Charlie Dennard | Melodias

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Jazz: Piano Jazz Brazilian: MPB Moods: Mood: Dreamy
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by Charlie Dennard

Beautiful and sophisticated jazz piano with Brazilian and New Orleans influences.
Genre: Jazz: Piano Jazz
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Oceano
7:52 $0.99
2. Palhaço
3:30 $0.99
3. Dream of the Return
3:25 $0.99
4. Em Paz
3:34 $0.99
5. Eternamente
2:37 $0.99
6. Memories of Tomorrow
3:26 $0.99
7. Daydream
3:46 $0.99
8. Mairiporã
3:46 $0.99
9. Traumerei
2:30 $0.99
10. Falling Grace
2:49 $0.99
11. Ida e Volta
3:01 $0.99
12. Peace
3:16 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Melodias (‘melodies' in Portuguese) is a solo piano recording of me playing some of my favorite Brazilian ballads and slightly more obscure jazz standards in a very relaxed and casual environment. It’s like me in my living room at home playing for my own enjoyment. This recording is even more special to me because it was made on my own personal 1927 Steinway model L piano that I love dearly.

Music is my therapy and playing and listening to music is what I do when I come home from a long day/night at work to unwind and free my mind. It’s actually how often times I start the day too. This recording represents that freedom to me as well as the melancholic desire to reminisce and reflect...

One of the main influences on this recording comes from the time that I spent in Brazil about 10 years ago (2008-2009). The music and musicians that I encountered during my stay in Brazil had a profound impact on me and I am continually discovering and learning even more about Brazilian music, history and culture to this day… I sincerely hope that my interpretations of some of this music can lead to others making similar discoveries and inquiries into some of these amazing artists.

Another one of my earliest influences on piano was George Winston and I think his very simplistic and meditative approach definitely manifests itself here on this recording of mine whether it be literally or conceptually. In addition to the composers of the songs on this recording, some of my many other (lesser known) jazz piano influences are Clare Fischer, George Shearing, Alan Pasqua, Bobo Stenson, Fred Hersch, Ralph Towner, Eliane Elias, Mario Laginha, Bugge Wesseltoft, all of Marian McPartland’s piano jazz and the Maybeck Recital Hall piano recordings - and of course my college professors Jeff Laibson (Univ of Miami) and Ellis Marsalis (Univ of New Orleans).

Melodias is a beautiful record that I am very happy to release. It’s no frills and nothing ridiculously over played. I love it’s sense of flowing and melodic and harmonic content that is very soothing and sincere.

About the music:

Oceano - This song is by the Brazilian pop artist Djavan who I witnessed perform live in São Paulo in 2009. It’s a beautiful ballad in 3/4 time that is like an anthem at his concerts and the poetic lyrics speak of the deep sea of passion of a love that’s gone. I tried to emulate the ebb and flow of the ocean waves in the intro and the first verse is more freely expressed in hopes of giving it that longing sensation. I didn’t want to do too much because the original melody and harmony are so powerful and speaks for itself.

Palhaço - Written by the Brazilian composer and virtuoso (guitar & piano) Egberto Gismonti. Palhaço means clown in Portuguese and because of my circus background and the fact that this was my former Brazilian wife’s favorite song when she was younger - I thought it was appropriate and wanted to include it on this record. This song has a somewhat simple folksong type of melody with almost a slow gospel 6/8 feel that lends itself to some nice improvisation on the chord changes in the last section. Once again, I didn’t want to venture very far from the original melody and harmony because it’s so nice just the way it is.

Dream of the Return - One of the many beautiful songs by Pat Metheny - who has been one of the most influential musicians and composers in my entire life. His music is so uniquely constructed and always pleasing to me. I play a lot of songs from the Pat Metheny & Lyle Mays songbook on piano and this song in particular really speaks to me. Metheny’s music is heavily influenced and incorporates a lot of Brazilian elements and for me this song represents my dream to return to Brazil again and again in the future. I obviously only improvised a little on the intro and vamp sections because (yet again) the melody and harmony are just so perfect as is.

Em Paz - I used to perform this song live with the composer (Pedro Alterio) in São Paulo back in 2009 just before he became rather famous in Brazil with his band of next generation composers and multi talented musicians called ‘5 a seco’. This song also became the theme song of a popular Brazilian ‘novella’ (soap opera) called Flor do Caribe (Carribean Flower) in 2013. Em Paz translates as “In Peace” in English and so I tried to channel all of these things into a very tranquil and straight-forward version of this song and added a little melodica for a breath of fresh air. Pedro’s voice and music means a lot to me - he is like a Brazilian John Mayer but with far more sophistication and creativity.

Eternamente - The composer for this song (Andre Mehmari) is definitely one of the most gifted and prolific musicians in Brazil currently. His virtuosic piano skills and his compositions are the epitome of modern Brazilian jazz greatness. Although this song has a slight new age tinge - the harmonic and melodic content are much more advanced. My honest approach when playing his music is to emphasize this beauty and yet still make it my own. I’ve had the privilege of meeting Andre and have seen him perform several times. Eternamente means eternally in Portuguese.

Memories of Tomorrow - The original Kôln Concert album by Keith Jarrett that debuted this song was a monumental recording that became the best selling solo jazz album in history. I’ve always loved Jarrett’s originals because of his folk Americana motifs that often times have a latin tinge. This song is no exception and has been in my repertoire for years. I like to play it straight and in my own simple way.

Daydream - This Billy Strayhorn jazz standard was made famous by the great Duke Ellington. It’s not one of those songs that’s overplayed at jam sessions and I like to play it with a more free-flowing 3/4 time feel. I transcribed a nice string arrangement of this tune in college and have loved the song ever since. I really tried to give it a natural and dreamy feeling because of the title.

Mairiporã - This is the name of the area where the composer (Andre Mehmari) lives just outside of São Paulo, Brazil. I was fortunate enough to be invited to his house there in 2009 and I remember him saying that we all need more honesty in our music. This simple but profound statement continues to inspire me to just try and be myself and embrace what my capabilities are and pursue them in my music. This song reminds me of the time there at his home studio and I have always loved playing this composition of his. Hopefully my honest approach will make a good representation for the listener.

Traumerei - Although I studied classical piano as a child and even continued through college, I have never considered myself a classical pianist. However, my love of the Romantic Era and my regular practice routines have always included a bit of classical music. Robert Schumann is one of my many favorites. I love his simple yet complex inner voices moving in his compositions. Many times when I listen to classical music I feel that all the notes are perfect but there lacks some emotion. My main objective with this piece was to give it some of that deep and dreamy emotion - regardless if all the notes are being played exactly correct or not.

Falling Grace - I’ve always loved playing this slightly obscure jazz standard by Steve Swallow. The most famous version of this song is by Chick Corea and Gary Burton from their album 'Crystal Silence’. The entire ECM record label as a whole has been a monumental influence on me and my music. I love it’s unconventional form and harmony but yet still sounds pleasing and not too strange. To me this song wanders effortlessly and flows like a river of harmony.

Ida e Volta - Translates to ‘roundtrip’ in English - literally 'go and comeback’. This song really captures the essence of this album with it’s sense of longing and reflective phrasing. It reminds me of the time I spent in the Brazilian interior state of São Paulo’s countryside with it’s red dirt roads and lush green tropical landscape. I tried to capture the natural silence that resembles the crickets and frogs and other sounds that you hear when you’re in that element. Definitely makes me want to make another trip there to experience this again. Of course personally knowing the composers (A. Mehmari, R. Alterio) makes the melodies so much sweeter too because I can hear their voices calling me back!

Peace - Peace is another obscure and rarely played jazz standard by Horace Silver who is more commonly know for his straight ahead blues piano playing and compositions. Seems like a very fitting ending to such a peaceful recording of me playing some of my personal favorite melodies on my piano. Hope you enjoy it too!



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