Claudia Villela Quartet, Monday, April 15, 2013


Claudia Villela Quartet
Monday, April 15, 2013
Kuumbwa Jazz

“She is pure music.” – Bela Fleck

Vocalist Claudia Villela’s talent for musical exploration knows no limits. Growing up in Rio de Janeiro, she absorbed the sounds of Brazil all around her: samba, bossa nova, partido alto, baião, choro, as well as the influences of Brazil’s classical composers and American jazz musicians, from traditional to avant garde. For Claudia, music is a spiritual exercise to be embraced openly and unpremeditated, a search for inspiration and spontaneity. Her compositions and vocal improvisations encompass the full range of human emotion, sometimes dramatic, sometimes humorous, but always fascinating.  Performing with Claudia are longtime musical associates Jeff Buenz on guitar, Gary Brown on bass, and Celso Alberti on drums/percussion. Inverse Universe is her most recent CD.

Villela can’t remember a time when she wasn’t singing, or otherwise involved in music, while growing up in her native Brazil. Although she considered going into medicine at one point in her life, the pull of music was too strong, and she ‘compromised’ with a degree in music therapy. Claudia immigrated to California, in 1984, to join her husband, a Silicon Valley tech engineer who had left Brazil earlier. Although she spoke little English, she dove right into the Bay Area music scene, joining the Stanford University Chorus and, later, the De Anza College Jazz Singers (winners of a Downbeat magazine award).  With her classically trained voice, and creative improvisational abilities, Claudia pursued gigging around the Bay Area, often performing with fellow Brazilian expatriates. From the beginning, she followed an uncompromising path in her journey and developed a talent for composing music, as well as becoming known for her five octave vocal range.

The full scope of Brazilian music moves well beyond the samba and bossa nova styles that are familiar to most North Americans. Brazilian culture envelopes a lush mélange of Portuguese, African, and Arabic music mixed with European classical and folk traditions, all re-imagined with each new generation of artists. It’s a cultural palette reflected in Villela’s own compositions and choice of material. As Claudia says, “My singing is the sum of all the music I’ve heard, from Brazilian baroque to bossa nova to free improvisation, the nostalgic and the modern.” JazzTimes magazine has described her as, “a female Bobby McFerrin.” The late jazz critic Phil Elwood enthusiastically wrote: “Villela actually dances with her voice on top of Brazilian beats.” The New York Times put it even more succinctly: “Remarkable, beautiful towering voice…” And that says it all.

Claudia Villela Quartet

DATE: Monday, April 15, 2013
PLACE: Kuumbwa Jazz Center
ADDRESS: 320 Cedar St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
TIME: 7:00 PM
PRICE: $20/Adv $23/Door
TICKETS: Logos Books & Records, 1117 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz (831) 427-5100 and online at:
MORE INFO: or 831-427-2227

Media contact:
Sandy Sloan


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