At the forefront of the resurgent bossa nova scene in the U.S., Michel Navedo is known for his distinctive, alluring vocal tone and immediately recognizable trumpeting style, combining elements of his Puerto Rican heritage in equal parts with the rich musical influences of his New Orleans upbringing.
BOSSA, scheduled for release August 2015, finds the award-winning artist wearing many hats - singer, trumpeter, composer, and producer. His debut release as bandleader, BOSSA is the result of a decades-long love affair with Brazilian music and the great songwriters of the bossa nova era.
Recorded and mixed over a year and a half, the album features Navedo’s band of world-class musicians, including guitarist Jason Goessl, bassist Birch Pereira, and drummer Dave Bush. There are also special guest appearances by Josh Rawlings of Macklemore and Simon Lucas of the Von Trapps, both recording on the bossa nova classic, ”Summer Samba."
The release features five classic love songs in musical tribute to the great Brazilian songwriters of bossa nova, spotlighting Navedo’s skills as interpreter, composer, and producer. Indeed, BOSSA’s seductive bossa nova rhythms and eloquent jazz harmonies, accentuated by a stellar rhythm section and Navedo’s own captivating performances, arrives with a statement of purpose: the music of bossa nova can sound fresh and new when delivered with ingenuity and passion.
Navedo was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and there exists a palpable love affair between the music of New Orleans and the rhythms of his native Caribbean heritage.
Navedo’s musical style was greatly influenced by the salsa and bolero he heard as a child spending summers on the island. “The spectacular musicianship I was exposed to in Puerto Rico as a child, the great singer/instrumentalists, the large horn sections elevating the music, greatly influenced my decision to take up the trumpet at age nine,” Navedo says.
Growing up in New Orleans obviously had a great impact on his style, the Mardi Gras brass bands and marching percussion sections of his youth playing an important role in his approach to rhythm. “I first took up drums because I wanted to play second line in parades. I wanted to play the rhythms that got everyone moving.” In the end, he was drawn to the beautiful tone and capability for melodic expression the trumpet offered. “I wanted to play like the trumpeters I heard in the brass bands on the streets in the French Quarter. They had such swing and expressiveness, I had to learn how to do that!”Navedo explains.
Studying creative writing, jazz performance, and music composition in college, Navedo quickly gained a name for himself as a trumpeter and singer in various prominent, award-winning rock, jazz, and latin musical ensembles. His group Son Yuma was invited to perform at the world-renowned Fiesta del Fuego music festival in Santiago de Cuba, where he stayed on to study with venerated Cuban trumpeter Inaudis Paisan, performing many nights side by side with the Cuban master. “Paisan taught me many things, among them a deep respect for melody and lyricism in my improvisation,” Navedo remembers.
Navedo’s focus as songwriter spotlights his love of Brazilian music, Caribbean music, and jazz, along with his skills as lyricist, crafting songs in English, Spanish and Portuguese. His inventiveness in mixing rhythm, harmony, and language truly sets his original compositions apart. “English speakers love the music and rhythms of these countries but don’t understand the words, which are often so eloquent and beautiful. There can be something lost in the translation of a song to English. My goal is to emulate the great lyricists of Brazilian and Caribbean music, to write with the same sentimentality and lushness, using all language at my disposal, in order to make the music accessible to a broader audience,” he says.
Navedo’s lush tones as singer and insightful approach as instrumentalist and composer spotlight his immense talents in the realms of jazz, Caribbean music, and Brazilian music. He is truly an artist beyond category.