Nilson Matta’s Samba Meets Jazz Quartet

Latin Jazz Summer Series

Nilson Matta’s Samba Meets Jazz Quartet

Nilson Matta (bass)
Harry Allen (saxophone)
Matt King (piano)
Fernando Saci (percussion)

Join Brazilian bassist, composer, arranger Nilson Matta for a journey of Brazilian music through time and space — from Noel Rosa, Pixinguinha to Jobim to current Samba Jazz which Matta has helped to shape – from the music of southern Brazil to the Amazon and Brazil’s Northeast. A not-to-be missed event, repertoire will also include excerpts from Matta’s newly released “Black Orpheus” and an introduction to captivating Brazilian percussion instruments such as the Pandeiro, Cuica, Tamborim and more.

Nilson Matta2009 Grammy nominee Nilson Matta has been a creative force in the evolution and popularity of Brazilian Jazz in the United States. Not long after he came to New York in 1985, he was performing and recording with Grammy-winning jazz greats Joe Henderson, Don Pullen, Kenny Barron, Bob Mintzer and Randy Brecker, as well as Herbie Mann, Lee Konitz and Mark Murphy. Drawing from these collaborations, and from his work with Brazilian luminaries such as Hermeto Pascoal, Joao Gilberto, Luis Bonfa, and Johnny Alf in Brazil, (to name a few), Matta has developed his own musical signature making him a first-call bass player of Brazilian music and jazz musicians. It’s not surprising therefore, that when Yo Yo Ma sought band members for his Brazilian project, Nilson was the obvious choice for bass. Their recording of two Grammy CDs (Obrigado Brazil and Brazil – Live in Concert) prompted a two-year worldwide tour touching every corner of the globe.

A founding member of two internationally acclaimed groups – Trio Da Paz (Rumero Lumbabo, guitar; Duduka de Fonseca, drums) and Brazilian Trio (Helio Alves, piano; Duduka de Fonseca, drums) – Matta has emerged in recent years as bandleader, composer, arranger and producer. In 2008, he released Walking With My Bass, an autobiographical CD incorporating special guests from his long and distinguished career: João Bosco, Ivan Lins, Harry Allen, Rosa Passos, Robertinho Silva, Mauricio Einhorn, Joyce, Helio Alves, Vic Juris, Filó Machado, Claudio Roditi, Kenny Barron, and more. His next release, Brazilian Voyage – Copacabana on Zoho Records took listeners on a musical journey through Brazil’s diverse geographic regions – via Matta’sartful arranging of classics masterpieces (e.g.,Villa Lobos), not to mention Matta’s original compositions such as Baden and Copacabana which have earned him wide acclaim as a composer. His CD Black Orpheus was released February 2013 by Motema.

Matta is committed to passing on his talents and experiences to the next generation. He is a member of the International Society of Bassists, making frequent appearances as a featured guest and performer at the ISB conventions. He has taught at NYC’s Bass Collective, Litchfield Jazz Camp, and has conducted master classes worldwide. As Artistic Director of Samba Meets Jazz Workshops in Bar Harbor Maine (SmJ-Bar Harbor) and Samba Meets Jazz Workshops – Brazil (SmJ-Brazil), he has become a leading figure in promoting the music he is passionate about – Brazilian Jazz.


Harry Allen

Gene Lees writes, “Stan Getz was once asked his idea of the perfect tenor saxophone soloist. His answer was, ‘My technique, Al Cohn’s ideas, and Zoot’s time.’ The fulfillment of that ideal may well be embodied in … Harry Allen.”

Harry has performed at jazz festivals and clubs worldwide, frequently touring the United States, Europe and Asia. He has performed with Rosemary Clooney, Ray Brown, Hank Jones, Frank Wess, Flip Phillips, Scott Hamilton, Harry ‘Sweets’ Edison, Kenny Burrell, Herb Ellis, John Pizzarelli, Bucky Pizzarelli, Gus Johnson, Jeff Hamilton, Terry Gibbs, Warren Vache, and has recorded with Tony Bennett, Johnny Mandel, Ray Brown, Tommy Flanagan, James Taylor, Sheryl Crow, Kenny Barron, Nilson Matta, Dave McKenna, Dori Caymmi, Larry Goldings, George Mraz, Jake Hanna, and Al Foster, among others.

Harry is featured on many of John Pizzarelli’s recordings including the soundtrack and an onscreen cameo in the feature film The Out of Towners starring Steve Martin and Goldie Hawn. He has also done a series of commercials for ESPN starring Robert Goulet.