Meet Andrea Moraes Manson and David Manson
By Julie Garisto
Him: Trombonist in O Som do Jazz. David founded the bossa nova-inspired jazz and pop act with a revolving line-up. He’s also been the director of EMIT concert series for 13 years. The acclaimed series presents international jazz and vanguard artists. It’s received national awards from Chamber Music America, ASCAP and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.
Her: Vocalist for O Som Do Jazz and native Brazilian from Rio de Janeiro. She’s an urban planner for the city of Largo.
Together: They’ve been married since 2002 and live in St. Petersburg.
How they met: First Friday, a monthly block party in downtown St. Petersburg.
“I was wandering around and I saw this man wearing a suit,” Andrea recalls. “Nobody ever wears a suit in a block party. I went behind him, and said, “I don’t think your suit matches the party,” and he turned around and smiled. … It was so easy hitting on him.”
Andrea’s background: “My musical background is playing CDs,” says Andrea with a mock serious glare. “I’m an architect. I’ve been an urban planner. That’s been my work my whole life. We got married and David heard me singing in the shower. He had his jazz band at the school, and he said, “Why don’t you come sing with us? You sing so nice.” I procrastinated a bit and finally sang with the jazz band. It worked.
David’s past and present collaborations: “Still in the (Frank Zappa tribute band) Bogus Pomp. I used to be in SHIM, and Fluid Motion with Sam Rivers. I’ve taught at SPC and Eckerd Colleges since 1991.”
Bandmates: Musicians who’ve played in O Som Do Jazz include drummer Tom Caribasi, who studied in Brazil and has played with Manfredo Fest; plus upright bassist Alejandro Arenas, saxophonist Jeremy Powell and the deftly delicate finger-picking master Alfredo Rivera on guitar.
Latest CD: Infinita Bossa, which includes pop-jazz classics and the original Sea and Salt by David Manson.
“We tried to get a ’60s, saturated sound,” David says.
Influences: Elis Regina, Zimbo Trio and Tamba Trio
Challenges: “It’s hard to get musicians who really know Brazilian music,” Andrea says. “They think they know, but not really. Sometimes they fight with me and say they’re playing it, and I say, ‘No, you’re not!” … The way American music is, with jazz, it’s very academic. They don’t get our rhythm. There’s a little bit of a delay.”
David: “Most Brazilian music – bossa nova, samba, MPB (Música Popular Brasileira) and regional – is in 2/4 meter while most of ours (North American and European) is in 4/4. The Brazilian groove or time feel is due in part to lilting 16th notes. They are not even in duration, as we find in our rock music. You have to feel it.”
The honest truth about Brazilians: Andrea doesn’t shy away from the generalization that Brazilians boldly express their opinions.
Andrea: “Brazilians are known for being blunt.
David: “We’re going to start an advice column called ‘Ask a Brazilian.’”
Andrea: “Don’t ask me if you’re fat unless you really want to know!”
Hear them: O Som Do Jazz performs 5-8 p.m. at the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg; (727) 823-3767; $7.50; and 3 p.m. Sunday, July 27, at the Catherine A. Hickman Theater in Gulfport; (727) 341-4363. $10. emitseries.org or obabossanova.blogspot.com/