Desafinado to Samba at The Highdive

It is an amazing feat when a band possesses the ability to take its listener to a faraway place through the transport of their music. Sitting within the confines of the Urbana Free Library last Sunday, Oct. 15, despite the chilly fall air outside, all one had to do to feel the warm recesses of the South American tropics was close their eyes and let the exotic sounds of Desafinado take them there.

Amidst the busy college-town shuffle of Champaign-Urbana, the seven-piece ensemble Desafinado has been capturing and emulating sounds from around the world in venues such as Cowboy Monkey, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts and on local radio station WEFT 90.1 FM for the past three years. Most recently, Desafinado played a free show at the Urbana Free Library this past weekend. Influenced most heavily by Bossa Nova, Samba and other predominantly Brazilian styles, Desafinado also emanates

a jazzy sound. The band has established local notoriety for itself through favorable reviews in local publications, as well as a nod for “Best Jazz Artist” as part of the 2006 Local Music Awards. Desafinado has also performed at Chicago’s Millenium Park and at the Chicago Cultural Center.

Desafinado released their self-titled first album in 2005. Ironically, “Desafinado” itself means “slightly out of tune,” a term coined by Brazilian musician Antonio Carlos Jobim, whose music is so complicated harmonically that, unless it is played perfectly, the music will assume an out-of-tune sound. Desafinado is mostly a compilation of various songs written by Brazilian composers, with one original.

This week marks the release of Desafinado’s sophomore full-length album, Conhecimento. Featuring more original pieces than their original effort, Conhecimento also showcases a few covers of their Brazilian favorites.

Desafinado is Simone da Silva on vocals, Chad Dunn on percussion, Greg Jahiel on guitar and vocals, Connie Johnson on vibraphone, Tim Johnson on guitar and vocals, Tom Paynter on flute and melodica and Giraldo Rosales on congas.

Come out to the Highdive on Tuesday, Oct. 24 for Desafinado’s official release of Conhecimento. Copies of the album will be on hand. The release party will feature some new tracks off the album, on top of a special appearance by guitar player Tim Johnson, who recently moved to Chicago and will be coming down to Champaign for the show. The free show starts at 7:30 p.m. and will carry on until 9:30 p.m.

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