Album Melds Afro-Carribean, Brazilian Bossa Nova
& Baião, Jazz, Pop & Rock Fusion Influences
With Gimme 5, prolific Brazilian singer-songwriter Manu Lafer offers listeners a joyful slap of the hand, an enthusiastic greeting to audiences around the world as well, perhaps, as a well-earned celebration for two decades of music-making. Over those 20 years Lafer has penned more than 300 songs, 100 of which have been recorded by some of the most renowned artists in Brazilian music and American jazz – all while maintaining a busy career as a pediatrician.
Lafer has collaborated with such stellar artists as Dori Caymmi, John and Bucky Pizzarelli, Toninho Horta, Chuck Redd, Howard Alden, Maude Maggart, Ná Ozzetti, Ken Peplowski, Warren Vaché, and countless others. On Gimme 5, available now (being distributed through Megaforce Records), Lafer interprets his own deeply personal songs as only a composer can. “When we sing the songs we wrote, we sing them in a special way because we mean what we sing,” Lafer says. “Each song is a different journey, a different musical landscape.”
For Lafer, those landscapes are painted with the vivid colors of his own unique influences. His songwriting follows in the breezy, sun-dappled tradition of pioneering songwriters like Dorival Caymmi, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Gilberto Gil and Lafer’s major influence, João Gilberto. Like each of them, he has created a unique sound drawn from his own particular blend of styles: a wealth of Brazilian rhythms from bossa nova to baião, melded with early Brazilian innovators from the days of radio, American songbook classics, contemporary jazz, and pop music of the 60s and 70s.
The compositions of Gimme 5 are further enriched by the production and arranging gifts of Sandro Albert, Lafer’s partner in the duo Run N’ Fly, who also plays guitar throughout the album. Albert frames Lafer’s tune with influences from Afro-Caribbean music as well as sleek jazz and rock fusion touches. “Sandro is very different from me, and brings things to my music that nobody can,” Lafer says. “He never wants to stay on the same page and do the same thing. That’s what we have in common.”
The music is brought to vibrant life by an international all-star band, including drummers Lionel Cordew (Spyro Gyra) and Cliff Almond (Michel Camilo), bassist Mark Egan (Weather Report), pianist Helio Alves (Claudio Roditi), percussionists Bashiri Johnson (Michael Jackson) and Mino Cinélu (Miles Davis), and vocalists Cindy Mizelle (Steely Dan) and Sachal Vasandani (Wynton Marsalis).
Another revered Brazilian artist, singer and guitarist Toninho Horta, co-wrote and sings with Cindy Mazelle on the English-language “WWI,” an unusual song inspired by the literary works of William Faulkner and Thomas Wolfe. Having lived in the U.S. and his native Brazil, and formed deep partnerships with incredible artists in both countries, Lafer is excited to bring his unique blend of the two musical countries to the world via his stellar songwriting. “By saying Gimme 5, I wanted to invite people to come close to the music and listen,” he says. “It’s not a problem if they don’t understand the lyrics. People naturally gather around music, so I want to help make that happen.”
About Manu Lafer:
Manu Lafer is a composer, singer, and pediatrician from São Paulo, Brazil. He has composed more than 300 songs, more than 100 of which have been recorded. He has developed a unique, signature sound, by drawing upon a vast range of Brazilian and American rhythms and harmonies for his compositions.
Manu has had the honor of working with some of Brazil’s most revered composers, arrangers and singers, along with celebrated names abroad. In Brazil he has worked closely with Danilo Caymmi, Dori Caymmi, Nana Caymmi, Luiz Tatit, Ná Ozzetti, Germano Mathias, Cris Aflalo, Lincoln Olivetti, Luiz Brasil, Jacques Morelembaum, Mario Manga, Jetter Garroti Jr., and Fabio Tagliaferri, among others. Outside of Brazil he has collaborated with the tap-dancer Steve Zee, and recorded with guitarists Bucky Pizzarelli, John Pizzarelli and Howard Alden; Ken Peplowski, Warren Vaché, Jeanne Gies and Maude Maggart.