Joining Fernanda Cunha (vocals) will be Reg Schwager (guitar), Bernie Addington (bass), and Scott Gamble (drums) at the Vernon Jazz Club Sept. 23. (Photo submitted)

Legendary Brazilian Jazz in Vernon

Fernanda Cunha’s contemporary and traditional jazz compositions have earned her devoted fans

Candice McMahon

For The Morning Star

Brazilian singer Fernanda Cunha’s contemporary and traditional compositions have earned her devoted fans on three continents.

Brought up in a rich musical environment in Rio de Janeiro, she began her career in 1997 and has since toured Brazil, Europe and North America, performing at prestigious international jazz festivals. Regular appearances at jazz festivals in Canada have helped to carve out a whole new fan base for Cunha’s post-bossa groove, and she repaid the compliment with her CD Brasil-Canada, released in 2009.

In 2012, Cunha celebrated 15 years of her singing career, and she released her fifth CD, Coração do Brasil. The repertory on this album includes the music of Brazilian songwriter Antonio Carlos Jobim, among others, and it is the music of this legendary South American songwriter that she will feature at the Vernon Jazz Club Sept. 23.

Jobim was a world-renowned songwriter, composer, and arranger who transformed the extroverted rhythms of the Brazilian samba into an intimate music, the bossa nova (new trend), which became internationally popular in the ’60s.

Bossa nova’s fusion of understated samba pulse (quiet percussion and un-amplified guitars playing subtly complex rhythms) and gentle, breathy singing with the melodious and sophisticated harmonic progressions of cool jazz found a long-lasting niche in popular music.

In 1962, Jobim appeared at Carnegie Hall with his leading jazz interpreters, tenor saxophonist Stan Getz and guitarist Charlie Byrd. He collaborated on many albums, such as Getz/Gilberto (1963) and Frank Sinatra &Antonio Carlos Jobim (1967).

Of the more than 400 songs Jobim produced in the course of his musical career, Samba de uma nota só (One-Note Samba), Desafinado (Slightly Out of Tune), Meditação (Meditation), Corcovado (Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars), Garota de Ipanema (The Girl from Ipanema), Wave and Dindi have been particularly popular.

A regular accompanist to Cunha is Reg Schwager on guitar. Born in the Netherlands, Schwager is known as one of Canada’s leading jazz guitarists. His playing reflects a thorough understanding of the entire history of the genre, from the pre-swing through the free jazz movements. He has attended workshops and classes with such Brazilian masters as Guinga, Dori Caymmi, Marcos Silva, Jovino Santos Neto, Paulo Sergio Santos and Hamilton de Holanda, mainly at the California-Brazil Camp. In 2015, Schwager collaborated with Cunha in writing two songs for her sixth CD, Olhos de Mar.

Rounding out the band Saturday night will be local Okanagan musicians Bernie Addington on bass and Scott Gamble on drums.

Addington studied Jazz at The Vancouver Community College School of Music, majoring in performance and acoustic bass. He enjoys a successful career as a freelance musician and private instructor and has played throughout North America, Europe and Australia. His high caliber of playing is a delight to audiences everywhere.

Gamble is a veteran drummer, having played since the age of four. Usually on first-call to fill out jazz combos, Gamble certainly knows how to swing. He enjoys playing other people’s songs and getting creative by adding his own take on it.

Fernanda Cunha Sings Jobim will be onstage at the Vernon Jazz Club (3000-31th St.) Sept. 23 at 8 p.m. Doors open at 7:15 p.m. Cash only bar on site. Tickets $20 online at www.vernonjazz.com and at Expressions of Time (2901-30th Ave), with a $5 rebate at the gig for VJS members.

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