Herbie Mann, legendary jazz flutist, passed away on July 1, 2003. As many people knew, Herbie had been battling cancer since 1997. We at Chesky Records are honored to have worked with Herbie on the recording Caminho de Casa.
Herbie Mann leaves behind a rich and influential legacy. The New York Times noted Herbie's extraordinary contributions to jazz saying, "[He] helped to popularize the flute as a jazz instrument and to introduce the music of other cultures into the mainstream of American jazz." While Herbie explored a wide array of world music throughout his career, Brazilian music had foremost influence. In an interview with Herbie when recording Caminho de Casa, he said, "If I had to pick one place in the world that touches my heart it's Brazil."
Along his world travels and musical explorations, Herbie worked with an impressive lineup of musicians including Brazilian greats Antonio Carlos Jobim, Joao Gilberto and Sergio Mendes; percussionists Candido, Ray Barretto, Babatunde Olatunji, Carlos "Patato" Valdes, and Willie Bobo; jazz notables such as Phil Woods, Carmen McRae, Bill Evans, Chick Corea, Roy Ayers, David Newman, Les McCann, Clark Terry, Cornell Dupree, Chet Baker, David Newman and Chuck Rainey. Caminho de Casa presents Herbie's group, Jasil Brazz, which he started in 1998.
He was an inspiring and groundbreaking musician who will be greatly missed.
Herbie Mann is best known for the musical odyssey that has taken him around the world. In his music, he visited such exotic places as Cuba, India, Jamaica, and the Middle East. His exploration of the rhythms and harmonies of diverse cultures has opened the ears of countless listeners to new musical possibilities. His influence on the last two generations of musicians is inestimable. He is credited as being one of the seminal jazz flutists, as well as being one of the first purveyors of world music. What is less well-known about Herbie Mann, however, is that there is one sound that has been special to him for a long time--the music of Brazil.
In 1961 he and his band toured South America. Upon his arrival in Rio de Janiero, he had the Brazilians teach him some of there folk songs. "The first night, I stopped in the middle of a blues solo and played a simple Brazilian melody that I had heard that day. The Brazilians loved it. For me, Brazilian music has beautiful melodies and harmonies as well as wild rhythms."
It was the beginning of a life-long love affair. When he returned from the tour, he convinced his record company to sponsor an extended visit to Brazil to record his next album. Herbie Mann met some of Brazil's emerging musical talents, and discovered that culturally cross-pollination was a two-way street. "Sergio Mendes was 18 years old and played in a be-bop band. They had heard North American jazz, and it was finding its way into their music."
Herbie Mann brought these young Brazilians into the studio and produced a fusion of the two cultures that the world had never heard. His ensuing releases helped usher in the Bossa Nova craze.
Twenty years after his first recording of the axis of jazz and Brazilian music, the line between the two had blurred. Thus "Jasil Brazz" was born. He added one instrument at a time, drawing from the best young American jazz musicians, as well as from the new breed of Brazilians. He found that a new generation of Brazilian musicians and composers had grown up since his last visit, and their music was incorporated as well.
Herbie Mann's recent release for Chesky features a brilliant line-up of young stars. Along with leader's flutes, Mark Soskin is heard on keyboards, Paul Socolow plays bass, Romero Lubambo is on guitar, Ricky Sebastian is on drums and featured on percussion is Cafe.