The series Classics of the Brazilian Choro You are the Soloist! enables you to discover the Choro style through the incomparable experience of performing the compositions yourself, accompanied by a Choro Ensemble. Each volume of the series features a famous composer of this amazing music style, including his/her main compositions in a digitally-mastered audio CD and a high-quality printed music book with the corresponding C, Bb and Eb scores, as well as interviews, biography, and relevance of the author to the history of Choro. Using the CD, listen to the complete stereo tracks (with soloists) for your reference. Tune your instrument (flute, sax, clarinet or mandolin) using the tuning notes. Now have fun being the soloist, using the accompaniment tracks featuring a leading Choro Ensemble from Brazil. Now you can play along with your own "Choro Ensemble," which will always be there for you, whether at home, on the road or at the beach. Have fun and good training!
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1918 On February 14 JACOB PICK BITTENCOURT is born in Rio de Janeiro, only son of Francisco Gomes Bittencourt and Polish-born Raquel Pick. He lives at no. 97 of Rua Joaquim Silva, in the district of Lapa, from where he listens to a French blind neighbor playing the violin. He doesn t have many friends, and his playing outdoors is very limited. 1930 His mother gives him his first instrument, a violin. But he just can t adapt himself to the instrument fingerboard, so he starts to use hairpins to pluck the strings. After breaking several strings, a friend of the family says: What this boy really wants to play is the mandolin. Some days after that, Jacob gets a mandolin, bought at a store called Guitarra de Prata (Silver Guitar). It was a Neapolitan style bowl-shaped model that according to what Jacob would say later on destroyed all my fingers, but got me started, after all. Without a teacher, he grows up to be a self-taught musician, trying to repeat in the mandolin some parts of songs hummed by his mother or passersby. 1931 From the window of his house he hears the first Choro of his life, É DO QUE HÁ (This is what there is to it) composed and recorded by Luiz Americano. It could be heard from the building across the street, where a director of RCA recording company used to live. I never forgot the impression it made on me, Jacob would say years later. He seldom leaves the house; he is really into going to school and playing the mandolin. After school he goes to a musical instrument store called Casa Silva, located at 17 Rua do Senado, where he spends time plucking the mandolin strings. One day, a man that had gone to the store to have his guitar fixed, hears him play and is suddenly interested in him. He gives him a card, inviting him to play at the Phillips Radio Station. When he reads the card, Jacob is amazed: the invitation had been made by the famous clarinetist Luiz Americano, composer and interpreter of the first choro he had heard. Jacob eventually gets to the Radio Station door with a friend and guitar player, but maybe because he thinks he is not yet up to the job he gives up and tears up the card. 1933 On December 20, still as an amateur player, he has his first presentation at the Guanabara Radio Station with a group of friends, the SERENO Ensemble. He plays the choro Aguenta Calunga, (Hang on, Calunga) composed by Atilio Grany, a flutist from São Paulo, which had been recorded by the author in that same year. Jacob doesn t like his performance and decides to practice some more; at that time, he still plays by ear. One day, at the same Casa Silva, a renowned interpreter of the Portuguese guitar, Antonio Rodrigues, hears Jacob playing the guitar. Probably the young guitar player s striking low notes and his choro playing style impresses the musician, who invites him to play the guitar in his presentations. 1934 On May 5 Jacob plays at the Educadora Radio Station, in a program called Horas Luzo-Brasileiras (Portuguese-Brazilian Hours), and in the evening of the same day at the Clube Ginástico Português, accompanying the guitar player Antonio Rodrigues and fado singers Ramiro D Oliveira and Esmeralda Ferreira. Jacob is surprised to see the interest shown by fado players in his guitar. More than that, he is invited to delicious cod fish dinners and has the chance to meet famous Portuguese artists, such as the singer Severa and the guitar player Armandinho. Good food, recognition, experience, but no wages. The fado period doesn t last long. The mandolin calls for Jacob. At the same time he decides that the mandolin is really his thing and he has to focus on it, Jacob begins his radio career. On May 27 he enters and wins a contest held at the Programa dos Novos (New Talents Program), at the GUANABARA Radio Station,
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