Brazilian music … It’s exciting, expressive and most of all beautiful, just like its homeland. The Assad Brothers are two of the most celebrated ambassadors of the equatorial nation’s artistic heritage. The duo returns to The Smith Center’s Cabaret Jazz for a set of Las Vegas shows on Friday, June 19 and Saturday, June 20 with their Samba Exotico – The Assad Brothers With Romero Lubambo show.
Sérgio and Odair Assad have been wizards of the classical guitar for decades. They were raised in a musical family and trained under Monina Távora, a disciple of Andrés Segovia, one of the most revered six-string players in history. With such fertile beginnings, the Assads burst onto the international scene when they won the 1979 Young Artists Competition in Bratislava, Slovakia.
In the decades since, they have toured the world and performed alongside musicians like Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Fernando Suarez Paz, Paquito D’Rivera, Gidon Kremer and Dawn Upshaw. Along the way, they have also recorded numerous albums, including 2001’s Latin Grammy Award-winning Sérgio and Odair Assad Play Piazzolla, which is dedicated to the songs of Ástor Piazzolla, the legendary Argentinian tango composer.
Of special note, the Assad Brothers have cultivated an ongoing musical relationship with the great Yo-Yo Ma, with whom they performed a stellar 2012 concert extravaganza in Reynolds Hall. The pair are well known to Las Vegas fans of Brazilian culture, having also performed prior in Cabaret Jazz and at the Artemus W. Ham Concert Hall at UNLV.
The brothers are master interpreters of Brazil’s famous Antonio Carlos Jobim, especially as heard on their beautiful album Jardim Abandando, which garnered a 2008 Latin Grammy. The two’s musical repertoire includes a wide mix of influences beyond the land of the Amazon, too. From the classical world they draw upon Johan Sebastian Bach, George Gershwin and Claude Debussy. They also delve into jazz, folk and Gypsy traditions.
For their upcoming Cabaret Jazz Samba Exotico run, the Assad Brothers will be joined by Romero Lubambo, a virtuoso jazz guitarist. Lubamo has performed with many of the world’s top artists, including Yo-Yo Ma, Diana Krall and Wynton Marsalis – all of whom are alumni of The Smith Center. Pianist and composer Clarice Assad, who is Sergio’s daughter, will also perform as special guest.
The Samba Exotico shows will feature gorgeous pieces by Cesar Camargo Mariano, Frédéric Chopin, Giberto Gil, Jobim, Lubambo and numerous other composers. In addition to the world-renowned samba genre, which has African influences and roots in the Bahia region of Brazil, songs in the choros mode will be performed. This style was developed in 19th century Rio de Janeiro and is known for being upbeat.
Like feijoada, the Brazilian national stew, the Assad Brothers’ Samba Exotico will be an enticing South American-style mix. In addition, the brothers will celebrate their 50th anniversary as a touring act.
Sample a video of the Assad Brothers working their Brazilian guitar magic:
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