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Jazz Station Blog
by Arnaldo deSouteiro
"The 33rd. Best Jazz of 2011 Awards"
MOZIK #1 best new talent of 2011;
Among the #15 best CDs of 2011;
Yulia Gustavo, Fernando, Mauricio and Gilson are placed among the 10 best of 2011 on their respective instruments: flute, guitar, bass, drums and keys.
by J. Ross
"(...)Schachnik's compositions are comprehensive introductions to the Mozik style, but the real treat is the band's reading of Herbie Hancock's "Eye of the Hurricane"and "Desafinado" by Antonio Carlos Jobim. The two melodies are given a rhythmically disorienting quality, that instead of detracting from the original composer's intentions, adds new layers to two well-worn charts. On the other side of the spectrum, a piano trio reading of Thelonius Monk's "Panonnica" is sped up and given a smooth brazilian sheen. Mozik certainly owes a lot to the 1980's. This connection to fusion history - its warts as well as its triumphs - could be a non-starter for some, but Mozik pulls off the dance between self-indulgence and quirky anachronism while keeping the music vivacious and exciting. "
Latin Beat Magazine
Mostly recorded at the Berklee College of Music, this self-titled production by the quintet Mozik is co-led by a couple of Berklee graduates —Gilson Schachnik (keyboardist) and Mauricio Zottarelli (drums). Characterized by its contemporary arrangements, Mozik delivers rhythmic Brazilian fusion sounds reminiscent of Azymuth and the groups led by Airto Moreira, without becoming too “retro.” Drummer Zottarelli is remarkable, practically providing a clinic on Brazilian drumming and percussion. The quintet performs a program comprised mostly of Brazilian and jazz standards, with only two original scores. My favorite ones are “Web’s Samba” (penned by Schachnik, who also shines on keyboards throughout the entire recording), Jobim’s “O Amor Em Paz,” and Duarte’s “Canto Das Tres Raças.” Completing the quintet are Yulia Musayelyan (flute), Fernando Huergo (bass), and Gustavo Assis-Brasil (guitars). This recording was made possible by a Faculty Recording Grant awarded by the Berklee College of Music.
Jazz & Tzaz – Greece
'Mozik', simply put, is a very tasty Brazilian Jazz album, the way each Brazilian Jazz album is expected to be. Two Brazilians from Sao Paul that have been living in Boston for quite some years, keyboardist Gilson Schachnick and drummer Mauricio Zottarelli, meet with their compatriot guitarist Gustavo Assis-Brasil, with Argentinian bassist Fernando Huergo and Russian Flutist Yulia Musayelyan, as they collectively re-establish on their own foundation not only the classic repertoire(three compositions of A.C. Jobim, one from Hancock and one from Monk...), but also the general airy spirit of South-Atlantic Jazz, through two original compositional gems('Web's Samba', 'Zelia') and, of course, also the general philosophy and opinion that each Brazilian musician posseses, being asked to present his national music no matter where he is in the world.
We can say that the introduction with the stormy 'Web's Samba' is perfectly appropriate. An exceptional...Bossa in the beginning (that keeps turning and spinning exactly the way it should), based on the instrument that is the secret symbol of that style, which is no other than the flute, the percussion and guitar breaks and the beautiful piano accompaniment, 'A Felicidade' and 'Desafinado' no matter how you bring them out(present them), if you are a...patriot, there is no way to not do them justice, however, what makes you bow and tip your hat, is the interpetation of Monk's 'Pannonica', an allready unforgettable composition,which is being transformed into a godly piece of music. The surprises in this 'delicious' 55 minuite album are continuous and as much as you enjoy the smoothest track of 'Mozik', which is no other than 'The eye of the hurricane' by Hancock, the awesome closer 'Canto das tres Racas(by Mauro Duarte/Paulo Cezar Pinheiro, which was sung by the prematurely lost Clara Nunes in 1976 - an anthem!) is the absolute step(jump). An exorable percussive play, an other-worldly melody that is performed magically by the piano and flute. Especially during the bars in which the flute plays 'soli', the piano is filling in and the vocals enter, the... 'wildfire' is uncontrollable. Not even...199(emergency number) will save us.
"Mozik" gets an early vote of confidence, considering the highly regarded composers whose work it features: Antonio Carlos Jobim, Herbie Hancock, and Thelonious Monk. However it is keyboardist Gilson Schachnik's composition (Web Samba) that opens the album with flautist Yulia Musayelyan lighting a multi-colored, flickering fire under the tightly bundled percussion, for Schachnik's keyboards and Fernando Huergo's bass to rush like moths to the undulating edges of the rising rhythmic flame. Taking a cue from Schachnik and Huergo, Musayelyan rushes headlong into Antonio Carlos Jobim's sprightly and energetic (A Felicidade) displaying a level of dexterity on the flute that borders on virtuosity. Flowing. Clean. Lyrical, and exciting. The arrangements of the selections and their execution at this juncture show a level of sophistication and aesthetic awareness within the group that translate to a heightened intensity of the musical experience in the bracketing of Herbie Hancock's sublime composition (Eye of the Hurricane) with Jobim's previous (A Felicidade) and (O Amor Em Paz) which begins with Schachnik's subtle keyboard reference to composer Ary Barrosa's classic "Brazil." This section offers a clear look at the band's versatility, clarity of expression, and improvising strength. It also highlights Schachnik's and Zottarelli's arranging prowess.
The band displays effortless facility in traversing between between iconic composers, and their entry into the canon of the revered Thelonious Monk to invite (Pannonica) out to dance, seems as natural as her graceful butterfly-like reaction to Schachnik's sensitive keyboard playing, and Zottarelli's imaginative drumming that describe the mood and effect in colors as majestically interwoven as those that would grace its fluttering wings. Gustavo Assis-Brasil is a guitarist that is comfortable with any genre, tempo, melody or mood and he shows that he can change gears seamlessly on another Schachnik composition; the uptempo, passionate (Zelia) and puts a noticeably brisk, bopish breeze in the air for the normally sensual Jobim bossa nova classic (Desafinado). Musayelyan's flute picks up the pace of the melody, but manages to retain its original beauty, and if anything makes it more accessible in a new, exciting, rhythmically 'individualistic' jazz garb. A final stop in exotic, colorful, sweltering, samba-soaked Brazil is made with Paulo Cesar Pinheiro and Mauro Duarte's (Canta Das Tres Racas).
A palpable release of rhythmic energy is felt throughout the piece and in the nostalgia-laced, hypnotic, carnival cry of the swaying vocal harmonies (Mozik, Milene Corso, Yukari Roja, and Christine Vaindirlis) accompaning the infectious, fiesta drenched melody from the flute and keyboard ; proving indisputably that you may take the man out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the man.
"Keyboardist Gilson Schachnik and drummer Mauricio Zottarelli, both born in Brazil, admittedly were never steeped in the traditional cultural rhythms and instruments unique to their birthright, and they did not know each other before meeting at Boston’s Berklee College of Music. Growing up deeply influenced by a strong background in hard rock and fusion jazz, they each found themselves expected to be natural experts in samba and bossa nova by their peers and professors at Berklee. The resulting examination Schachnik and Zottarelli took of Brazilian music, seen through the lenses of their mutual backgrounds in such an entirely different musical art form resulted in winning a faculty grant from Berklee to produce MOZIK, a project for a quintet of very diverse international musicians who all are now based in the United States.
'Web’s Samba', a composition by Schachnik reveals unrestrained influences from the music of his youth and the study of Brazilian influenced jazz. The composition includes rhythms from the musically lush Bahia, including Candombe and other Yoruban influenced sounds. The bass is the glue of the piece and confidently laid down by Fernando Huergo of Argentina. A 'Felicidade', a Jobim composition is given a new treatment with breaks tightly led by Musayelyan’s cutting, percussive flute work and very nice guitar solos by Brazilian Gustavo Assis-Brasil. It is true, no bossa nova or soft samba recording can leave out a few gorgeous Jobim tunes, but here the arrangements take on new influences and turn this classic standard into a different expression. A 'Felicidade' dances out percussively, freely interpreted and brand-new! Jobim's 'Amor em Paz' saunters in with Schachnik’s melancholy, expressive piano work. It is a well blended piece carried by Assis-Brasil’s pretty guitar work and Zottarelli’s brushes and nice cymbal work. The flute has moved into a supportive position in this arrangement, well executed and still maintaining the tone previously admired in the first cut. Herbie Hancock's 'Eye of the Hurricane' is also an updated treatment invested with each instrumentalist’s verve, with the rock history of Schachnik and Zottarelli most apparent. I enjoyed the crossover between the classic interpretation of this popular piece and the youthful drive and color of the rock/fusion influences.
A pulsing samba version of the beloved Monk tune 'Pannonica' has solid bass work by Huergo, which in turn supports fluid piano work by Schachnik. 'Zelia', an original by Schachnik, enters with a flourish and settles into some nice guitar work, supported by the keyboard’s violin sounds. 'Zelia' is a fiercely happy piece that also breathes. I hope to hear more compositions by this pianist. The third tribute to Jobim’s music is the classic beauty 'Desafinado', again worked into an extravagant, fun arrangement. It is a true percussionist’s piece. An ideal meter was put into place, making this version impossible to sit still to. The flute is not overtly sweet, although that is traditionally what is heard when used as a voicing in this tune. Instead, it has a dark quality that suits the interpretation very well. 'Canto das Tres Raças', a Duarte/Pinheiro tune brings the project to a tasteful and solid conclusion. A percussionist’s delight, with Musayelyan’s rich flute dancing over the top, it is a relaxed yet energetic samba that incorporates the breadth of the blending of diversity from all players’ backgrounds. It contains a lovely, extended piano solo supported by the drum kit, but evolving into a hand percussion and vocal samba that leads out the end of the piece. It is a fitting finale to this recording project.
Drummer Mauricio Zottarelli and pianist Gilson Schachnik have recorded a new album. "Mozik" is a mix of Brazilian rhtythms, funk, fusion and also elements of rock, mainly influenced by Latin rhythms but tastefully put together. As a whole it is really convincing and a true success. The musicians involved are Yulia Musayelyan on flute, Fernando Huergo on bass, Gustaco Assis-Brazil on guitar, and the aforementioned musicians Mr. Gilson Schachnik on piano and Mauricio Zottarelli on drums. It starts with an extremely groovy "Web's Samba" composed by Gilson Schachnik. Amongst another song by the pianist, the musicians also play compositions by Herbie Hancock ("Eye of the Hurricane"), "Pannonica" by Thelonious Monk, as well as songs by Jobim. They are beautifully interpreted and come across in a fresh and lively manner. In addition, drummer Mauricio Zottarelli convinces playing the drums, both technically and musically. A perfect album for the coming warmer days.
All About Jazz
"Co-led by Berklee graduates keyboardist Gilson Schachnik and drummer Mauricio Zottarelli (best-known for his work with pianist Hiromi Uehara), Mozik's self-titled debut CD features the sort of fusion-tinged Brazilian jazz made popular a couple of decades ago by artists such as Airto Moreira, Azymuth, and Egberto Gismonti. Playing a program comprised largely of classic Antonio Carlos Jobim pieces ("A Felicidade," "O Amor em Paz," and "Desafinado") and recognizable modern jazz selections by Thelonious Monk and Herbie Hancock, Mozik's modus operandi combines intense focus with a characteristically Brazilian sort of hip, breezy nonchalance. The quintet's two original tunes have a similar flavor—neither "Web's Samba" nor "Zelia," both penned by Schachnik, would have sounded out of place on an early Azymuth LP. Outwardly friendly and sunny, both tunes feature funky hard-hitting percussion and somewhat darker intervals that epitomize the Brazilian concept of saudade. The quintet provides a contemporary take on three easily recognizable Jobim tunes—its interpretations nimbly straddle the line between slavish reverence and complete overhaul. Guitarist Gustavo Assis-Brasil shines on "A Felicidade," his clean tone, mind-boggling chops, and fastidious attention to detail suggest influences such as Mick Goodrick and John Abercrombie, though his harmonic and melodic ideas are completely his own. Zottarelli's drumming here is also remarkable, seamlessly blending funk, Afro-Cuban, and Brazilian rhythms in a particularly stimulating fashion. Assis-Brasil, this time on nylon-string acoustic guitar, is also out front on "O Amor em Paz" (Once I Loved) which benefits from Schachnik's appropriately lush arrangement.
Mozik's take on "Desafinado" features some intricate rhythmic modulations, fine solos by Shachnik and bassist Fernando Huergo, and lots of lovely flute from Yulia Musayelyan. Departing somewhat from the fusion-esque aspects of Brazilian jazz, Mozik really delve into samba on the CD-closing "Canto das Tres Racas." Zottarelli's percussion gives this piece an Afro-Cuban feel, while Musayelyan's airy, primal flute flutters nimbly over Schachnik's piano. The remainder of the CD is similarly engaging. The quintet's high-energy take on Hancock's rarely-covered classic "Eye of the Hurricane" gives Schachnik an opportunity to show off his Rhodes chops and Assis-Brazil a chance to demonstrate the high- energy aspects of his playing. Monk's "Pannonica," by contrast, gets a relaxed, samba-like treatment that suggests some of Jerry Gonzalez' Latin-ized Monk rearrangements. Never veering off into smooth jazz irrelevance, or overly-abstruse experimentation, Mozik's music effectively, sweetly pays tribute to the salad days of Brazilian jazz without going completely retro. The quintet's music is both warm and intelligent, while retaining the sort of funky playfulness that some may interpret as an invitation to dance."
by J. Richardson
"With their new record Mozik, pianist Gilson Schachnik and drummer Mauricio Zottarelli offer a take on Brazilian jazz. (...)Flutist Yulia Musayelyan’s playing easily sinks into the arrangements and helps to accentuate the rhythms. Musayelyan’s playing isn’t all flourishes and flavours; it highlights, brightly assisting Zottarelli’s varying beats while dancing with Gustavo Assis-Brasil’s guitar and Schachnik’s keys. Now you can’t have an album of Brazilian jazz without including some standards from Antonio Carlos Jobim. Mozik has three such arrangements, each one lovingly tinkered with by Schachnik. The theme from Black Orpheus, “A Felicidade,” is a standout with its slow-burning gait that doesn’t ignore the melancholy of the original while building to inevitable bliss. There’s also some traditional jazz, with Herbie Hancock’s “Eye of the Hurricane.” The piece, a beautiful standard of modal jazz with its slow-moving harmonies, is lovingly kissed by Brazilian jazz rhythms and Assis-Brasil’s velvety strings. The history of Schachnik and Zottarelli shines through with every note of Mozik, an enticing album of Brazilian jazz that is bathed with a wealth of influences from various genres.
" Mozik are pianist Gilson Schachnik and drummer Mauricio Zottarelli, and through one of those strange ironies of fate they only began to play Brazilian music after arriving in Boston from Sao Paulo, Brazil. The reignited passion for their homeland's music has led to this, their debut album - a collection of eight tracks of vibrant, good humoured Brazilian Jazz. With some of the tracks written by these gentlemen and others being covers of tracks by Jazz giants such as Herbie Hancock, Thelonius Monk and Antonio Carlos Jobim, this an album rich in those exotically lush melodies and rhythms.
The remaining members of Mozik [for this album at least] are: Yulia Musayelyan - flute, Fernando Heurgo - bass, and Gustavo Assis-Brasil - guitar. The eight track titles are: Web's Samba, A Felicidade, Eye Of The Hurricane, O Amor Em Paz, Pannonica, Zelia, Desafinado, Canto Das Tres Raças. This may be Jazz, but there is a strong vein of pop also running through the album - it is very easy on the ear. You wouldn't know it from listening to this album but some of these musicians didn't meet or play together until the recording dates, which seems phenomenal to these humble ears, as it sounds like they have been playing together for many years. They just sound so connected. It is rare to find an album that just radiates sunshine and good vibes from the first note, but Mozik is one of those rarities and should be embraced and cherished for the upcoming winter months. Highly recommended.”
Jazz Society - Oregon
by Kyle O'Brien
" Pianist Gilson Schachnik and drummer Mauricio Zottarelli gathered an international band, including Russian flutist Yulia Musayelyan, Brazilian guitarist Gustavo Assis-Brasil and Argentine bassist Fernando Huergo, and made a clean, crisp album that is heavily South American but with a few touches to make it less traditional. The first two tracks are fairly straightforward samba-meets-bossa, with Musayelyan's lovely, assured flute anchoring the melody. For guys who didn't want to go the traditional route, it's surprising that they chose so many Jobim tunes, including the ubiquitous "Desafinado." Luckily, they've transformed the tune with Afro-Cuban rhythms in the mix, along with chord alterations. They also take Monk's "Pannonica" and add layers of backbeat and polyrhythm, then make Hancock's "Eye of the Hurricane" a Brazilian fusion samba.(...) It does keep the tunes fresh, and the expertise of the musicians keeps it integral."
A record of Brazilian jazz led by Brazilians and featuring three A.C. Jobim standards invites “been there, done that” responses, but the fresh, updated arrangements that pianist Gilson Schachnik and drummer Maurico Zottarelli apply to these and other well-worn tunes distinguishes Mozik from other such excursions into this style. Both are from Brazil but grew up listening to and preferring other forms of music like fusion, blues, rock and heavy metal. It’s only after both arrived in Boston separately on Berklee scholarships that they began to appreciate the music of their homeland. It’s an appreciation that comes out on this record informed with the tastes they developed for American styles of music, especially early fusion. You can hear echoes of Return To Forever, Mk I and Herbie Hancock Headhunters on tunes spanning the Schachnik original ”Web’s Samba” to Hancock’s “Eye Of The Hurricane.” Everywhere, they take melancholy melodies and make them festive, even on Jobim’s “Desafinado” and Monk’s “Pannonica.” Helped along by bassist Fernando Huergo, guitarist Gustavo Assis-Brasil and flautist Yulia Musayelyan, the sprite, glistening arrangements sets a mood and tone that sets Mozik a little bit apart from run-of-the-mill cover-heavy Brazilian jazz records.
" (...) a groovy record by a bunch of young lions with chops to spare. This is smoking stuff, that's what I call it."