - Under the Influence and Feiner’s Keepers - featuring musicians such as organist Larry Goldings and saxophonist Joel Frahm.
In 1999, during his first trip to Brazil, Feiner discovered the pandeiro, the instrument which would become his passion and new means of musical expression. He moved to Rio de Janeiro in 2001 to be closer to the pandeiro and Brazilian music in general. As he evolved as a player, he began to play with some of Rio’s finest musicians in the samba and choro scene. Just a few years after his arrival in Rio, Feiner had become a respected pandeirista.
It is Feiner’s innovative project “Pandeiro Jazz” however, that has truly set him apart. It was first documented on the CD Pandeiro Jazz (2006, Delira Música), recorded in New York City with guitarist Freddie Bryant, saxophonist Joel Frahm, and bassist Joe Martin. This recording is possibly the first jazz recording ever made with a pandeiro as the exclusive percussion instrument, in place of a drumset. After the success of Pandeiro Jazz, Feiner released Dois Mundos (2008, Biscoito Fino), recorded in Rio de Janeiro with trumpeter Jessé Sadoc, saxophonist Marcelo Martins, pianist David Feldman, and bassist Alberto Continentino. This CD was nominated for a 2009 Latin Grammy Award. Feiner’s third CD, Accents (Zoho Music) is being released in November, 2010.