May 08 2009

Paulinho Garcia: My Very Life

Unpretentiously Pleasing



The first time I heard about Paulinho Garcia was with his 2000 choro CD with Julie Koidin Dois no Choro, a nice release with some Brazilian classic choros. Following that release, Paulinho’s name continued to appear in the media. The Chicago Music Awards was presented to him in 2001 as “Best Jazz Entertainer,” an accolade well deserved for this Minas Gerais native who has made Chicago his home since 1979.

Like other Brazilian artists, Paulinho began his musical career at an early age performing at local radio stations. After his move to the U.S., he began composing, arranging and producing jingles for HP Studios. His talent was recognized when four of his commercials won national awards. When his career took off, he began being recognized by the jazz media at large, including the Brazilian Music Review, The Brazilians, and Jazziz. From the U.S., he went abroad and toured in Singapore and Japan as well as several countries in Europe, landing him the opportunity to perform at the North Sea Jazz Festival in the Netherlands. With over a dozen albums released in the U.S., My Very Life marks a new beginning for Paulinho. The album is his first CD with all original songs.

Paulinho Garcia & Grazyna AuguscikMy Very Life is a Brazilian musical map done with style and meticulous care. The album features various Brazilian musical genres — baião, choro, samba canção, bossa nova, marcha rancho and even frevo — making the CD courageously diverse and yet very homogeneous when it comes to its classy performances. Paulinho shows competence in every track and infuses each one with his own personal style. One of the highlights in the album, as Paulinho himself points out, is the fact he was able to work together with his fellow Chicago musicians. The musicians featured here are Heitor Garcia and Geraldo de Oliveira (percussion), Don Stiernberg (mandolin), Ernie Denov and Michael Allemana (electric guitars), Steve Eisen (flute, saxophone), Brett Benteler (basses), Julie Koidin (flute) and Grazyna Auguscik (voice). Together the ensemble carries on Paulinho’s musical vision with impeccable finesse.

The opening track, “Cintura Fina,” is an infectious baião with a very well done vocal arrangement. Paulinho’s vocals and guitar work shine through. For the experienced listener, you might even briefly hear a short citation of Luiz Gonzaga and Humberto Teixeira’s “Assum Preto.” A great touch for a nice tune. The second track brings a complete switch to the mood. The baião from track one makes room for the sensual bolero “Ponto de Encontro,” complete with Steve Eisen’s sensual saxophone solo. Continuing his journey, the fast “Chorinho Novo” is another winning song. Other choros in this release include “Chorinho de Paula,” with Stiernberg’s mandolin expert solos and “Chorinho do Paulinho,” where old partner Julie Koidin lends a hand with her flute accompaniment.

One constant in Paulinho’s renditions here are how comfortable he seems to be in whatever genre he plays. The bossa novas “I’ll Be Calling for Maria (No Matter What)” and “My Very Life” are soothing and dreamy in Paulinho’s voice and soft guitar accompaniment. The same goes for the marcha-rancho “E Quando…” To prove that not only from bossa nova does one live, Paulinho ends the album with electrifying frevo “Disfrutando a Boa Vida.” That track could just as easily be one you would hear in the Bahia carnaval. It’s a very dynamic closing for an excellent and original album.

To read more about the artist and hear sample songs, please check Paulinho Garcia or visit him at MySpace.



Paulinho Garcia
My Very Life
Chicago Sessions CSS01V04 (2009)
Time: 49’40”


All tracks by Paulinho Garcia.

  1. Cintura Fina
  2. Ponto de Encontro
  3. Chorinho Novo
  4. I’ll Be Calling for Maria (No Matter What)
  5. Do You Remember Me?
  6. Chorinho da Paula
  7. E Quando…
  8. Adiós Mi Sueño
  9. Chorinho do Paulinho
  10. My Very Life
  11. Disfrutando a Boa Vida