mr. alf was a contemporary of antônio carlos jobim, joão gilberto and others who would make the bossa nova a worldwide phenomenon, but he began his career earlier and spent the mid-1950s playing on what was known as bottle alley, a street in copacabana full of bars and nightclubs. his younger admirers would sneak into those clubs to listen to him play and study his technique and improvisational style.

“from him i learned all of the modern harmonies that brazilian music began to use in the bossa nova, samba-jazz and instrumental songs,” the pianist and arranger joão donato said friday. the guitarist and composer carlos lyra added: “he opened the doors for us with his way of playing piano, with its jazz influence. when my generation arrived, he had already planted the seeds.”  

alfredo josé da silva was born in the vila isabel neighborhood of rio de janeiro, a hotbed of samba, on may 19, 1929. his father was a corporal in the brazilian army, his mother a housekeeper. he began studying the piano at age 9, focusing on the classical repertory. but his love of american movies pushed him toward jazz and away from the classics, a shift on which he later reflected in an amusing composition called “seu chopin, desculpe” (“pardon me, chopin”).  

mr. alf started playing professionally at 14, when he was given his americanized stage name. he helped found a frank sinatra fan club in rio and also admired george gershwin and cole porter. but his biggest influence, as both pianist and singer, was probably nat king cole, whose smooth vocal delivery, gentle touch and sophisticated chords meshed with mr. alf’s quiet, even timid, personality.

“i always played in my own style,” mr. alf said in an interview last year with the brazilian daily folha de são paulo. “i had the idea of joining brazilian music with jazz. i try to bring everything together to achieve an agreeable result.”  

at its best, mr. alf’s music had a light and airy feeling that expressed the optimism and joie de vivre that brazilians think of as among their defining national traits. it was reflected not just in the title of his best-known song, “eu e a brisa” (“me and the breeze”) but also in hits like “ilusão à toa” (“carefree illusion”) and “céu e mar” (“sky and sea”), as well as “o tempo e o vento” (“time and the wind”) and “rapaz de bem” (“well-intentioned guy”), a two-sided success released as a 78 r.p.m. single in 1955 and now widely regarded as the first glimmering of bossa nova on record.  

but mr. alf eventually tired of the glitz of rio and moved to são paulo in the mid-1960s to take a job teaching in a conservatory. after that, while continuing to perform regularly, he recorded only sporadically. in 1990 he recorded “olhos negros” (“black eyes”), a widely praised cd dominated by duets with a second generation of admirers, including caetano veloso, gilberto gil, chico buarque and gal costa.  

according to brazilian press reports, mr. alf left no immediate survivors.  

“at least i’m not completely forgotten,” he said last year. “my music was always considered difficult. the record labels sensed the value of my music, but it never had the commercial appeal that they would have liked.”
There are no comments, leave a comment.
Please sign in to post.

Jazz Piano Notebook Series
Scot Ranney's Jazz Piano Notebook, Volume 1 - jazz piano tricks of the trade

Volume 1 of this educational jazz piano book contains 15 jazz piano exercises, tricks, and other interesting jazz piano techniques, voicings, grooves, and ideas Scot Ranney enjoys playing.

buy pdf version - buy coil binding version - videos

Scot Ranney's Jazz Piano Notebook, Volume 2 - jazz piano tricks of the trade you can use today

Volume 2 has 14 jazz piano exercises and tricks of the trade, and quite a bit of it is Calypso jazz piano related material, including some Monty Alexander and Michel Camilo style grooves. Jazz piano education is through the ears, but books like this can help.

buy pdf version - buy coil binding version

Tim Richards' Jazz Piano Notebook - jazz piano tricks of the trade

Volume 3 contains 12 jazz piano exercises and explorations by the acclaimed jazz piano educator, pianist, author, and recording artist Tim Richards.

Tim wrote the well known "Exploring Jazz Piano" and "Improvising Blues Piano" books and has several others to his name.

buy pdf version - buy coil binding version

Jeff Brent's Jazz Piano Notebook - jazz piano tricks of the trade

Volume 4 is by Jeff Brent, a jazz pianist, composer, teacher, and author of "Modalogy" and other acclaimed jazz theory and education books. In this book Jeff shares detailed analysis of transcriptions of live performances. He covers everything from the shape of the songs to the tricks and licks he uses in improvised lines to the ideas behind his lush chord voicings.

buy pdf version - buy coil binding version

Most Recent Discussions
Great Resource for Jazz Pianists
Scale in Calderazzo solo
analyzing Someone To Watch Over Me
Site updates
Korg SV-1 vs Nord Electro
Brad Brad Mehldau's independant left hand

Piano for Adoption Scam
Aprender Jazz en Piano
Oh Tannenbaum for Jazz Piano
Volume 5 of the "Jazz Piano Notebook Series" is Available! File Downloads News

Top Sheetmusic Picks

Jazzy Christmas Arrangements
Cocktail Piano
Best Songs Ever, 6th Edition
Christmas Medley
Moana Songbook
Late Night Jazz Piano

Jazz piano education is cool.

be the main character in your own story

Rock on. Follow your passion.

Sign In

privacy policyterms of serviceabout • 50,655 messages 63,069 accounts 57,093 logins Copyright © 1995-2022 by Scot Ranney • website software and design by scot's scripts is For Sale - Serious Inquiries Only