Rio Das Ostras Provides Local Flavor, Blues Stunners on Opening Night
The campgrounds of Costazul transformed into a bona fide “Cidade do Jazz” during the Rio Das Ostras Jazz & Blues Festival, which kicked off Wednesday evening, June 6, with a fitting dose of local talent. Even on opening night in Rio Das Ostras, Brazil, a packed house of international fans ventured two-and-a-half hours outside of Rio de Janeiro to behold a program rife with tightly infused big bands, honeyed homegrown guitar greats and a scorching hat-tip to American electrified blues. The festival, which celebrates its 10-year anniversary this summer, is set to run until Sunday, June 10, on several shore-side public stages throughout the city.
Big Band 190, an assemblage of horn-blowers from the Independent Company of Musicians from the Military Police of the State of Rio de Janeiro, proved their collective swinging abilities but allowed plenty of time for solos to circulate around the stage. The group served up several local favorites but didn’t fail to deliver on standards such as “When The Saints Go Marching In,” the reedist spotlight of the set. A surprising game changer to the repertory of a big band, Chick Corea’s “Spain” kept the crowd moving as the military musicians remained expectantly staunch and composed.
Crescent City homagers Orleans Street Jazz Band side-winded throughout the crowd exuding the front porch Bourbon Street delights before guitarist Helio Delmiro shook up the orchestral repertoire, gamboling up and down the fretboard on a string of fusion-fueled, mind-bending ax spotlights and light-as-air attacks.
Rounding out the evening was the first blues offering of the festival and by-and-large the mainstage favorite, Celso Blues Boy (who once shared the stages of Brazil with B.B. King). He singed the stage with a throng of amp-crunching sing-alongs, rhythmic Delta mud slingers and ear-searing, crowd-pleasing, seamless Strat solos.
Masterminded by the Rio Das Ostras Cultural Foundation, the fledgling members of Orquestra Kuarup Cordas & Sopras—a 25-member arsenal of young string and wind players—also reestablished themselves as legitimate festival mainstays and a respectable opener. Directed by pro maestro Nando Carneiro, the neighborhood favorites permeated the fresh evening air with a flute-heavy, samba-imbued, closely knit musical review that solidified their position at Rio Das Ostras for the seventh consecutive year.
DownBeat will be offering online coverage of the Rio Das Ostras festival throughout the week. For more information on Rio Das Ostras, visit the festival’s website.