Samba and Bossa Nova (which originated from Samba) have been at the heart of my playing since the beginning. They are usually played on the drum set, with the traditional ostinato pattern played on the bass drum. The "Sergio Mendes & Brasil 66" album, with João Palma on drums, is a good basic example of this way of playing.
But I believe that in Samba or Bossa Nova one can also choose to use the bass drum much more freely, without the obligation of playing the traditional ostinato pattern the whole time, using the bass drum to play syncopated accents as an accompanying voice. I sometimes like to alternate between the two approaches, even in the same song. I also love "feathering" the bass drum; a technique, as the word implies, in which you play very softly.
In America, modern Jazz bass drum syncopations and accents were developed by Kenny Clarke (1914-1985), who found a way to match the new conversational language of Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk. Growing out of the styles of Chick Webb, Papa Jo Jones and "Big" Sid Catlett, Kenny Clarke's innovations paved the way for Max Roach, Roy Haynes, Art Blakey, Philly Joe Jones, Elvin Jones and many others, and changed the approach of Jazz drummers all over the world.
The concepts that were created by these legendary Jazz drummers were eventually adapted to Samba Jazz and Bossa Nova drumming. In Brazil, the first to do so was Edison Machado (1934-1990) whose 1965 recording “Rio 65 Trio" with Dom Salvador (piano) and Sergio Barrozo (bass) heavily influenced myself, Robertinho Silva, Zé Eduardo Nazário, Tutty Moreno, and several others. In the early 70'S while living in Rio, I began to develop this way of playing Samba in a trio setting with Cesarius Alvim (piano) and Ricardo Santos (bass).
In 1975 I moved to New York to pursue my dreams; I fell in love with the city and have lived here ever since. It has been a great learning journey, and has led me to understand that gratitude, perseverance, patience and kindness are some of the key qualities that can lead to a better knowledge of life. In the early 80’s I began playing and recording with the pianist of the Rio 65 Trio, Dom Salvador, who had also moved to New York. In 1997 we recorded a joint album, “Transition” with Rogerio Botter Maio on bass. Because of the chemistry between us we were able to explore ideas of a more freely played Samba. Years later I found a new trio setting in which to continue this musical conversation.
Our first recording together was "Duduka Da Fonseca Trio plays Toninho Horta" for ZOHO Music. David Feldman, Gutto Wirtti and I are able to think and feel musical time in uncannily similar ways, creating an ideal musical landscape for us to further explore new forms of Samba and Bossa Nova playing, using our roots for musical inspiration. The result is a time/beat with a much wider and elastic feel, but without losing the essence of Samba, which is in our blood.
Our new album was made in Rio de Janeiro (where the sounds of our music originally took root at "Beco das Garrafas", Rio's 52nd Street). Recording in the neighborhood of Ipanema where I was born and raised was a wonderful experience for me, and I hope that you enjoy listening to the album as much as we enjoyed making it. Here is our heartfelt effort to present New Samba Jazz Directions. Deep thanks to David Feldman and Guto Wirtti for their invaluable musical suggestions. This album is dedicated to my beloved wife Maucha Adnet. Best of luck and peace,
Duduka Da Fonseca
For decades, Rio de Janeiro-born drummer Duduka Da Fonseca has been hailed as one of the leading drummer/band leaders in Brazilian Samba Jazz, the exciting hybrid of native Brazilian rhythms and American Jazz. "Growing up in Ipanema in the 50s was fantastic,” Duduka recalls. “Its beaches were beautiful and pure. Ipanema was a neighborhood of mostly family homes with very few buildings and cars. We played soccer in the streets and climbed trees. It was peaceful." "I was very fortunate that my parents loved good music. I was brought up listening to Antonio Carlos Jobim, João Gilberto, Dorival Caymmi, Luis Bonfá, Louis Armstrong, Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles and many others.” Duduka began playing the drums at thirteen: "I am self-taught. My way to learn was playing along with the vinyl records of the Brazilian musicians and American Jazz masters."
Following several years of performing in Brazil both as a leader and a sideman, Duduka moved to New York in 1975. There, he followed his dream of playing with American Jazz musicians, blending the musical cultures of Brazil and the US. “When I arrived in New York City, it was a much different musical scene from today. Samba Jazz was not on the map at that time. I am very proud to be one of a few musicians who helped revive the Brazilian Jazz scene in New York City in the late 70s.” Duduka has appeared on over 200 albums and performed with artists such as Antonio Carlos Jobim, Astrud Gilberto, Gerry Mulligan, Claudio Roditi, John Scofield, Wayne Shorter, Tom Harrell, Eddie Gomez, Rufus Reid, Lee Konitz, Herbie Mann, Jorge Dalto, Joe Henderson, Kenny Barron, Emily Remler, Nancy Wilson, Slide Hampton, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Gil Goldstein, Joanne Brackeen, Marc Johnson, George Mraz, John Patitucci, Renee Rosnes, Bill Charlap, Maucha Adnet , Carlos Barbosa-Lima, Phil Woods amongst many others.
Among these recordings are three prior releases as a leader for the ZOHO label, including: Duduka Da Fonseca Quintet: Samba Jazz in Black and White (ZM 200603) in 2006; Brazilian Trio: Forests (ZM 200806) in 2008; and Duduka Da Fonseca Trio Plays Toninho Horta (ZM 201115) in 2011. In 2009, his Brazilian Trio album "Forests" was nominated for a Latin Grammy in the "Best Latin Jazz Album" category.
Joachim "Jochen" Becker