Trio Bruxo concluded our first "tour," playing Toronto and Ottawa last week. Just before we hit the road, Peter Hum conducted an interview with yours truly on the great riches of Brazilian music.
I tend to have bad luck with car rentals, but drummer Mark Nelson's Maori lucky charm worked in our favour, scoring an upgrade to a Ferrari-red Dodge Avenger for no extra charge. We went to pick up Nic Bédard and his gear, and swung back to my place for all my stuff before getting on the road. Over the three days we got the packing down to a science.
Mark and I swapped iPods into the auxiliary jack of the car for most of the trip. I must admit, because Mark was doing all the driving, I was doing the selecting. Lots of Brazilian music to get in the mood, as well as forward-looking jazz (Krantz/Carlock/Lefebvre, Rich Brown & rinsethealgorithm, Jason Lindner's big band arrangement of "Giant Steps") and old soul (Stax 50th anniversary compilation).
We met up with Brownman around 6 pm and ran through a couple of tunes. On his recommendation, we went for some killing Vietnamese food in the Junction, and then headed over to Trane Studio. It was apparently Brazilian week in Toronto - a host of local talent performed on Sunday's Brazil fest, Carlinhos Brown and Elba Ramalho played during Brazil Day festivities on Labour Day Monday in Yonge/Dundas Square, and then the night after us, Cajamarca was playing at Trane, Luanda Jones was at the Distillery and Salviano Pessoa was at Lula Lounge. The Trane crew of Frank, Kris and Tai were considerate and helpful in changing over between an earlier benefit concert and our show. We got on around 11, and played a solid 75-minute set for old and new friends, eager to continue their Brazilian fix. Cuban conguero Alberto Suarez sat in on pandeiro on a tune, leading to a five-man percussion break: Alberto, Brown on his hybrid percussion kit, Mark on drums, Nic on shaker and me on tamborim.
Us night owls went out in search of food after the gig, forgetting that Toronto isn't as quite the late-night grub-friendly city as is Montreal. We wound up at a grocery store, took some bizarrely funny photos of us in a shopping cart (at least, before the security guard confiscated it), bought some late-night snacks and breakfast food and headed back to Brown's place. We fueled up in the morning on some amazing coffee courtesy of Crema Coffee on Dundas, and hit the road for Ottawa.
I had just played Mercury Lounge with Isaac Neto a week and a half prior, so I knew the soundguy, DJ Lance Baptiste, and the layout of the room. Set-up went off without a hitch, and we headed off for Indian food in the Byward Market. We had a decent yet intimate crowd for our first show in Ottawa. Mercury is set up as a dance club, and the music we play is ostensibly dance music (even though no one is singing). The audience was more inclined to show their appreciation sitting down, which was fine, but I couldn't see them with the bright lights in my face. Towards the end, some ex-Montrealers living in Ottawa got the party started with us.
It was a total blast to bring this music to new cities, and I can't think of two better people for a roadtrip than Mark and Nic. Thanks to everyone who came out in Toronto and Ottawa, and we hope to do it again soon.