Like a true southern preacher, Clay Ross delivers colorfully satirical lyrics reminiscent of David Byrne, Tom Ze, and Caetano Veloso. A virtuosic guitarist, his unique style combines the flatpicking prowess of bluegrass legend Tony Rice with the sonic depth of jazz master Bill Frisell, plucking three chord folk melodies or sophisticated Brazilian Choros with equal ease.
Rob Curto is widely regarded as forró’s foremost ambassador in the States. An early devotee of North American swing music, bebop piano, funk, rock, and blues, he has combined these influences with his mastery of their Brazilian counterparts forró, chorinho, samba, maracatu, and frevo to produce stunning new results. He spent years living and playing in Brazil, completely absorbing and interpreting the country’s musical traditions.
Ze Mauricio grew up immersed in the percussive traditions of his homeland. He is an original member of “Cyro Baptista’s Beat the Donkey” and performs with an eclectic blend of NYC bands. He is a master of the Pandiero (Brazilian Tamborine) and his vast palate of percussion sounds give Matuto a deep swinging dance groove.
Most noted for his work with the Herbie Hancock Quartet, Richie Barshay has established himself as a prominent musical voice of his generation and is regarded as “a player to watch” by JazzTimes magazine. On tour and on recordings, his eclectic resume so far includes Hancock, Chick Corea, Esperanza Spalding, Lee Konitz, The Klezmatics, Fred Hersch, Kenny Werner, Natalie Merchant, David Krakauer, Fred Wesley, Claudia Acuña and Pete Seeger among others.
Michael Loren Lavalle
The son of two musicians, Michael Loren Lavalle was raised on all genres of American Music. Now, matched with a profound knowledge of musics from Brazil, he has become an in-demand bassist and percussionist on NYC’s creative music scene. He has worked with a vast and diverse array of artists and co-produced the album “Edge of Everything” by Greta’s Bakery which was released by Decca/Universal Music Group in 2009.
Mazz Swift is a native New Yorker, who began playing the violin at age 6. She graduated from the High School of the Performing Arts, during which time she made her solo public performance debut on the stage of New York’s Alice Tully Hall, performing alongside members of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. She later attended The Juilliard School of Music, but left in the middle of her 3rd year to pursue a more organic approach to music making. Consequently, she has recorded and performed with a wide variety of artists including Whitney Houston, Perry Farrell, Kanye West, Common, and Jay-Z.