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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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Ron Kadish
812-339-1195 X 202

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 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.”

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Alexandra Jackson: Legacy & Alchemy