São Paulo pianist/composer/arranger AMILTON GODOY is a true pioneer of modern Brazilian instrumental music. In 1964, at age 23, he founded the iconic Zimbo Trio. Combining the rhythms of samba and bossa nova with jazz, this became one of the most influential Brazilian instrumental groups in the second half of the 20th Century, making 51 recordings and playing in 40 countries over the years. In 1973 he founded the CLAM (Centro Livre de Aprendizagem Musical) school of music in São Paulo, which has nurtured generations of Brazilian musicians to this day. At age 77, Godoy is still playing with the energy and enthusiasm of a teenager (a very experienced one)!
One of the first students at CLAM was flutist/pianist/composer LÉA FREIRE, also from São Paulo, who began her studies there at age 16. Although Amilton was not one of Léa’s teachers there, the two met when the Zimbo Trio held regular open rehearsals at the school. Over the following years, Léa has evolved into a major force in creative Brazilian music, as a performer, composer, and producer. Singer/composer Joyce Moreno calls Léa Freire “a hidden Brazilian treasure.” In 2011 Léa invited Amilton to record a solo CD of her compositions, an invitation he accepted with pleasure. When it came time to release the CD, Amilton suggested forming a duo, which went on to record a CD called “A Mil Tons” (2017), consisting of Godoy’s compositions and arrangements.
Reviewing “A Mil Tons,” Brazil’s Forum Magazine said the CD “is a great surprise, even for those who already know the two instrumentalists. Both Amilton and Léa mix experience with boldness and, far from resting on their fame and recognition, travel down adventurous paths, conquer all of them, and deliver a beautiful, modern record, with one foot in tradition and another in the future. Worth every note.”
This unique duo has toured throughout Brazil, Argentina, and the US, combining the freedom of popular music and improvisation with the elegance of chamber music, all performed with that great rhythmical, lyrical, and charming Brazilian “accent.”
In 2000, Bay Area saxophonist/clarinetist HARVEY WAINAPEL, who has toured internationally with Airto Moreira & Flora Purim, Joe Lovano, Ray Charles, and Jovino Santos Neto, visited Brazil for the first time. He spent two months there researching, meeting great musicians, performing and recording, and has returned every year since then. On his very first night there, he met Léa Freire, and a deep friendship developed over the years. Although many informal musical encounters followed, it was the Duo’s first visit to California in 2017 that resulted in this three-way collaboration, with Bay Area performances followed by a two-week tour of the Pacific Northwest. Following the current tour (which has also included several performances in Brazil in June), the trio will record a new CD.