“… sveltely swinging Brazilian jazz … bosses of bossa nova …”
Owen McNally, Hartford Courant
" ... frisky spontaneous energy that’s bolstered by the audible whooping of the audience."
CD review from Yale Alumni Magazine
Sambeleza performs a wide variety of Brazilian songs - both old and new - with a jazz twist. Featured composers include Tom Jobim, Ivan Lins and Ary Barroso, as well as younger composers like Djavan, Dani and Debora Gurgel and Arlindo Cruz. The group also performs a number of original compositions to round out the mix.
Brasil (spelled with 's' in Portuguese) is well known for its rich heritage - a blend of indigenous, African and European cultures - from which the music has risen with fascinating rhythms, soaring melodies and colorful harmonies.
The musicians of Sambeleza are outstanding U. S. and Brazilian interpreters of the great songs of the bossa nova and samba traditions, as well as outstanding jazz artists in their own right.
Sambeleza derives its name from two words: samba, the national dance of Brasil, and beleza, Portuguese for 'beauty'. The group has performed widely in Connecticut at festivals - including the International Festival of Arts & Ideas, Middletown Summer Sounds, Milford and Hamden Arts Councils - and at universities, nightclubs, restaurants, and libraries throughout the Southern Connecticut region.
The group frequently collaborates with highly regarded musical artists, notably Brazilian drummer Adriano dos Santos and renowned flutist/percussionist Paul Lieberman. Most recently Sambeleza collaborated with the Haven String Quartet on a series of concerts of bossa nova songs with lush string accompaniment.
Guitarist Joe Carter's specialty is Brazilian Jazz, combining straight ahead and bebop styles of jazz with samba, bossa nova and Northeast styles of Brazilian music. Two CDs showcase his familiarity with Brazilian music: "Um Abraco No Rio" was recorded in Rio de Janeiro with Brazilian musicians including world-renowned harmonica virtuoso Mauricio Einhorn. Joe’s Samba Rio Trio often utilizes the talents of bassist Nilson Matta and legendary drummer Portinho.
Joe is Director of the Music Department at Sacred Heart University.
Bassist Jeff Fuller, well-known CT jazz artist, toured worldwide and recorded with master saxophonist Lou Donaldson and Paquito D'Rivera, with each of whom he recorded three albums. He has also appeared with jazz artists of all styles and eras. In the field of Latin Jazz, Fuller toured with Paquito D'Rivera's Havana/New York Quintet, the Hilton Ruiz Quintet, and Orlando "Puntilla" Rios' Nueva Generación (Afro-Cuban folkloric). He composes and arranges for the acclaimed salsa group, Irazu, whose albums have featured top Cuban soloists Arturo Sandoval and Tata Guines. He was co-leader and arranger for the popular Samba Brasil, whose music blended jazz and a broad spectrum of Brazilian folk styles. Samba Brasil won the Hartford Advocate¹s "Best Latin" category seven times (1999-2001, 2003-2006).
Laura Volpintesta is a vocalist who specializes in Brazilian music and jazz. She became obsessed with jazz, gospel, African and Latin music while a student at Parsons/The New School in NYC and Paris. Born in Mexico City, but raised in Bethel, CT, she has forged a triple career as musician, fashion illustrator and professor at Parsons in NYC. Besides her musical credits, she is the author of The Language of Fashion Design. Coming from a musical family, her mother - a singer of art songs - exposed her to many languages and harmonies growing up. Volpintesta is fluent in Portuguese, French, English and Spanish. While in NYC she sang with the gospel choir of Anthony Evans, the charanga band Pasión, and Brazilian musicians Jair Coelho, Carlinhos de Almeida, Ze Mauricio, Arildo de Souza, Euri Meira, Kako Oliveira, Adriano dos Santos and Fernando Saci, among many others.