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Claudio - 2000 - in Brazil.



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THE OFFICIAL CLAUDIO SLON WEBSITE

Interview with Ray Rideout

Ray is a producer, musician, recording artist and composer who worked with Claudio.

This interview obtained via email on November 8, 2002.

 

Q.  Ray, I'd like to begin by asking you how you first came to know Claudio Slon and what were the circumstances surrounding that meeting?

A.  I first met Claudio in 1992 or 1993 when he was playing gigs with Dori Caymmi in San Diego. I heard the group a couple of times at the same club, which was in Pacific Beach. I really did not know anything about Claudio's background at the time. I just knew what I heard, which was a combination of hip-hop, Brazilian music, and Elvin Jones-influenced jazz, all wrapped up into one. I was blown away by his creative approach to playing the drums. I knew right away this was somebody I would like to have play on my CD.

 

Q.  Did you get to work with Claudio often?

A.  Unfortunately only once, which was when he played on my CD, LA PAZ EN EL CORAZON ("Peace in the Heart"). Most of the recording was done in San Diego in 1993.

 

Q.  Tell me how Claudio's involvement in your own album came about and what it was like to work with him.

A.  Involvement: see answer to #1 above. He was very pleasant to work with, and very professional about everything.

 

Q.  What is your favorite album on which Claudio plays and what makes it your favorite?

A.  I haven't heard enough of his recordings to make a judgment.

 

Q.  I've heard that Claudio had a terrific sense of humor. Do you have any interesting stories to share with our readers about that side of him?

A.  No, but in my brief acquaintance with him it became evident that he had a good sense of humor, which I always appreciate in a musician.

 

Q.  Were you always a fan of Brazilian music and Brazilian rhythms?

A.  Yes.

 

Q.  Do you have any interesting stories to relate here about Claudio's life and/or your own personal experiences with him?

A.  I recall speaking to him when he had moved away from LA, to Scottsdale, AZ. He said he wanted to get away from the atmosphere of LA, in which everyone was obsessed with getting ahead. In LA the human side of existence was lacking, so he split.

 

Q.  What would you like most for people to remember about Claudio - not only as a musician but also as a person?

A.  He was a gentle soul, very unassuming--but when he sat down at the drums, he played his ass off.

 

Thank you, Ray, for doing this interview!

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[Webmaster's note: be sure to read the reviews plus more details on Ray's album with Claudio at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/rideout.]


 

 

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Eduardo "Bijoux" Barbosa

THE OFFICIAL CLAUDIO SLON WEBSITE

Interview with Eduardo "Bijoux" Barbosa

Bijoux is an accomplished bassist who performed and recorded with Claudio Slon in the Denver, CO area.

This interview obtained via email on December 19, 2002.

Q. Bijoux, I'd like to begin by asking you how you first came to know Claudio Slon and what were the circumstances surrounding that meeting?

A. I was playing with a band called Pau Brasil, and they were trying many drummers at the time; one day I arrived at the gig and there was Claudio! [It] was a great surprise, I knew about Claudio moving to Colorado but I didn't think I was gonna play with guys like Claudio.

 

Q.  Did you get to work with Claudio often?

A. After that first meeting we were working a lot together; we did work at Vartan's Jazz Club for a while, probably over a year, but we also worked with many artists in the Colorado area, and also worked with some great artists just passing by. Soon we became this rhythm section and people wanted both of us on the gigs, that was a lot of fun because I got to hang out with him a lot and being around Claudio is always a huge learning experience every time.

 

Q.  I know that you recorded several albums with Claudio.  How many of them were there and what were the titles of all the albums?

A.  We had this band playing at Vartan's and we recorded some material and I don't know what happened to it, we recorded with Herbie Mann and it never got released either, we also did a Christmas album..., anyway, unfortunately most of what we recorded somehow never got released and it's hard to track it down so then I could get copies, but we have an album with pianist Scott Martin ["Fascinating Rhythms"], also an album with guitarist Bill Kopper called Samba de Chueca, an album with singer Heather Davis and flutist Jill Russell called "Check the Beans", and we were about to record an album with Lynn Skinner ["Gems in the Rough"].  We even had dates and studio booked, [but] that's when we heard the sad news about Claudio's car accident.

 

Q.  What is your favorite album on which Claudio plays and what makes it your favorite?

A. I really enjoy a Dori Caymmi album called "Kicking Cans", love that album! Claudio plays on half the tunes, Michael Shapiro plays on the other tunes, I especially like that album because Michael Shapiro is one of my favorite drummers to play music with the Brazilian Latin flavor and it's real cool when you are listening to that album and you hear a few bars into some tune and you can tell right away that Claudio is playing. He's got a voice on his instrument, and that is really something, we are not talking about saxophone, guitar, trumpet or even piano voicings and touch, we are talking about drums - and that could be very abstract to most people. Claudio had something very unique and I feel very fortunate for having played with him, every time I hear any of his recordings it feels like I am hearing him from the bandstand, from right next to him, so now that is a gift in itself, I knew that guy, his music speaks to me.

 

Q.  I've heard that Claudio had a terrific sense of humor.   Do you have any interesting stories to share with our readers about that side of him?

A. Well, about Claudio's sense of humor all I can say is that I used to be afraid of not getting the call for some gigs anymore, because between Claudio and me it seemed that all we did was laugh. You know, this music business is absolutely silly at times and after a while we kind of get numb to all this crazy stuff that happens around us; the thing is that Claudio wouldn't let it go, he would make us laugh all the time, just by telling us stories or maybe was the way he told the stories - also keep in mind that I haven't spoken Portuguese in about 12 years - so Claudio and I were buddies and we'd be speaking in Portuguese, remembering things about Brazil, comparing things and sometimes just the sound of the things he would say were funny, we got to a point where if something was happening we just had to look at each other and there it was, we were on the same page, and I am sure that that factor also was translated into music - or at least I would like to think so.

 

Q.  Were you always a fan of Brazilian music and Brazilian rhythms?

A. You know here is something funny, being that I grew up with that kind of rhythm, I seemed to be always interested in something different, the truth is that since I was 4 [yrs. old] I've been always in love with American music, especially jazz. I truly believe Jazz is one of the most amazing human creations, just the concept of improvisation that can be so wide open and has also influenced other styles of music as well blows my mind. I remember Claudio used to ask me to hook him up with some funk bands, blues stuff, pop, anything that wasn't Brazilian music, He felt that everybody associated him with Brazilian music and that was it, he just wanted to expand his creativity in other ways, besides he wanted to play different venues, you know maybe trying to keep it fresh. Anyway, I tried to warn him "Claudio, I can get you a gig playing the blues, but you're not gonna like it!"  :-)

 

Q.  Do you have any interesting stories to relate here about Claudio's life and/or your own personal experiences with him?

A. Well, I met Claudio probably after a year that I was living here is the States, so guys like Claudio, Dave Grusin, Claudio Roditi and many other people that I got to play with were my heroes, so at first it was nerve wracking playing with these guys, and Claudio came through as a very good friend, he shared his experiences, and imagine this, I played with Claudio for a good four years, and every time I saw him he had something interesting to say, he shared some thoughts or something, but I always came back home feeling wiser and with boosted self esteem, I really appreciate that and I am extremely thankful and grateful. You know, the truth is that this a tough business, real tough, and then the lucky ones like me find a friend like Claudio, a guy that has huge experience in the business, he is respected everywhere he goes, he is a guy that has understood deeper meaning in music than even most musicians, and this guy is just humble. And when you hear him play or if you were ever lucky enough to watch him perform live, you'll agree with me that he didn't have any conflicts with his ego, there was no ego involved. Claudio was a true Artist.

 

Q.  What would you like most for people to remember about Claudio - not only as a musician but also as a person?

A. Claudio was such a kind person, yeah kindness was his thing, he loved music so much that he believed that in the big picture music definitely has it's place - but there is a lot of other very important things in life that we need to be aware of, first because there is a balance to life and second because we are here for a very short period of time and we should enjoy the good things in life. That is not something that he told, but that's how he lived his life, and just by observing him I also learned a lot. I will remember Claudio as the Teacher, The Wise One.

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Thank you, Bijoux for the interview!

Thank you, BJ.


 

 

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Jovino Santos Neto

THE OFFICIAL CLAUDIO SLON WEBSITE

Interview with Jovino Santos Neto

Jovino is an accomplished composer, pianist, producer & educator who recorded an album with Claudio Slon.

This interview obtained via email on January 29, 2003.

 

Q.  Jovino, I'd like to begin by asking you when and how you first got acquainted with Claudio Slon.

A.  I had always heard of him through people like Hermeto Pascoal, Dori Caymmi and Sergio Mendes, but we did not meet until '99, when I came to Denver to produce a CD in which Claudio played. We also played 2 nights as a trio at Vartan's Jazz Club.

 

Q.  Did you get to see or meet with Claudio often during the time you knew him?

A.  Unfortunately, no. We did remain in touch after our work together, and spoke on the phone and traded emails.

 

Q.  What is your favorite recording on which Claudio plays, and what makes it your favorite?

A.  I do not have a specific favorite recording of Claudio. I appreciate his great sense of groove and balance, and that is pretty much everywhere whenever he played.

 

Q.  Even though you are originally from Brazil yourself, I'd like to ask if you were you always a fan of Brazilian music and Brazilian rhythms?

A.  No, actually when I was a teenager my favorite music was rock and blues, then I moved on to progressive rock to fusion jazz to jazz to Hermeto's group, and from there to all the beautiful heritage of my country.

 

Q.  Do you have any interesting stories to relate here to our readers about Claudio's life and/or your own personal experiences with him?

A.  I will always remember Claudio as a very good humored guy with whom I shared a lot of laughs and jokes. We did not spend much time together, but I became a fan of his music early, and was honored when I had the opportunity to work with him, producing the CD "Check the Beans" with Jill Russell and Heather Davis.

 

Q.  I've heard that Claudio had a tremendous sense of humor - what is your own experience with that, if any?

A.  We were always sharing jokes, not only when we met, but subsequently as well. After Sept. 11, 2001, when things became more serious, we continued a very interesting debate about world politics. He impressed me with his knowledge of world affairs as well.

 

Q.  Please tell us about the times you recorded with Claudio and what it was like to work with him as a professional musician.

A.  Working with him in the studio was a joy. All we had to do was count off a tune, and he would nail every passage with impeccable timing and style. Our trio gig at Vartan's (with Bijou on bass) was also very enjoyable. We had no rehearsal, and Claudio was a great drummer, allowing me to stretch and groove with them.

 

Q.  What would you like people to remember most about Claudio--as a person and also as a musician?

A.  A great musician, a funny and friendly personality, and a dedicated family man. What else can you expect from a guy?

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Thank you, Jovino, for doing this interview!

My pleasure!

[Webmaster's Note: Be sure to visit Jovino's own web site: http://www.jovisan.net]


 

 

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Bill Kopper

THE OFFICIAL CLAUDIO SLON WEBSITE

Interview with Bill Kopper

Bill is an accomplished guitarist, composer & recording artist who recorded an album with Claudio Slon.

This interview obtained via email on March 3, 2003.

Q. Bill, I'd like to begin by asking you when and how you first got acquainted with Claudio Slon.

A: Claudio would play at this place in Denver called "Vartan's" with various people in the mid 90's; I think he ended up staying in '96 or '97 because he was tired of the earthquakes in LA. He had a house gig at "Vartan's" and I met him through the musicians on that gig: Bijoux Barbosa, Mitchell Long, and Jeff Jenkins.

 

Q. Did you get to see or meet with Claudio often during the time you knew him?

A: Any chance I had to stop in to hear that band I would. Claudio's playing always cracked me up; he'd constantly be doing things that were totally unexpected and unfailingly musical. I loved watching other drummers watch him.

 

Q. What is your favorite recording on which Claudio plays, and what makes it your favorite?

A: For me it's "Kicking Cans" by Dori Caymmi. He's being eclectic, inventive, in the pocket, and drawing squarely from the tradition of Brazilian music. All that, and he is playing very simply. He plays on about half the record and the tunes he's on all soar.

 

Q. Were you always a fan of Brazilian music and Brazilian rhythms?

A: From the moment I heard Milton Nascimento I was. I was a freshman in college and I found one of his records in my dorm. It so happened he came to town a few months later. After seeing Milton, American music (except for jazz) sounded so rhythmically dead that I couldn't listen to it anymore. And Brazilian music (MPB, Samba and Choro) has the most beautiful melodies and chords of any music I've heard.

 

Q. Do you have any interesting stories to relate here to our readers about Claudio's life and/or your own personal experiences with him?

A: I didn't have much of a chance to spend that much time with him outside of watching him play and the brief time in the studio (We recorded 5 tunes in an hour and half so that didn't take long!), but he struck me as being similar to a guru or yogi - He had tremendous personal gravity and a profound philosophical calm. He told me about having to say goodbye to his daughter before she died, via a phone call. He was in Brazil with Joao Donato and she was in the hospital in the U.S.; He was neither maudlin nor emotionally detached as he related the story, but totally resolved to the grief and tragedy that are part of life. I actually use that memory of him as a point of reference in my own life, whenever I feel I've been knocked off my feet.

 

Q. I've heard that Claudio had a tremendous sense of humor - what is your own experience with that, if any?

A: Well the first thing that comes to mind is his joking about his impending death while on his death bed - I don't know the specifics about that but it implies a truly legitimate sense of humor to me. My experiences of his sense of humor were more related to his presence; it seemed that you really couldn't stay in bad mood while Claudio was around.

 

Q. Please tell us about the times you recorded with Claudio and what it was like to work with him as a professional musician.

A: It was like having someone pave a four lane highway in front of you as you drove. I mean you could do what ever you wanted and it would somehow work. But if you were hip enough and aware enough of what he was all about, which I wasn't at the time I played him, then it would be possible to play music on the highest level, beyond the confines of instruments and egos and all that.

 

Q. What would you like people to remember most about Claudio--as a person and also as a musician?

A: As person I would like people to remember him first for his groundedness. As musician I would like people to remember his exquisite taste in whatever he played. Incidentally, does anyone have an example of Claudio playing something distasteful? THERE would be a contest!

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Thank you, Bill, for doing this interview!

Sorry for the delay in getting this out, but February was unusually busy for me. (And I'm not complaining about that!).

[Webmaster's Note: Be sure to check out the listing for the album Bill, Claudio and Bijoux recorded on together, "Samba De Chueca".]


   

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