Alexandra Jackson


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About

Alexandra Jackson is a new singer and songwriter from Atlanta.  A classically trained pianist, as a child her household was filled with the music of Miles Davis, Earth, Wind & Fire, and Michael Jackson, as well as that of Johnny Hartman, Luciano Pavarotti, and Antonio Carlos Jobim. 

The youngest daughter ...

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Contact

Publicist
Ron Kadish
812-339-1195 X 202

Current News

  • 04/30/201805/25/2018

Milestones and Swan Songs: Brazilian and American jazz, soul, pop, samba and funk entwine on blockbuster multinational collaboration Legacy & Alchemy, featuring singer Alexandra Jackson

“By paying homage, we’re forging a path forward,” explains Robert Hebert, the driving force behind a three-year effort to embrace the crossroads where Brazilian and American music meet and converse. By honoring the greats of both countries, by tracing the shared histories and Afro-diasporas, Alexandra Jackson: Legacy & Alchemy turns the forgotten complexity of popular music decades ago into a fresh and contemporary debut album for new international singer Alexandra...

Press

  • JAZZIZ Magazine, Track pick, 09/24/2018, Alexandra Jackson – “Quiet Nights, Quiet Stars” Text
  • O's Place Jazz Newsletter, Album review, 07/30/2018, O's Latin Features Text
  • Third Coast Creatives, Feature story, 07/17/2018, Atlanta's Alexandra Jackson Pays Homage To Brazil's Musical Culture Text
  • Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Feature story, 05/25/2018, Alexandra Jackson, daughter of former Atlanta mayor, releases first CD project Text
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News

05/25/2018, Album Release, "Alexandra Jackson: Legacy & Alchemy", LEGACY AND ALCHEMY
02/06/201805/25/2018, Total Music: The Golden Conversation between American and Brazilian Music Blossoms on Alexandra Jackson: Legacy & Alchemy
Release
05/25/2018
Release
05/25/2018
Release Format
Album
Release Type
Digital & Physical
Record Label
LEGACY AND ALCHEMY
Release Title
Alexandra Jackson: Legacy & Alchemy
Hebert created the first, epic project on his new independent LEGACY AND ALCHEMY label, Alexandra Jackson: Legacy & Alchemy. At the center stands singer Alexandra Jackson, supported by some of the most significant musicians in samba, bossa nova, and MPB, and by American jazz and funk heavyweights. MORE» More»

Music industry veteran and IT entrepreneur Robert Hebert happened to be in Brazil on a work trip. One day in Rio, he stepped out of an ordinary hotel elevator and had a revelation. “I heard these young musicians in the lobby, and realized that Brazil might create the next Sade, the next singer to really synthesize pop, jazz, and Brazilian sounds like Sade and her producer Robin Millar did.”

Hebert’s insight led him somewhere altogether different, ever deeper into Brazil’s unique repertoire, heritage, and spirit. Amalgamating the golden age of 20th-century Brazilian sounds with Chicago jazz and funk, unleashing a soulful young vocalist from Atlanta on the Brazilian and Brazil-inspired songbook, Hebert created the first, epic project on his new independent LEGACY AND ALCHEMY label, Alexandra Jackson: Legacy & Alchemy. At the center stands singer Alexandra Jackson, supported by some of the most significant musicians in samba, bossa nova, and MPB, and by American jazz and funk heavyweights.

“We wanted to bring together Brazilian and American musicians and create something around the vocals, and to our pleasant surprise, it was an American vocalist who made this possible,” remarks Hebert. “We embraced the highest level of Brazilian music, with its great musicianship. The highest levels of Brazilian music and American jazz have always resonated.”

Legacy & Alchemy pays homage to samba, now in its second century, with the classic “Sonho Meu,” which contrasts Jackson’s voice with that of 96-year-old samba grande dame and songwriter Doña Ivone Lara. It demonstrates the power of Brazilian bossa nova with a cheeky, gender-reversed “Girl from Ipanema,” in which Jackson finds a whole other American-inflected swing to beloved song. It also draws on songwriting inspired by Brazil’s boundless musical creativity and resilience: “Brazilica” (by Chess Records alums Charles Stepney, Maurice White, and Ramsey Lewis) and “Our Time Now” (a heartfelt anthem co-crafted by Lionel Richie and Rod Temperton that ends with the powerhouse contribution by Armando Marcal from Rio de Janeiro’s legendary Portela samba school (reigning champion of Carnaval).

The main musical catalyst was a young singer out of Atlanta, the daughter of a remarkable, culturally and socially prominent African American family, Alexandra Jackson. With intensive vocal training and wide-ranging musical interests, Jackson had the sensitivity, sensuality, and strength to capture the essence of these songs, whether singing in English or Portuguese. (Jackson worked with coaches for weeks to be able to nail the lyrics and win over Brazilian critics.)

“I’ve worked with so many top singers, and I don’t think anyone else I’ve worked with could have or would have even tried to do this.  Alexandra could and did.  The biggest thing is she made it convincing for Brazilians,” including standout performances as part of the 2016 Rio Olympics festivities.

“There’s a huge melting pot of music in our world today,” says Jackson. “This album offers the opportunity for people to step outside the box. It’s not just jazz, not the blues, not soul, not bossa nova, not samba, but it’s a mix of them all.”

Though the project resulted in 23 tracks with more than 35 contributing artists in featured roles (and 100 musicians and engineers overall), this first EP-length burst of songs sets the historical stage for the project’s ongoing engagement with Brazilian and American music’s decades-long dialog. The project’s bigger-picture goal is as ambitious as its scope: “I want to reintroduce this music to the world,” says Hebert. “I want to return it to its rightful place in the mainstream.”

This ambition has a powerful historical precedent. Brazilian music was some of the most popular in the world until the British Invasion struck and tastes shifted. There was a reason Brazilian music resonated worldwide: the sway of samba, the wry elegance of bossa nova balanced the earthy and the refined. It channeled some of the world’s most breathtaking musicianship. Hebert reached out to everyone from Jobim’s son and grandson, to samba elders like Lara and its next generation master (percussionist Pretinho de Serrinha), to the iconic Brazilian composer Ivan Lins.

Hebert and his collaborators knew it was time to elevate these elements again. “We’re really giving all we got to reintroduce this music to the mainstream, where it left off in the mid 60s. I wanted to choose songs that were hits in Brazil. Some may be familiar, but many are incredible songs the world outside of Brazil hasn’t been exposed to very much yet. We’re alchemizing it with American music, and the heart of this music is Chicago,” Hebert’s hometown and the birthplace of a jazz aesthetic that pairs perfectly with midcentury Brazilian sounds.

This alchemy creates what project advisor and contributor Ivan Lins calls “total music,” music that has no limits due to its geographical origins, that is timeless and widely compelling. Lins, along with the legacy of icon Quincy Jones, inspired Hebert to reach for the best possible performers and performances as the vision came together.

“Quincy has really inspired me over the years — not just with music, but the way he applies his true genius to the interaction of master-level human beings.  I have known him since 1993 and his musical legacy was a guiding star for me on this project. [In the wake of the untimely passing of Rod Temperton, Jones directly assisted in securing co-writer’s Lionel Richie’s blessing for “Our Time Now.”] I knew if Quincy were doing this, he would really try to get to the heart and soul of the music in a way that opened up the musicianship, that brought something new to it. I did the best I could, knowing I’m less than 1% of the musician that Q is,” Hebert laughs.  “But, I just kept asking myself for 3 years … as a Producer, what do I think Q would do?” 

To get there, Hebert asked multi-instrumentalist, composer, and producer Larry Williams to be his main collaborator. Williams, who has worked with Jones, Al Jarreau, George Benson, Sheila E, and Michael Jackson, over a 40-year career was lead producer on eight of the 23 tracks recorded for the project. “This record got done because of Larry.  No Larry Williams … no Rod Temperton, no Ivan Lins, no Djavan, no Al Jarreau,” Hebert notes. “Larry was my anchor.  I knew that this ambitious undertaking would get done because Larry Williams was in my corner. I needed one of the greatest arrangers of our time to get us over the top, where we needed to be.  That could only happen with a music master of Larry’s genius, commitment, focus, pedigree and context.”   

Hebert and Williams formed a Chicago-meets-Rio house band to record in Brazil. It included Williams and Marco Brito as primary keyboardists, tag-teaming super bassists (Darryl Jones, Arthur Maia), one of Brazil’s greatest drummers (in a country of excellent drumming) Teo Lima, guitarist Ricardo Silveira, percussionist Armando Marcal, horn players and arrangers Marcelo Martins and Jesse Sadoc. They were joined by vocal masters Chris Walker (who produced the vocals for the album), Darryl Tookes, and Curtis King, and by percussionist Pretinho da Serrinha. The Brazilian and American feels for the pocket differ, but the conversation between and among master musicians adds another layer to an already rich mix.

Hebert also gathered an orchestra for the two songs orchestrated and conducted by Larry Williams, and 4 songs orchestrated and conducted by Hebert’s 1970s’ Chicago high school bandmate Charles Floyd (who has gone on to conduct over 500 orchestras all over the world).  Hebert named the orchestra “The Bossa Nova Noites Orquestra” … comprised of Brazil’s top orchestra musicians under the supervision of concertmaster Ricardo Amado.

It is no accident Hebert and company made the record they did, one that has all the precision and warmth of a Quincy Jones project, or the early Sade projects produced by Robin Millar, but with all the virtuosic scrappiness of Chicago and Rio.

“This is old school; I’m not interested in contemporizing this music with drum machines or sequencers. Computers cannot spiritually collaborate, interact, and connect in context and in real time with a human,” Hebert states. “I wanted to create an environment and commitment to the alchemy of the music, based on humans endeavoring to evolve the origins of the music.  Brazilian, African and American music have a history of connection due to the slave trade, and that’s what creates this sense of musical integrity, what ties it all together. I let the music masters of Brazil and America contemporize the music with their insight, context and virtuosity.”  

Release
05/25/2018

05/25/2018, Album Release, "Alexandra Jackson: Legacy & Alchemy "
04/30/201805/25/2018, Milestones and Swan Songs: Brazilian and American jazz, soul, pop, samba and funk entwine on blockbuster multinational collaboration Legacy & Alchemy, featuring singer Alexandra Jackson
Release
05/25/2018
Release
05/25/2018
Release Format
Album
Release Type
Digital & Physical
Release Title
Alexandra Jackson: Legacy & Alchemy
Alexandra Jackson: Legacy & Alchemy turns the forgotten complexity of popular music decades ago into a fresh and contemporary debut album for new international singer Alexandra Jackson. MORE» More»

“By paying homage, we’re forging a path forward,” explains Robert Hebert, the driving force behind a three-year effort to embrace the crossroads where Brazilian and American music meet and converse. By honoring the greats of both countries, by tracing the shared histories and Afro-diasporas, Alexandra Jackson: Legacy & Alchemy turns the forgotten complexity of popular music decades ago into a fresh and contemporary debut album for new international singer Alexandra Jackson.

Jackson may be fairly new to the scene, but she’s standing on the shoulders of giants, many of whom make an appearance on the record. The album caught the last recording of the formidable Dona Ivone Lara, who passed in early April. Part Ella Fitzgerald, part George Gershwin, Lara left her career as a nurse in her 50s to become one of the first women allowed into the composer’s wing at one of Rio’s most prominent samba schools. “It’s hard to overstate her legacy, with all its tenacity and creativity,” explains Hebert. “It’s like you’re talking about the first female quarterback in the NFL. She was that groundbreaking.”

Her contribution to samba is honored on “Sonho Meu” and “Força de Imaginação,” which also feature one of samba’s rising stars Pretinho da Serrinha and Jackson. These tracks have garnered serious praise and excitement in Brazil. “Dona Ivone Lara’s stature and the respect we’re paying her legacy have captured a lot of attention from the Brazilian media. It feels like quite a compliment to the project,” says Hebert.

The American side of the alchemical equation is equally impressive. Al Jarreau joined the project, singing a beautiful call for unity and mutual understanding, “All One,” composed by Oscar and Lorraine Castro-Neves. It was his last studio recording. “Al always approached every song demanding perfection from everyone involved, from lyricist to his own takes” says Hebert. This passion reverberates in his stunning final performance, one that pays tribute both to Jarreau’s artistry and to his status as well-loved star in Brazil.

Other icons intersect on Legacy & Alchemy, in ways that point to the ongoing ties between American jazz and soul and Brazilian samba, bossa nova, and other styles. Miles Davis was exploring a project with Ivan Lins when he suddenly passed.  Lins is one of the main contributors to the album, and as a belated homage to Miles joins “Corcovado” which weaves a 1960s Miles’ recording with Antonio Carlos Jobim's distinctive voice from a recording of decades ago, and with Lins' distinctive vocals, as Jackson holds down the track in Portuguese and English. 

These artists are accompanied by a Brazilian Orchestra (Hebert formed especially for the project) and a Hall of Fame rhythm section both under the guidance of the brilliant Larry Williams. Together, they magically bring it all to the present day. 

Album co-producers Hebert and Williams join forces on a Carlinhos Brown masterwork composition: "Veleiros Negros", which Ms. Jackson sings in vocalese and Yoruba, accompanied by five of Brazil's top musicians (Paulo Calasans, Teo Lima, Arthur Maia, João Castilho and Andre Siqueira) and American vocalist Curtis King.  The magnificent Brown is featured on another song on the album, but here offers a visionary composition to the project … that allowed Hebert, Williams, and the master musicians to bring together Africa, Brazil, and American jazz and blues in a synergistic way.

These five songs will have their world premiere in Rio de Janeiro on April 30: INTERNATIONAL JAZZ DAY. Hebert's Legacy and Alchemy multimedia company, James Story, the U.S. Consul General in Rio de Janeiro, and members of the preeminent Jobim musical family (who also appear on the album) will gather a special audience to launch the album and honor legends in a celebratory concert.

Jackson is the thread that binds the complex tapestry together. She mastered the elegance of Brazilian Portuguese lyrics and inhabited the hope of English-language songs. Her voice supports her elders perfectly, but steps front and center at the right moments. “There is a huge melting pot of music in the world today, and I want to invite people to dive in,” Jackson reflects. “When jazz and blues and soul inform samba and bossa nova, and vice versa, that blend only grows richer.”

Release
05/25/2018

05/21/2018, Rising Star and Hometown Girl Alexandra Jackson Relaunches Lush Brazilian Bossa Nova, Jazz and Pop at Atlanta Jazz Fest
05/21/201805/21/2018, Rising Star and Hometown Girl Alexandra Jackson Relaunches Lush Brazilian Bossa Nova, Jazz and Pop at Atlanta Jazz Fest
Announcement
05/21/2018
Announcement
05/21/2018
May 25 marks a turning point, and a return. It is the debut of a singular project that directly targets the re-launch of classic Brazilian music on the world stage. "Alexandra Jackson: Legacy & Alchemy" MORE» More»

U.S. launch of "Alexandra Jackson: Legacy & Alchemy", a star-studded tribute to the enduring power and beauty of the Brazilian-African American connection.

May 25 marks a turning point, and a return. It is the debut of a singular project that directly targets the re-launch of classic Brazilian music on the world stage. "Alexandra Jackson: Legacy & Alchemy", featuring knockout American singer Alexandra Jackson will open this year’s Atlanta Jazz Festival, on the weekend the album releases in the U.S., in the year that is the 60th anniversary of Bossa Nova’s seduction of the world pop scene, in the city that is both Jackson’s home and Rio de Janeiro’s sister city.

Alexandra Jackson will perform several songs from the Legacy & Alchemy album in tribute to Miles Davis, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Al Jarreau, and Oscar Castro-Neves, including "Corcovado", featuring Miles and Jobim with Ivan Lins, and “All One,” featuring Al Jarreau dueting in his last studio recording, and Oscar Castro-Neves' vocals from his own last studio recording in 2006. The sleek jazz trio format to be utilized at the festival, with Legacy & Alchemy co-Producer Larry Williams on piano, shows the sheer power of the project, which on the album harnesses the beauty of Brazilian songwriting and sensibilities and the strength of American jazz, funk, and R&B, with orchestral lushness.

Jackson and the Williams-led trio will perform on May 26th at noon, kicking off the festival. There will also be a press event before the performance.

Jackson hails from Atlanta and is continuing a family tradition of leadership, creativity, and global connection. Her father Maynard H. Jackson, Jr., the legendary former mayor, launched the Atlanta Jazz Festival in 1977, helped bring the 1996 Olympics to the city, and also forged Atlanta’s bonds to Rio de Janeiro when he created the sister-city relationship. Alexandra is pushing this legacy forward in her own way, as an artist who dedicated extensive time to perfecting her Portuguese and immersing herself in Brazilian sounds.

“There are so many connections, so much richness that binds African American music and Brazilian music, as well as Atlanta and Rio,” explains the driving force behind the project, producer Robert Hebert. “We knew this was the place to launch our project and relaunch Brazilian music for American music lovers.”

“This moment brings so many things full circle,” Jackson reflects. “I am bringing this project forward, which involves so many high-level, high-caliber performers from Brazil and the U.S., and ties together so much of the music I love, to my hometown and to America for the first time.”  With that in-mind, Jackson will also perform the jazz standard "My One and Only Love," which she sings at the end of the upcoming documentary "MAYNARD" about her late father.

"Alexandra Jackson: Legacy & Alchemy," with its respectful embrace of elder legends, pop and jazz greats, and old and new samba stars, wowed critics and the public at its recent Brazilian premiere on this year's April 30 International Jazz Day. It has the support of a constellation of American musicians and the guardians of their legacies. “This is a project so extensive, it could only work if we got as many of the people responsible for making Brazilian music a worldwide phenomenon, plus the American musicians that admired them--or were admired by them, like Miles Davis and Al Jarreau,” says Hebert.  "Alexandra is the right artist -- at the right time -- in the right project to bring all this forward.

 

Announcement
05/21/2018

03/16/2018, EP Release, "Alexandra Jackson: Legacy & Alchemy", LEGACY AND ALCHEMY
02/06/201803/16/2018, EP Release: Total Music: The Golden Conversation between American and Brazilian Music Blossoms on Alexandra Jackson: Legacy & Alchemy
Release
03/16/2018
Release
03/16/2018
Release Format
EP
Release Type
Digital & Physical
Record Label
LEGACY AND ALCHEMY
Release Title
Alexandra Jackson: Legacy & Alchemy
Hebert created the first, epic project on his new independent LEGACY AND ALCHEMY label, Alexandra Jackson: Legacy & Alchemy. At the center stands singer Alexandra Jackson, supported by some of the most significant musicians in samba, bossa nova, and MPB, and by American jazz and funk heavyweights. MORE» More»

Music industry veteran and IT entrepreneur Robert Hebert happened to be in Brazil on a work trip. One day in Rio, he stepped out of an ordinary hotel elevator and had a revelation. “I heard these young musicians in the lobby, and realized that Brazil might create the next Sade, the next singer to really synthesize pop, jazz, and Brazilian sounds like Sade and her producer Robin Millar did.”

Hebert’s insight led him somewhere altogether different, ever deeper into Brazil’s unique repertoire, heritage, and spirit. Amalgamating the golden age of 20th-century Brazilian sounds with Chicago jazz and funk, unleashing a soulful young vocalist from Atlanta on the Brazilian and Brazil-inspired songbook, Hebert created the first, epic project on his new independent LEGACY AND ALCHEMY label, Alexandra Jackson: Legacy & Alchemy. At the center stands singer Alexandra Jackson, supported by some of the most significant musicians in samba, bossa nova, and MPB, and by American jazz and funk heavyweights.

“We wanted to bring together Brazilian and American musicians and create something around the vocals, and to our pleasant surprise, it was an American vocalist who made this possible,” remarks Hebert. “We embraced the highest level of Brazilian music, with its great musicianship. The highest levels of Brazilian music and American jazz have always resonated.”

Legacy & Alchemy pays homage to samba, now in its second century, with the classic “Sonho Meu,” which contrasts Jackson’s voice with that of 96-year-old samba grande dame and songwriter Doña Ivone Lara. It demonstrates the power of Brazilian bossa nova with a cheeky, gender-reversed “Girl from Ipanema,” in which Jackson finds a whole other American-inflected swing to beloved song. It also draws on songwriting inspired by Brazil’s boundless musical creativity and resilience: “Brazilica” (by Chess Records alums Charles Stepney, Maurice White, and Ramsey Lewis) and “Our Time Now” (a heartfelt anthem co-crafted by Lionel Richie and Rod Temperton that ends with the powerhouse contribution by Armando Marcal from Rio de Janeiro’s legendary Portela samba school (reigning champion of Carnaval).

The main musical catalyst was a young singer out of Atlanta, the daughter of a remarkable, culturally and socially prominent African American family, Alexandra Jackson. With intensive vocal training and wide-ranging musical interests, Jackson had the sensitivity, sensuality, and strength to capture the essence of these songs, whether singing in English or Portuguese. (Jackson worked with coaches for weeks to be able to nail the lyrics and win over Brazilian critics.)

“I’ve worked with so many top singers, and I don’t think anyone else I’ve worked with could have or would have even tried to do this.  Alexandra could and did.  The biggest thing is she made it convincing for Brazilians,” including standout performances as part of the 2016 Rio Olympics festivities.

“There’s a huge melting pot of music in our world today,” says Jackson. “This album offers the opportunity for people to step outside the box. It’s not just jazz, not the blues, not soul, not bossa nova, not samba, but it’s a mix of them all.”

Though the project resulted in 23 tracks with more than 35 contributing artists in featured roles (and 100 musicians and engineers overall), this first EP-length burst of songs sets the historical stage for the project’s ongoing engagement with Brazilian and American music’s decades-long dialog. The project’s bigger-picture goal is as ambitious as its scope: “I want to reintroduce this music to the world,” says Hebert. “I want to return it to its rightful place in the mainstream.”

This ambition has a powerful historical precedent. Brazilian music was some of the most popular in the world until the British Invasion struck and tastes shifted. There was a reason Brazilian music resonated worldwide: the sway of samba, the wry elegance of bossa nova balanced the earthy and the refined. It channeled some of the world’s most breathtaking musicianship. Hebert reached out to everyone from Jobim’s son and grandson, to samba elders like Lara and its next generation master (percussionist Pretinho de Serrinha), to the iconic Brazilian composer Ivan Lins.

Hebert and his collaborators knew it was time to elevate these elements again. “We’re really giving all we got to reintroduce this music to the mainstream, where it left off in the mid 60s. I wanted to choose songs that were hits in Brazil. Some may be familiar, but many are incredible songs the world outside of Brazil hasn’t been exposed to very much yet. We’re alchemizing it with American music, and the heart of this music is Chicago,” Hebert’s hometown and the birthplace of a jazz aesthetic that pairs perfectly with midcentury Brazilian sounds.

This alchemy creates what project advisor and contributor Ivan Lins calls “total music,” music that has no limits due to its geographical origins, that is timeless and widely compelling. Lins, along with the legacy of icon Quincy Jones, inspired Hebert to reach for the best possible performers and performances as the vision came together.

“Quincy has really inspired me over the years — not just with music, but the way he applies his true genius to the interaction of master-level human beings.  I have known him since 1993 and his musical legacy was a guiding star for me on this project. [In the wake of the untimely passing of Rod Temperton, Jones directly assisted in securing co-writer’s Lionel Richie’s blessing for “Our Time Now.”] I knew if Quincy were doing this, he would really try to get to the heart and soul of the music in a way that opened up the musicianship, that brought something new to it. I did the best I could, knowing I’m less than 1% of the musician that Q is,” Hebert laughs.  “But, I just kept asking myself for 3 years … as a Producer, what do I think Q would do?” 

To get there, Hebert asked multi-instrumentalist, composer, and producer Larry Williams to be his main collaborator. Williams, who has worked with Jones, Al Jarreau, George Benson, Sheila E, and Michael Jackson, over a 40-year career was lead producer on eight of the 23 tracks recorded for the project. “This record got done because of Larry.  No Larry Williams … no Rod Temperton, no Ivan Lins, no Djavan, no Al Jarreau,” Hebert notes. “Larry was my anchor.  I knew that this ambitious undertaking would get done because Larry Williams was in my corner. I needed one of the greatest arrangers of our time to get us over the top, where we needed to be.  That could only happen with a music master of Larry’s genius, commitment, focus, pedigree and context.”   

Hebert and Williams formed a Chicago-meets-Rio house band to record in Brazil. It included Williams and Marco Brito as primary keyboardists, tag-teaming super bassists (Darryl Jones, Arthur Maia), one of Brazil’s greatest drummers (in a country of excellent drumming) Teo Lima, guitarist Ricardo Silveira, percussionist Armando Marcal, horn players and arrangers Marcelo Martins and Jesse Sadoc. They were joined by vocal masters Chris Walker (who produced the vocals for the album), Darryl Tookes, and Curtis King, and by percussionist Pretinho da Serrinha. The Brazilian and American feels for the pocket differ, but the conversation between and among master musicians adds another layer to an already rich mix.

Hebert also gathered an orchestra for the two songs orchestrated and conducted by Larry Williams, and 4 songs orchestrated and conducted by Hebert’s 1970s’ Chicago high school bandmate Charles Floyd (who has gone on to conduct over 500 orchestras all over the world).  Hebert named the orchestra “The Bossa Nova Noites Orquestra” … comprised of Brazil’s top orchestra musicians under the supervision of concertmaster Ricardo Amado.

It is no accident Hebert and company made the record they did, one that has all the precision and warmth of a Quincy Jones project, or the early Sade projects produced by Robin Millar, but with all the virtuosic scrappiness of Chicago and Rio.

“This is old school; I’m not interested in contemporizing this music with drum machines or sequencers. Computers cannot spiritually collaborate, interact, and connect in context and in real time with a human,” Hebert states. “I wanted to create an environment and commitment to the alchemy of the music, based on humans endeavoring to evolve the origins of the music.  Brazilian, African and American music have a history of connection due to the slave trade, and that’s what creates this sense of musical integrity, what ties it all together. I let the music masters of Brazil and America contemporize the music with their insight, context and virtuosity.”  

Release
03/16/2018

02/06/2018, Total Music: The Golden Conversation between American and Brazilian Music Blossoms on Alexandra Jackson: Legacy & Alchemy
02/06/201802/06/2018, Total Music: The Golden Conversation between American and Brazilian Music Blossoms on Alexandra Jackson: Legacy & Alchemy
Announcement
02/06/2018
Announcement
02/06/2018
Hebert created the first, epic project on his new independent LEGACY AND ALCHEMY label, Alexandra Jackson: Legacy & Alchemy. At the center stands singer Alexandra Jackson, supported by some of the most significant musicians in samba, bossa nova, and MPB, and by American jazz and funk heavyweights. MORE» More»

Music industry veteran and IT entrepreneur Robert Hebert happened to be in Brazil on a work trip. One day in Rio, he stepped out of an ordinary hotel elevator and had a revelation. “I heard these young musicians in the lobby, and realized that Brazil might create the next Sade, the next singer to really synthesize pop, jazz, and Brazilian sounds like Sade and her producer Robin Millar did.”

Hebert’s insight led him somewhere altogether different, ever deeper into Brazil’s unique repertoire, heritage, and spirit. Amalgamating the golden age of 20th-century Brazilian sounds with Chicago jazz and funk, unleashing a soulful young vocalist from Atlanta on the Brazilian and Brazil-inspired songbook, Hebert created the first, epic project on his new independent LEGACY AND ALCHEMY label, Alexandra Jackson: Legacy & Alchemy. At the center stands singer Alexandra Jackson, supported by some of the most significant musicians in samba, bossa nova, and MPB, and by American jazz and funk heavyweights.

“We wanted to bring together Brazilian and American musicians and create something around the vocals, and to our pleasant surprise, it was an American vocalist who made this possible,” remarks Hebert. “We embraced the highest level of Brazilian music, with its great musicianship. The highest levels of Brazilian music and American jazz have always resonated.”

Legacy & Alchemy pays homage to samba, now in its second century, with the classic “Sonho Meu,” which contrasts Jackson’s voice with that of 96-year-old samba grande dame and songwriter Doña Ivone Lara. It demonstrates the power of Brazilian bossa nova with a cheeky, gender-reversed “Girl from Ipanema,” in which Jackson finds a whole other American-inflected swing to beloved song. It also draws on songwriting inspired by Brazil’s boundless musical creativity and resilience: “Brazilica” (by Chess Records alums Charles Stepney, Maurice White, and Ramsey Lewis) and “Our Time Now” (a heartfelt anthem co-crafted by Lionel Richie and Rod Temperton that ends with the powerhouse contribution by Armando Marcal from Rio de Janeiro’s legendary Portela samba school (reigning champion of Carnaval).

The main musical catalyst was a young singer out of Atlanta, the daughter of a remarkable, culturally and socially prominent African American family, Alexandra Jackson. With intensive vocal training and wide-ranging musical interests, Jackson had the sensitivity, sensuality, and strength to capture the essence of these songs, whether singing in English or Portuguese. (Jackson worked with coaches for weeks to be able to nail the lyrics and win over Brazilian critics.)

“I’ve worked with so many top singers, and I don’t think anyone else I’ve worked with could have or would have even tried to do this.  Alexandra could and did.  The biggest thing is she made it convincing for Brazilians,” including standout performances as part of the 2016 Rio Olympics festivities.

“There’s a huge melting pot of music in our world today,” says Jackson. “This album offers the opportunity for people to step outside the box. It’s not just jazz, not the blues, not soul, not bossa nova, not samba, but it’s a mix of them all.”

Though the project resulted in 23 tracks with more than 35 contributing artists in featured roles (and 100 musicians and engineers overall), this first EP-length burst of songs sets the historical stage for the project’s ongoing engagement with Brazilian and American music’s decades-long dialog. The project’s bigger-picture goal is as ambitious as its scope: “I want to reintroduce this music to the world,” says Hebert. “I want to return it to its rightful place in the mainstream.”

This ambition has a powerful historical precedent. Brazilian music was some of the most popular in the world until the British Invasion struck and tastes shifted. There was a reason Brazilian music resonated worldwide: the sway of samba, the wry elegance of bossa nova balanced the earthy and the refined. It channeled some of the world’s most breathtaking musicianship. Hebert reached out to everyone from Jobim’s son and grandson, to samba elders like Lara and its next generation master (percussionist Pretinho de Serrinha), to the iconic Brazilian composer Ivan Lins.

Hebert and his collaborators knew it was time to elevate these elements again. “We’re really giving all we got to reintroduce this music to the mainstream, where it left off in the mid 60s. I wanted to choose songs that were hits in Brazil. Some may be familiar, but many are incredible songs the world outside of Brazil hasn’t been exposed to very much yet. We’re alchemizing it with American music, and the heart of this music is Chicago,” Hebert’s hometown and the birthplace of a jazz aesthetic that pairs perfectly with midcentury Brazilian sounds.

This alchemy creates what project advisor and contributor Ivan Lins calls “total music,” music that has no limits due to its geographical origins, that is timeless and widely compelling. Lins, along with the legacy of icon Quincy Jones, inspired Hebert to reach for the best possible performers and performances as the vision came together.

“Quincy has really inspired me over the years — not just with music, but the way he applies his true genius to the interaction of master-level human beings.  I have known him since 1993 and his musical legacy was a guiding star for me on this project. [In the wake of the untimely passing of Rod Temperton, Jones directly assisted in securing co-writer’s Lionel Richie’s blessing for “Our Time Now.”] I knew if Quincy were doing this, he would really try to get to the heart and soul of the music in a way that opened up the musicianship, that brought something new to it. I did the best I could, knowing I’m less than 1% of the musician that Q is,” Hebert laughs.  “But, I just kept asking myself for 3 years … as a Producer, what do I think Q would do?” 

To get there, Hebert asked multi-instrumentalist, composer, and producer Larry Williams to be his main collaborator. Williams, who has worked with Jones, Al Jarreau, George Benson, Sheila E, and Michael Jackson, over a 40-year career was lead producer on eight of the 23 tracks recorded for the project. “This record got done because of Larry.  No Larry Williams … no Rod Temperton, no Ivan Lins, no Djavan, no Al Jarreau,” Hebert notes. “Larry was my anchor.  I knew that this ambitious undertaking would get done because Larry Williams was in my corner. I needed one of the greatest arrangers of our time to get us over the top, where we needed to be.  That could only happen with a music master of Larry’s genius, commitment, focus, pedigree and context.”   

Hebert and Williams formed a Chicago-meets-Rio house band to record in Brazil. It included Williams and Marco Brito as primary keyboardists, tag-teaming super bassists (Darryl Jones, Arthur Maia), one of Brazil’s greatest drummers (in a country of excellent drumming) Teo Lima, guitarist Ricardo Silveira, percussionist Armando Marcal, horn players and arrangers Marcelo Martins and Jesse Sadoc. They were joined by vocal masters Chris Walker (who produced the vocals for the album), Darryl Tookes, and Curtis King, and by percussionist Pretinho da Serrinha. The Brazilian and American feels for the pocket differ, but the conversation between and among master musicians adds another layer to an already rich mix.

Hebert also gathered an orchestra for the two songs orchestrated and conducted by Larry Williams, and 4 songs orchestrated and conducted by Hebert’s 1970s’ Chicago high school bandmate Charles Floyd (who has gone on to conduct over 500 orchestras all over the world).  Hebert named the orchestra “The Bossa Nova Noites Orquestra” … comprised of Brazil’s top orchestra musicians under the supervision of concertmaster Ricardo Amado.

It is no accident Hebert and company made the record they did, one that has all the precision and warmth of a Quincy Jones project, or the early Sade projects produced by Robin Millar, but with all the virtuosic scrappiness of Chicago and Rio.

“This is old school; I’m not interested in contemporizing this music with drum machines or sequencers. Computers cannot spiritually collaborate, interact, and connect in context and in real time with a human,” Hebert states. “I wanted to create an environment and commitment to the alchemy of the music, based on humans endeavoring to evolve the origins of the music.  Brazilian, African and American music have a history of connection due to the slave trade, and that’s what creates this sense of musical integrity, what ties it all together. I let the music masters of Brazil and America contemporize the music with their insight, context and virtuosity.”  

Announcement
02/06/2018