Thursday, May 5, 2011

Ithamara Koorax's Classical Tour 2011

This month, Ithamara Koorax starts a new classical tour. The first two concerts will happen in Rio de Janeiro on May 10 & May 17 at the SESI Theater. The repertoire includes works by Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Debussy, Ravel, Fauré, Borodin, Wagner, Henry Purcell, Claus Ogerman, and the Brazilian composers Villa-Lobos, Delza Agricola, Alberto Nepomuceno and Chiquinha Gonzaga. The tour is sponsored by OI Telecommunication.

Considered one of the top singers in the contemporary jazz & Brazilian music scenes, Ithamara Koorax has been voted 3rd in the Downbeat 2008 and 2009 Readers Polls for 'Best Female Vocalist' (behind only Diana Krall and Cassandra Wilson), and is also featured as one the best jazz singers of all time in the book "The Jazz Singers - The Ultimate Guide," released in the USA by journalist and jazz historian Scott Yanow.

One of her latest acclaimed CDs, "Bim Bom - The Complete Joao Gilberto Songbook," a duo session with guitarist Juarez Moreira, received rave reviews in the New York Times, Cashbox, Billboard, Jazz Hot, Jazz 'n' More, All Music Guide, and many other magazines, websites and newspapers. Voted one of the Best Albums of 2009 by All About Jazz-NY, Village Voice and Latin Jazz Network, it was defined by JazzTimes' reviewer Christopher Loundon as "not only an album of gloriously elegant reverence but also a recording of essential importance."

Another recent CD, "O Grande Amor," recorded during an European tour with the Peter Schärli Trio in 2010, was also released with critical acclaim, receiving a 4 and 1/2 star review in the May 2011 issue of DownBeat magazine. "This a quiet, unassuming gem of a recording...She floats with lighter-than-air musical pillow talk. This woman has manifold ability," wrote jazz critic Kirk Silsbee.

Ithamara Koorax has recorded 14 solo albums (for the Milestone, Mercury, EMI, Irma, JVC, King, Huks and Motema labels), 15 soundtracks and took part in more than 200 special projects and compilations.

She has performed in the USA, Japan, Korea and many European countries (England, France, Germany, Swizerland, Czech Republic, Finland, Bulgaria, Serbia, Portugal etc), appearing at jazz festivals in London, Seoul, Belgrade, Funchal, Helsinki, Indijja and many other cities. Koorax has also performed classical and fusion concerts backed by Symphony Orchestras.

Koorax has worked with such artists as Antonio Carlos Jobim, Luiz Bonfa, Ron Carter, Larry Coryell, Elizeth Cardoso, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, John McLaughlin, Sadao Watanabe, Hermeto Pascoal, Marcos Valle, Peter Scharli, Jay Berliner, Edu Lobo, Martinho da Vila, Jürgen Friedrich, Claus Ogerman, Dave Brubeck, João Donato, Dom Um Romão, Thiago de Mello, Mario Castro-Neves, Raul de Souza, Chris Conway, Eumir Deodato, Lou Volpe, Laudir de Oliveira, Rodgers Grant, Gil Goldstein, Art Farmer, Eddie Gomez, the groups Azymuth, Gazzara and Os Cariocas, the big bands Amazon and Rio Jazz Orchestra, and the Symphony Orchestras "Petrobras" and "Jazz Sinfonica."

Her recordings have been remixed by top DJs from all over the world. Among them: Tom Novy, Parov Stelar, Cargo, Tetsu Shibuya/Brisa. During 2010, Ithamara performed 47 concerts in Brazil and 51 abroad, having toured Europe and Asia. In her latest Korean tour, in August 2010, Ithamara recorded an all-star project, "Arirang," alongside many pop Korean artists (like the pop group MIJI) and such jazz giants as guitarist Lee Ritenour & pianist/arranger Alan Broadbent, Diana Krall's conductor.

In the 2000s, Koorax has received high marks from DownBeat magazine on several occasions. "Ithamara Koorax has one of the loveliest voices in creation," DownBeat critic Frank-John Hadley wrote in the November 2008 issue of the jazz bible. "Koorax is delightfully unpredictable in her music...embracing virtuosity, astonishing range and volcanic vocalese," stated Fred Bouchard in a 4-star rave review (about her "Brazilian Butterfly" album) printed in the February 2007 issue of DownBeat.

According to renowned critic Thom Jurek, from the All Music Guide, "she is a diverse, adventurous, and utterly gifted vocalist. Koorax has set a new bar for jazz vocalists who come after her. As she does, they will need to embody many traditions and musical histories, root them in the tradition, and be able to comfortably combine as well improvise seamlessly with and between them."

"I quickly became a Koorax Konvert", wrote the famous jazz historian Ira Gitler. "Koorax is her own woman. She is multi-faceted and multi-lingual, comfortable in all situations and expressive in a variety of languages. Her range and technique are remarkable but you don't necessarily take time out to marvel at her technique until later on because you are too absorbed in her musical message. Her powerful singing speaks for itself with celestial eloquence."

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