junho/2017

  • Blue Note Rio – Extra Globo

    Silvio Essinger – O Globo

    RIO — Fundado em 1981, no Greenwich Village de uma Nova York ainda vivendo a ressaca dos embalos da discothèque, o Blue Note se estabeleceu como um refúgio para que o jazz pudesse recuperar a sua excelência musical. Naquele clube de moldes clássicos criado por Danny Bensusan, gigantes que se sentiam deslocados num mundo hostil do pop, como Sarah Vaughan, Lionel Hampton, Dizzy Gillespie e Oscar Peterson voltaram a ter um palco que pudessem chamar de seu. Aos poucos, a franquia baseada na exclusividade e no refinamento se expandiu pelos EUA (com filiais em Honolulu e no Vale do Napa, na Califórnia), Japão (Tóquio e Nagoia), Itália (Milão) e, no ano passado, na China (Pequim). Agora chegou a vez do Brasil.

    No dia 23 de agosto será inaugurado no Rio, no espaço na Lagoa onde entre 2012 e 2015 funcionou a Miranda, o primeiro Blue Note no Hemisfério Sul. No ano em que o jazz completa seu centenário, o empreendimento de Luiz André Calainho, da L21, tenta trazer para a noite carioca a atmosfera intimista do clube nova-iorquino.

    — O Blue Note tem uma vibe especial, os artistas adoram tocar lá. É uma experiência diferente, tem uma mágica — diz Calainho, 51, sócio majoritário do empreendimento, que, de agosto a dezembro, investirá na casa R$ 4,1 milhões, “entre obras, infraestrutura, marketing e artistas”.

    Por e-mail, Danny Bensusan conta que abrir um Blue Note no Rio é um sonho realizado.

    — E não só para nós, mas para muitos brasileiros também. A música brasileira tem desempenhado um papel crucial na história da casa desde a sua fundação. O Rio é o lugar perfeito para abrir o nosso primeiro lugar na América do Sul — acredita. — Queremos servir de ponte para conectar os músicos talentosos da cidade com os icônicos artistas de jazz. Esse tipo de colaboração é essencial para fazer o público de jazz continuar a crescer.

    Bandas residentes e encontros

    Hoje, o Blue Note Rio abre a sua pré-reserva — um cadastro que dará prioridade na pré-venda de ingressos para os shows das duas primeiras semanas, que começa no dia 15 (quando serão anunciadas as atrações) e que vai até 21 (quando a venda abre para ao público em geral). Com uma lotação de 400 pessoas e uma decoração que segue os restritos padrões dos outros Blue Note, a casa carioca terá três bandas residentes (um duo, um trio e um quarteto) e abrirá para os shows das estrelas convidadas sempre de quarta a sábado.

    A noite começa às 18h30m, com um happy hour, e terá sempre duas sessões musicais diárias, com ingressos separados. Entre 1h (quando acaba o último show) e 2h30m, a casa funciona como bar. De segunda a sábado, o Blue Note Rio abrirá para almoço, com cozinha de Pedro de Artagão e dois sets de jazz. Domingo será dia dos Sunday Brunches, das 11h às 18h, com três sets das bandas residentes.

    A proposta de Calainho (que divide a direção artística da casa com Lu Araújo, criadora e diretora do festival Mimo) é de abrir o palco para estrelas internacionais do jazz e da MPB, promovendo também shows exclusivos (como o do projeto jazzístico do rapper Marcelo D2) e alguns encontros inéditos.

    Poucas obras serão feitas, segundo Calainho, em relação ao que era a Miranda da empresária Ariane de Carvalho. O palco, por exemplo, ficará agora na lateral da casa, de costas para o Morro Dois Irmãos e Pedra da Gávea. Continuam, porém, as mesas atrás das pilastras, com visão parcial do palco (essas terão ingressos mais baratos, ele garante).

    Danny Bensusan dá a receita dos Blue Note:

    — O local deve ter o melhor som e acústica, permitindo que as pessoas apreciem a música. Também deve oferecer ótima experiência culinária. Todos os Blue Note devem tratar bem os artistas, para que estejam na melhor situação para exercer a criatividade. Tem que fornecer bom camarim, boa refeição e acomodações limpas.

    Calainho e Bensusan só conversaram pela primeira vez no fim do ano passado.

    — Uma pessoa que foi chave para que isso se tornasse realidade foi o Sergio Mendes, com quem eu tinha produzido a música “Se liga aí” (para a Olimpíada do Rio). O Danny ligou para ele para saber quem eu era, e o Sergio me elogiou — conta Calainho.

    O empresário promete a abertura de um Blue Note em São Paulo no primeiro semestre do ano que vem, e depois um outro em Recife. E sonha alto com filiais do Blue Note em Buenos Aires, Punta Del Este, Lima, Cartagena… e Havana.

  • Blue Note Rio – New York Times

     

    The music of Brazil has exerted an outsize influence on jazz in the United States since at least the early 1960s, but its impact has come at a remove — largely from recordings, and the renown of a few Brazilian stars, rather than through immigration and interaction.

    The Blue Note Entertainment Group is hoping that a new club will help bridge the divide. In August the company, which runs one of New York’s most popular jazz clubs and has others across the world, is opening a club in Rio de Janeiro.

    It will be the Blue Note’s eighth jazz club worldwide and the first Blue Note in the Southern Hemisphere, expanding the franchise’s footprint to four continents. It also runs a handful of other venues in New York, as well as a travel agency and the annual Blue Note Jazz Festival. And, although the franchise’s recent expansion has not been without setbacks, the club has plans to open in other Brazilian cities over the coming two years.

    Steven Bensusan, the Blue Note’s president, said the company had long eyed Brazil as a destination, referring to the country’s “rich cultural and musical history” and “its relationship with jazz, and everything we’ve done over the years in terms of presenting Brazilian music in New York and around the world.”

    Luiz Calainho, the president of L21 Participacões, a Brazilian entertainment holding company that is a partner with Blue Note on the venture, speaks of building a “strong bridge between our music and music all over the world.”

    Mr. Calainho hopes to host Brazilian stars with varying levels of relation to jazz — like the rapper Marcelo D2 and the singers Seu Jorge and Daniela Mercury — sometimes in collaboration with American artists. The club will largely book Brazilian acts, but at least a third will be international, Mr. Calainho said.

    But the news comes at an awkward time: The Blue Note’s owners face questions about a venue in another city, the Howard Theater in Washington, which they run under the aegis of a different company. The Washington Post reported Tuesday that the Howard — long plagued by charges of mismanagement and unpaid bills — is being sued by a food vendor claiming $16,000 in unpaid invoices. And Howard Theater Restoration, the nonprofit that serves as the historic theater’s steward, said in April that it is working to push out the Blue Note team, as well as its partners at the Ellis Development Corporation, according to reports in the Post.

    Steve Bensusan and his father, Danny, who run the Blue Note Entertainment Group, also own Howard Theater Entertainment. Their Blue Note company is responsible for booking the talent at the theater. “The reason that they were selected was because they were the Blue Note, and they had operational expertise at an entertainment venue,” said Zemira Z. Jones, the former treasurer of Howard Theater Restoration’s board, who resigned in 2015. “It’s unfortunate that the Bensusans haven’t been able to figure out how to run this theater successfully.”

    But Mr. Bensusan is resisting the association. “The Howard Theater is not owned by the Blue Note,” Mr. Bensusan said. “We book talent there.” He added that in the past two years, Blue Note jazz clubs have opened in Beijing, Hawaii and Napa Valley, Calif., and that all have been running without incident. (The Blue Note group also runs a club in Milan and two in Japan.)

    The Blue Note’s executives remain proud of the high-gloss productions and high-profile bookings at their clubs, which balance an international business clientele with an appeal to die-hard music fans. They say they will bring their history to bear in Rio.

    At 8,500 square feet, the Blue Note in Rio de Janeiro will seat 350; digital renderings and floor plans suggest that it will be a densely packed single-floor space, much like its New York forebear.

    The club will sit along a commercial strip in Lagoa, an affluent lakeside neighborhood adjacent to Copacabana and Ipanema (the district immortalized in one of Brazil’s most famous bossa nova tunes). The building is currently undergoing a $1.2 million renovation in preparation for the club’s opening.

    Mr. Calainho had dreamed of opening a Blue Note in Brazil since the early 1990s, when he was an executive at Sony and often visited the New York club during trips for work.

    In 1999 he left Sony to found his own company, which now has holdings in radio, theaters and festivals. But not until 2016 did he and Mr. Bensusan commit themselves to opening a club together.

    Artists and younger audiences today express a growing ambivalence toward genre denominations, and even in New York the Blue Note often books acts that range well into the terrain of folk, pop and R&B. But the term “jazz” is an important industry tool, one that can denote a consumer experience more than a particular musical style.

    “We’re one of the few that embrace ‘jazz’ as a name,” Mr. Bensusan said. “People know what to expect when we do that.”

    He said that Blue Note patrons know they will get “top-quality entertainment, great night-life experience. I think we’ve established that in every market that we’re in.”

    Even in the face of difficulties in Washington, Blue Note’s international footprint appears to only be growing. Mr. Calainho said he was planning to help the company open two more clubs in Brazil: one next year in São Paulo, and another in 2019 in Recife. And Mr. Bensusan has other plans to expand in the years ahead, adding more clubs in China.

  • Blue Note Rio – Billboard

    The Brazil location is the first in South America, and can be seen as a capstone of Blue Note Entertainment Company’s ongoing interest in Latin music and Latin American destinations.

    A Blue Note Jazz Club is set to open in Rio de Janeiro in August. The Rio location will be the storied club’s first in South America, and the eighth venue to carry the name worldwide. Blue Note Clubs have recently opened in Beijing, Hawaii and Napa, California.

    Blue Note Entertainment Group is partnering with Brazilian company L21 Participacoes — headed by entrepreneur Luiz Calainho — to create the 350-capacity, 8,500-square-foot club. L21’s other music properties include radio stations and Musickeria, a music and brand marketing venture.

    Blue Note Rio will offer two shows nightly Wednesday through Saturday, plus a Sunday jazz brunch. Chef Pedro de Artagão, known for his creative take on Brazilian cuisine, will be in the kitchen of the full-service restaurant. The programming schedule for the club has not yet been announced.

    Earlier this week, Subrosa, another Blue Note-owned club with a Latin tinge, closed its doors. The live music venue and cocktail bar in New York City’s meatpacking district offered its last show on June 13. The club, which opened in 2014, quickly attracted an audience for its line-up of Cuban, Latin jazz and Latin alternative artists. According to the club’s web site, Blue Note Entertainment group plans to re-open the Subrosa in a larger venue on an unspecified date.

    Blue note’s recent Latin-related ventures also include sponsorship of the 2016 Havana Jazz Festival, and Blue Note Travel, which organizes music travel to Cuba and jazz cruises in the Caribbean.