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Preview: Oba Oba Brasil Band Blog

Oba Oba Brasil Band Blog

Last Build Date: Thu, 22 Feb 2007 2:48:48 UTC

Copyright: Copyright 2007

On rotating musicians

Thu, 22 Feb 2007 2:48:48 UTC

A heartbreaking work of staggering genius follows. Did you read that book? I found it self-indulgent beyond belief, and coming from me, that means it was really, really self-indulgent. Anyway...

This Saturday the Brasilian group is playing Jackie Blue, from 10pm to 1am. I personally believe they should change their music hours to 9 to midnight, as our music has an appeal to a broader range of ages than does that of most of the groups that perform there. Besides, about 10pm, I'm usually getting sleepy. But I'll take a nap Saturday afternoon, so I'll be on. This Saturday we perform with guest artists Trixi Greiner on piano, and Pete Barnhart on percussion. Both are from Lancaster. Trixi is the one playing on our demo tunes, which you can download at

Here's the thing about jazz "groups". Before I moved to Harrisburg, I freelanced almost entirely in Miami and Dallas. Freelance musicians get a call from someone who has booked a gig. The musicians showed up with fake books, or the leader would hand out a book, and we'd just play the music.

There was very little of that going on in Harrisburg when I got here, almost 4 years ago. So my son and I, plus some others, formed a couple of jazz groups with steady membership. That's OK too, but a lot of the thrill in jazz performance is the spontaneity that is generated by playing with different people. So now we've taken Oba Oba Brasil into kind of a hybrid situation, in which we have a number of top-notch pianists, guitarists, and percussionist, plus a core of regulars. That way, we mix up the sound and keep it fresh, but with a familiar element for those listeners who come back frequently. The key to doing this is to have a pool of talent, and it takes time to identify those people. They have to be able to read, they have to know the many styles you'll play, and of course, they have to improvise exceptionally well over those styles.

Another thing going on musically is that we're cutting back on the number of overall gigs between the two groups. We've been doing every weekend, and it's just a bit too much for me. As a part-time musician, I don't do it for the money. When you're full-time, you pretty much take every gig you're available for. So we're attempting to work it out where we gig 2-3 weekends a month, allowing for some level of normal social intercourse. It's a lot of fun to play, but it's nice to be in the audience sometimes too.


Tue, 20 Feb 2007 1:20:32 UTC

And now, for the other end of carnival...

Power samba group - Oba Oba Brasil, finishes the Carnival period with a Saturday, February 24 performance at Jackie Blue. Jackie Blue is at 1313 n. 2nd st. in Harrisburg. We play from 10pm to 1am.

Here's the thing about Jackie Blue - we always play with the most energy there. The sound, up where the band sets up, is full of echo and noise, not the best set up. It's fine out where people are listening, but the result is that we focus more on the energy than the nuances. The result is always an exciting performance.

Carnival, y'all

Sat, 17 Feb 2007 14:16:40 UTC

Kick off Carnival tonight, with Brasilian power samba band - Oba Oba Brasil!

Tonight, February 17, Carnival starts right here in central PA at Suba, the tapas bar above Mangia Qui (272 North st. Harrisburg). Oba Oba Brasil, a local Brasilian/Latin jazz group, kicks off the Carnival season with a performance from 9 to midnight. This is a favorite haunt of local Brasilians, and Oba is their group of choice (we're really good, but it might also be because we're the only group doing Brasilian music). Anyway, it's a small place so get there early to avoid standing. Authentic drinks are available and by 10:30 or so, the crowd is usually up dancing.