By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – For the next month, Tuesdays and Wednesdays at Arpoador’s Studio RJ venue are celebrating the 30th anniversary of the legendary Jazzmania, the former venue who’s spirit today lives on as a weekly party. Performers for the festival’s series of shows include up-and-coming musicians as well as some of the acts that gave Jazzmania its original swing.
Located above Barril 1800 bar on a corner where Arpoador meets Ipanema, for twelve years, Jazzmania hosted some of the biggest names in Brazilian instrumental music, MPB (Popular Brazilan Music), choro and jazz. Following its closure, the space went mostly unused for eighteen years, but that changed in 2011 with the opening of Studio RJ. Since the first week, the venue has hosted the weekly Jazzmania nights, in homage to the space’s former inhabitants.
“In fact, the decision to create the Jazzmania night was an opportunity to partner with Ale Youssef, who opened Studio RJ,” Jazzmania co-founder Luis Antonio Cunha, told The Rio Times. “He suggested it and we gave it a chance. I was always there, in the house, I was the owner of Barril 1800. When Ale came and proposed the re-opening of the upstairs, the idea of creating a weekly evening of instrumental music resurfaced.”
During the two years that followed, Studio RJ hosted the likes of Caetano Veloso, Seu Jorge, Scott Feiner, and the Walter Lang Trio. For the thirty-year celebration shows, Marcelo Martins and Orquestra Atlântica will bring their big band sounds on November 6th and pianist and co-founder Marcos Ariel will bring some of the 1980s flavor firmly back to life with his trio on the November 12th.
Ricardo Silveira plays on November 13th, with Bamboo and Touch of Tatu playing on the 19th and 20th, respectively. “The memories of being in the same place as Jazzmania are good,” Bamboo’s Bruno Aguilar told The Rio Times. “The view of the beach and the crowd are all major attributes of the venue.”
Before Marcio Tubino closes the festival on December 3rd, American guitarist Jonathan Kreisberg will play two shows on November 26th and 27th. His trio will join him as they stop in Rio as part of an ongoing tour of Argentina and Brazil. Kreisberg will also host a workshop for guitarists on the 27th.
“I always enjoy teaching and talking about music with friends and students whenever I travel,” Kreisberg told The Rio Times. “I’m very excited to be performing in the festival! It will be my first time in Brazil as a leader, and it’s an honor to play a club that has such a great history.”
That history will be on display before and after each festival show as photos and documents from Jazzmania’s influential twelve years run are projected while DJs Marcelinho da Lua and Montano perform.
Not only is the spirit of the venue captured in the images, but also a glimpse of its most famous guests, including; Pat Metheny, Chet Baker, Charlie Haden, and Milton Nascimento.
“I actually went along with Luis Antonio Cunha and together we formed Jazzmania,” co-founder and performer in the festival Marcos Ariel said of the nightclub’s origins. “A little bit before 1977 we produced a series in Barril 1800 […] called “A Musica Que Os Musicos Querem Fazer” (“The Music that musicians want to do”). That lasted for a year with the successful presentation of choro and jazz groups. Then in 1982 we began the works upstairs, above Barril 1800 and that became the Jazzmania.”
“I feel good, gratified,” said Cunha of the anniversary festival. “I’m happy to celebrate thirty years […] For twelve years it was opened and for eighteen it was closed. But when it closed it continued in the memory of Rio. For me, it’s as if the house never closed.”
What: Festival Jazzmania 30 Years
Where: Studio RJ, Av. Vieira Souto 110, Arpoador
When: Tuesdays and Wednesdays in November and the first Tuesday and Wednesday of December (9PM)
Workshop on November 27th: R$40 (includes entrance to that nights show)
December 4th: R$ 80 (full) or R$40 (half entry if on lista amiga (friend’s list) www.studiorj.org, or with 1 kilo of non-perishable food
For more information and the festival’s complete program see Jazzmania’s Facebook event page here.