CHICO CHAGAS
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CHICO CHAGAS

London, England, United Kingdom

London, England, United Kingdom
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"The London Scene"

By Nick Catalano

Dr. Nick is a TV writer/producer and professor of Literature and Music at Pace University.

Traveling around Europe these days researching my next book has brought me to London town once again. The jazz scene is thriving here with a plethora of clubs and concerts and an impressive lineup for the upcoming London Jazz Festival.

Of course, the clubs put forth legions of U.K. musicians, but I'm detecting an interesting migration of international players who have made London their home and are working steadily. The migration parallels what exists in Gotham and doesn't appear to be losing any steam, a remarkable situation given that, arguably, London has been hit by the international recession as badly as any of the major cities.

One of the more intriguing venues is Steve Rubie's 606 Club at 90 Lots Rd. near the Thames. Both musicians that I interviewed and patrons that I conversed with had high praise for the room, which sports a modest music charge of 8 pounds during the week and 12 pounds on weekends. Rubie books a different group every night, and a few visits will bring jazz tourists up-to-date on the London scene.

I chose to catch Chico Chagas a multi-talented accordionist/pianist/ composer from Brazil, who featured tenorist Dave O'Higgins , a U.K. native, with his group. O'Higgins has appeared with Cleo Laine and John Dankworth, Frank Sinatra and Ray Charles in a long career that has spawned 10 albums. Chagas played a selection of melodic ballads in the first set, which had gorgeous changes recalling the melodies of Hermeto Pascoal and Antonio Carlos Jobim. When I spoke with him between sets, he stated that those composers were indeed his principal mentors. O'Higgins read the Chagas' charts expertly, and the sound with U.K. guitarist John Parricelli and Brazilian percussionist Adriano Adwale was compelling.

In the second set Chagas uncorked a cornucopia of up-tempo folk music that had the room roaring. The infectious rhythms of the halcyon days of Tropicalismo were unfurled, together with some carnival music from Recife in northeast Brazil. The latter provided a new chapter in the litany of disparate musics that I have heard from this nation. Unfortunately, according to Chagas and many other expatriate Brazilians interviewed in New York, the richness of tropicalismo of the 1960's and beyond is all but lost in Rio, Sao Paolo and other cities. The cacophonous commercial sounds that have replaced it have helped drive many of the nation's best musicians to foreign shores.

The following night Chagas invited me to Club Guanabara, but I couldn't make it and will get there another time.
- All About Jazz.com


Discography

CDs:

As Composer:
CHEGADA
(CD/2005)
Naná Vasconcelos

As band leader:
... E POR FALAR EM ACORDEON
(CD/2006)
Chico Chagas

As producer:
NA PUXADA DA REDE
(CD/2007)
Trio Forrozão

CHAGUE JOUR
(CD/2006) FR
Marie So

As musician (among other):
BAHIÃO COM H
(CD/2000)
Moraes Moreira

ESTAÇÃO LEOPOLDINA
(CD/2003)
Paulo Moura

NA LAPA
(CD/2004)
Nicolas Krassik

SAMBA DE LATA
(CD/2007)
Paulo Moura, josilda Sá

ESTADOS
(CD/1996)
Moraes Moreira

ÁGUA DA MINHA SEDE
(CD/2000)
Zeca Pagodinho

CANTADA
(CD/2002)
Adriana Calcanhoto

FILOSOFIA
(CD/2000)
Zé Renato

FORRÓ LUNAR
(CD/2001)
Alceu Valença

DIÁRIO
(CD/2004)
Torquato Mariano

NOITES DO NORTE
(CD/2000)
Caetano Veloso

OUTROS SONHOS
(CD/2007)
Miúcha

QUE FALTA VOCÊ ME FAZ
(CD/2005)
Maria Bethânia

QUEM INVENTOU O AMOR
(CD/2007)
Nana Caymmi

MAMA MUNDI
(CD/2001)
Chico César

MARTINHO DA VILA, DA ROÇA E DA CIDADE
(CD/2001)
Martinho da Vila

CAÇUÁ
(CD/2006)
Nicolas Krassik

ROCK IN RIO – CÁSSIA ELLER
(CD/2006)
Cássia Eller

SONGBOOK – JOÃO BOSCO
(CD/2003)
Various

QUANTA
(CD/1998)
Gilberto Gil

VANESSA DA MATA - 2002
(CD/2002)
Vanessa da Mata

DVDs
As musician:
1- Beth Carvalho – Canta o Samba da Bahia (ao vivo) (2007)
2- Cássia Eller – Com você o meu mundo ficaria completo (2000)
3- Cássia Eller – Álbum MTV (2003)
4- Cássia Eller – Rock in Rio Ao Vivo (2006)
5- Fred Martins – Tempo Afora (2007)
6- Maria Bethânia – Música é perfume. Documentário de George Gachot (2005)

Photos

Bio

Composer, arranger, producer and multi-instrumentalist Chico Chagas comes from a family of accordion players. He started playing at the age of seven, studied sax, trumpet, acoustic guitar, electric bass and, later, classical piano. At the age of 19 Chico moved to Rio de Janeiro where he studied harmony, improvisation, popular and classical piano.
In Rio, Chico played and recorded with some of the biggest Brazilian stars such as Gilberto Gil, Zeca Pagodinho, Geraldo Azevedo, Nana Caymmi, Altamiro Carrilho, Alceu Valenca, Maria Bethania, Milton Nascimento, Nana Vasconcelos, Paulo Moura, Beth Carvalho and Cassia Eller among others