[Dixielandjazz] Brasilian Tuba

ROBERT R. CALDER serapion at btinternet.com
Sat Oct 9 17:12:32 PDT 2010

I owe Ken a longtime promised packet, meaning package rather than as slang might 
suggest a load of money. Relapses and 'flu' have kept me housebound for a couple 
of weeks, but I did manage to contact Michael the Latinamericanist, sometime of 
Princeton, for further info on the Brassilian Brass band stuff. 

One thing I know about valve trombones is that Verdi campaigned fiercely against 
their presence in opera orchestras, I think because of problems of pitch 
in Italian opera orchestra ensemble work due to their widespread use and his 
larger musical ambitions. 

 There seems to have been a larger proportion of them at one time in Italy and 
this proportion may have continued in Latin America. This is what Michael 

M: from the verbal description, sounded like it could be a variation on frevo 
(brass band music from the northeast). But the videos say otherwise. They seem 
to be from São Paulo (SP) state, and as Ken observes, the music is more akin to 
choro, early Brazilian string chamber jazz, if you will. But sousaphone and 
brass are not really associated with choro: flute, clarinet and sax are. “Cego,” 
by the way, is “blind” as in… Blind Boy Tuba? 
 Search engine-ing also suggests this fellow is an evangelical protestant. Back 
before recorded music, every town in Latin America worth its salt had a brass 
band, the military influence, so this appears to be a carryover from when 
musicians took to the street for religious holidays and processions. However, 
the protestant insurgence in Brazil is a late development, the last two decades 
or so. That’s about as much as I know. Sending this on to a Brazilian friend 
from SP who may know more.

 Date: Thu, 7 Oct 2010 21:08:52 +0100 from "Ken Mathieson" 
<ken at kenmath.free-online.co.uk>

Hi Dave et al,
The first 2 clips are of a Brasilian band playing hymns and when the rhythm gets 
going it's akin to the Brasilian musical style called choro. Normally choro 
groups are predominantly composed of stringed instruments like cavaquinho, 
mandolin, guitar and 7-string accoustic bass guitar plus a percussionist, 
usually playing a brasilian tambourine, although sometimes they add a wind 
instrument, generally a flute or clarinet. In these clips, the tuba is playing a 
fluid improvised bass line similar to the role of the 7-string guitar in choro. 
The instrumentation on the clips makes the rhythm more ponderous than choro 
usually is, but it's an interesting example of rural brasilian religious music. 
The third clip, by a different band, sounds like similar religious music. It's 
all a bit rough and ready, but the presence of valve trombone in so many clips 
is interesting: it's used a lot in street bands in the carnival season and, 
since every town in Brasil will have a carnival celebration with parades, floats 
and music, you come across valve trombones the length and breadth of the 
country. It's certainly a commoner instrument there than in UK.
Ken Mathieson


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