unthinkable that a person could experience Brazil and not get caught up
in the wonder and variety of the South American nation’s culture,
particularly its music. John Dukich, like many before him, got caught up
– so much so that he’s created Down in Brazil (2012),
co-produced with keyboardist Bob Baldwin and Brazilian percussionist
Café De Silva.
Dukich made that musical venture 10 years after a weeklong vacation
visit to his wife’s native land turned into a four-month stay. Dukich
decided to share his love of the country’s people, culture and natural
The title song, penned by Michael Franks, sets the mood. Tranquil and
engaging, it features Dukich’s down-home vocal and some George Duke-like
keyboard work by Nick Rolfe. Dave Stryker adds acoustic guitar.
Dukich sings some songs in English but several in Brazilian Portuguese.
For Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “Agua De Beber,” he begins the first verse in
English, but switches to Portuguese for the chorus. Daughter Lilly
Dukich is among the background vocalists. Famed Brazilian guitarist
Romero Lumabo is part of the ensemble. Trumpeter Claudio Roditi and
tenor saxophonist Don Braden also contribute.
Dukich counts among his inspirations such popular acts as Chicago, the
Eagles, George Benson, Tower of Power, Peter White, Lee Ritenour, Gerald
Albright and Chuck Mangione. His relations in Brazil turned him on to
the styles of samba, bossa nova, pagoda, serteneja, axe and forro.
Dukich sings all tracks, but he also plays trombone and flugelhorn on
Many North American pop, rock, blues and jazz artists have embraced
Brazilian music over the years, whether including a Brazilian-styled
song among everything else they’re doing, or dedicating an entire
project to the culture. Dukich joins a list that includes Duke, the
Manhattan Transfer, Herbie Mann and many, many more.