By Anita Kirpalani, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Even if the Cidade Maravilhosa is never short of good places to listen to live music, jazz fans can have a hard time getting their fix in Rio de Janeiro. Yet from Thursdays to Sundays, “old Lapa” (closer to Glória), a little off the usual path for music and nightlife in the city, offers Rio’s jazz connoisseurs a hidden gem – the TribOz.
This first jazz house in the official boundaries of Lapa is somewhat of an exotic animal in the neighborhood. Jazz, a genre that originated in the early Twentieth century in the Southern U.S., is not the usual sound heard in the city of Samba.
Inaugurated in 2008, TribOz is mainly dedicated to Jazz and Bossa Nova, yet with the strong motto of refusing any kind of compartmentalization and classification.
For Mike Ryan, the Australian owner of what is also called Centro Cultural Brasil-Austrália (Brazilian-Australian Cultural Center) is firm about the philosophy of TribOz: “prioritize creativity without preconception”.
This is also why Ryan called his jazz club “TribOz” – “Tribe, because the whole world is a tribe, and Oz, well that’s just because I am an Ozy!,” he explains. TribOz has thus been the home to musicians from all over the world – like the Canadian Jean-Pierre Zanella, or the Brazilian João Carlos Assis, amongst others – who know their musical groundings without being afraid of breaking barriers.
Scott Feiner, an American musician from New York living in Rio, has performed his version of pandiero jazz at Triboz and commented; “Mike should be very proud of what he’s done. Not only has he created a charming space with a lot of his own hard work, but he’s dedicated the space to jazz, which isn’t an easy thing to do in Rio de Janeiro these days.”
Friday late afternoons thus become the playground of the American composer and pianist Cliff Korman who navigates with virtuosity between both American and Brazilian classics, constantly titillating the limits of the language and liberty of jazz.
Ryan first came to Brazil in the 70s and moved to Lapa in 1999 where, one day, he stumbled upon a decrepit old house that served as a makeshift furniture showroom. “There was something really strong about this place, its atmosphere, its history – I think it even used to be an old Polish brothel before that,” says Ryan.
In 2002 he started the self-funded (and mostly self-built) construction of what is now a traditionally sound-proofed, well-designed and stylish two-storey, multi-art institute that harbors modern musical equipments and instruments (including a red baby grand piano), paintings and ceramics from the Brazilian artist Denize Torbes and the Australian painter Rod Ramage, and a creative kitchen that serves fusion food.
But most of all, Ryan is proud of being unconventional and an experimentalist. “Back in Sidney, I used to teach Salif Keita and Bach hand in hand; why not?” asks Ryan with a mischievous grin. Now he also plays the trumpet and the flugelhorn with his quintet on Thursday evenings, organizes workshops for musician and singers focusing on Brazilian music, and serenely watches over every concert of the TribOz.
“Whatever happens with this place in the future,” concludes Ryan, “I’ll always be able to say that at least I got to listen to great music with people who enjoy it too – people who want to be provoked with something new.”
TribOz – Rio
Centro Cultural Brasil – Austrália
Rua Conde de Lages, 19
20241-080 Rio de Janeiro, RJ
Tel.: (21) 22100366 / 92915942