How the principal clarinetist and soloist from West Point’s Army Special Band decided to make her debut recording an authentic Brazilian album on which she plays and sings in Portuguese in jazz big band settings is a story centered on love more than a decade in the making. There is also an Olympic connection to the release of Kristen Mather de Andrade’s global music offering “Clarão,” which drops July 23, the same day as the opening ceremony for the Tokyo Olympics.
Mather de Andrade was enamored by Brazilian music at a young age, and her affinity rose to the next level when she met and married a Brazilian man in 2011. Desiring to immerse herself in the culture, the classically trained clarinetist and saxophonist began learning songs in Portuguese in order to learn the language. She started playing choros, classic instrumental Brazilian pop music dating back a century ago, finding that the style suits the clarinet. To celebrate the 2016 Rio Olympicathletes, Mather de Andrade performed a handful of tunes live on the West Point Band Facebook page. The enthusiastic response even garnered coverage from the Brazilian media. The seeds were planted and have blossomed into “Clarão,” which means “flash of light.” Teaming with producer Sergio Krakowski helped bring this passion project together.
“I wanted to show the diversity of Brazil in the music selections on this album. I learned so much from the music producer, Sergio Krakowski, who really helped me dig deeper into the styles that I was already familiar with and find some music that was really interesting and would flatter the band. I wanted to showcase music beyond Bossa Nova and bring attention to some amazing styles and composers that I have found so inspiring,” said Mather de Andrade, a Youngstown, Ohio native now based just outside of New York City.
With Krakowski’s assistance, Mather de Andrade gathered several Brazilian musicians to accompany her and selected the repertoire. Half of “Clarão” is comprised of instrumental covers, three of which are performed big band-style and were made famous by Brazilian clarinetists. The album includes four original songs penned by Brazilian singer-songwriter Roque Ferriera, tunes that showcase Mather de Andrade’s silken, yearnful voice singing sublimely in Portuguese. Krakaowski relied upon genuine Brazilian instrumentation from Vitor Gonçalves (accordion), Cesar Garabini (violão) and Eduardo Belo (bass) while playing pandeiro himself. A lively four-piece horn section adds luster to the ten-track album brimful of exuberance, lush harmonies and masterful musicianship.
To launch the album, Mather de Andrade will perform selections from “Clarão” on August 8 at 6pm ET accompanied by several of the musicians who performed on the album during a special livestream event broadcast from Studio 42 Brooklynusing Stretto.live, a new interactive visual platform that enables audiences to work together to control certain aspects of a performance in real time and provide the performer with visual feedback they can see and react to while performing.
“Um Chorinho Diferente”
“Côco Tara Tá Tá”
“Chorinho Pra Ele”
“O Clarinete Gostoso”