Harvey Wainapel – Amigos Brasileros VOL 2

photography: Don Fogg

photography: Don Fogg

Written by Yogi McCaw

Harvey Wainapel is a highly accomplished reeds player and composer originally trained in American jazz and who has developed a lifelong passion for Brazilian music. He made the choice to seriously study music by enrolling, in the year 1971, in the Berklee College of music in Boston, which at that time was one of the first collegiate-level jazz schools. The early 70’s were an exciting time for jazz, as it was bursting at the seams with all kinds of new explorations. He began playing with the top artists of the day, and he hasn’t looked back. 

He refers to himself as a “late bloomer”, but to be honest, he has had what anyone who keeps up with the music would regard a stellar career – at least by jazz standards these days. Although he’s not (yet) a household name, he regularly travels the world not only performing with the greatest artists, but commanding such a level of respect that he can call the top artists to be contributors to his own project. This is exactly what his current music project is – called ” Amigos Brasileiros”. Now on vol 2, it’s Harvey calling his many Brazilian musical friends to collaborate on nine gorgeous tunes, each one with a story of how the song came to be in the accompanying booklet.

The CD Amigos Brasileiros Vol 2 is a continuation of Harvey’s exploration of the rhythms and musical traditions of Brazil. He has a vision to continue the work of this very organically-grown music project. The whole process is unusual for a CD. Rather than thinking “I want to make a CD, I’ll compose some songs, call the guys to the studio and bang it out” – the usual process –  Amigos Brasileiros is actually a “by-product” in the sense that the recordings spring out of musical friendships and trips to Brazil to connect with his musical friends. This gives the CD, and indeed the shows themselves a rich feeling that the listener is participating in a kind of musical community, not just listening to the compositions. But don’t worry, these strong compositions do indeed stand totally on their own.

It’s an ambitious project. The songs are recorded in 4 different studios in Brazil, and one in the USA. Each piece has a different lineup of musicians reflecting the diverse locations (although a few of the musicians do appear on more than one piece).  The musicians are all highly respected, and in some cases, famous beyond the universe of Brazilian jazz fans as well.  Which is to say, there’s a consistent standard of top notch performances on  Amigos Brasileiros.

The artwork, by Brazilian artist Menote Cordeiro is also very engaging, and true to the spirit of Brazilian music, colorful and fun. Getting good, original artwork onto a CD in a way that makes you want to look at the artwork on its own, is an accomplishment in itself. The CD contains a no-less than 8-page booklet (printed both front and back for 16 total pages of content) and four full pages are devoted completely to original artwork, plus inset pieces on other pages.

Two full pages are devoted to 22 photos of all the participating musicians, from solo shots to duets, small ensembles and a small Brazilian orchestra. There are over forty musicians on this CD (a dozen from the Orquestra Retratos do Nordeste, of Recife, led by professor/composer/mandolinist Marco Cesar). Of course, I cannot possibly list them all here (and still keep your attention), which is a shame, because Harvey performs with some of Brazil’s greatest known (and unknown) talent.

In Seattle at the Royal Room, Harvey will be playing with the fabulous group of Jovino Santos Neto, the world-famous pianist and educator at Cornish School of Music. Harvey has a 10-year long musical friendship with Jovino, and many Brazilian jazz fans in Seattle have had the pleasure of seeing Harvey perform on numerous occasions with Jovino in the past few years. All in all, it’s shaping up to be a great re-union of the two maestros for the Seattle premiere of Harvey’s new material.

Harvey’s website and links to his CD : HERE

Yogi McCaw manages the Jazz-World department for damngoodtunes.com in Seattle Washington and is a working, touring composer and musician.

To contact the writer of this article: yogismusic@gmail.com


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