In an age of digital music and eBooks, Brazilian musician Jair Oliveira, 35, is making a strong case for what many believe is a bygone era: CDs and print books. His sixth album Sambazz, released in May 2010, is a tribute to the combined musical influence of samba and jazz and comes packaged with a hardcover book. The book, which Oliveira wrote himself, explains how he composes, records, produces, and arranges his music. “In Brazil, the process of making a record or CD is very mysterious,” says Oliveira. “I [tried to] make it very simple and approachable.”
This is Oliveira’s second foray into the hybrid CD-book genre. Three years ago, he wrote the musical children’s book Grandes Pequeninos for his newborn daughter Isabela, with help from friends like Seu Jorge. But Sambazz expands the concept and gives audiences a tangible record of the creative process. “I think I’ll continue to do books,” Oliveira says. “Think about how awesome it would be to have Michael Jackson’s notes about Thriller. If people know your process, they get closer to your work.”
After training at Boston’s Berklee College of Music, Oliveira, the son of Brazilian singer Jair Rodrigues, joined the ranks of second-generation musicians who followed their parents into stardom. Others include Bebel Gilberto (daugher of João) and Moreno Veloso (son of Caetano). But Oliveira is unique in an industry driven by breakout stars and viral video sensations. With three Grammy nominations, alongside ventures in acting, telenovela soundtracks and theater, Oliveira continually attracts new audiences. Oliveira will promote Sambazz in 2011 through a tour of universities, where he will offer a “workshop/demonstration” on producing music. This personal dedication is also a throwback when most musicians today limit their contact with fans to traditional media and the Internet.