SpokFrevo Orquestra draws inspiration from frevo, a vibrant music of elaborated arrangements and deep roots. SpokFrevo takes the tradition to the centre stage, but does not renounce allegiance to freedom. It relies on what jazz is all about: improvisation. SpokFrevo Orquestra arose in 2003 from musical experiences that date back to the late nineties, leaded by the virtuous Inaldo Cavalcante de Albuquerque, Maestro Spok, who plays the part of saxophonist, arranger and musical director. Spok fronts a 16 musicians group, a real big band with saxophone, trumpet, trombone and rhythm sections, bass and guitar. These musicians engage in a crusade beyond aesthetic disputes. In the state of Pernambuco, Brazil, where centenary frevo got birth, carnival bonds constrict the genre to
street festivals. SpokFrevo Orquestra takes frevo from its supporting role and presents it as the leading actor, shedding light on its original texture and complex playing technique. Based on musical excellence and speaking with propriety, they break patterns and reinvent tradition
without subverting it. Spok’s boldness, although condemned by purists, is endorsed by many critics, who recognize his music as the harbinger of a new school. In an article for Jornal do Brasil (17/07/2009), Tárik de Souza writes that the time has come for frevo‐jazz, pointing SpokFrevo as “a big band that has synthesized frevo and jazz in a blazing way”. In 2005, O Globo newspaper ranked SpokFrevo performance at TIM Festival as one of the ten best gigs of the year in Rio de Janeiro. In 2009, Passo de Anjo – Live was awarded the Prêmio da Música Brasileira (one of the most important in Brazilian music) as the best CD of instrumental music of the year, and the SpokFrevo was elected the best group in the same category.
SpokFrevo international career received a definite boost in 2008. The first large scale
European tour proved the strength and the universality of its music. When in France, the
Orchestra was invited to perform at the closing ceremony of the World Music Day (Fête de la
Musique). It has played the final gig of the event at the Palais de l'Elysee, the official residence of President Nicolas Sarkozy, who attended the performance accompanied by First Lady Carla Bruni. Touring throughout France, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark and Switzerland,
SpokFrevo had a strong presence in the European circuit of summer festivals, presenting the frevo as a unique musical language, as well as properly introducing the genre into the jazz and world music scenes.
ORIGINS ‐ Inaldo Cavalcante, aka Spok, is considered to be the youngest of Pernambuco
greatest frevo maestros. He began playing at 12 years old by influence of his cousin, saxophonist Gilberto Pontes, the Orquestra musical director. In Recife, he finished his musical studies and started working with the masters of the frevo scene, as Ademir Araújo, Clóvis Pereira, Duda, Edson Rodrigues and Guedes Peixoto. During the 1990’s the city experienced a cultural rebirth, and Spok started looking at new horizons. “I used to watch those musicians improvising and asked myself why couldn’t we do the same to frevo, which I used to play so traditionally, following the musical score… whereas those musicians were playing jazz.” He makes it clear: “I am interested in musical freedom. In fact, the Orquestra plays raw frevo, just like it is. We are 17 Pernambuco born musicians in the stage, we all grew up listening this music and there is no way for us to not play it properly. The difference is the arrangements, which are created for improvising, for playing with the heart.”
A turning point for the band occurred in 2003. From early experiences as Banda Pernambucana and Orquestra de Frevo do Recife the group re‐emerges as SpokFrevo Orquestra, name proposed by Wellington Lima, band’s agent from then on, by invitation and in partnership with musical producer Zé da Flauta, who had joined the group two years before. In 2004 the band put out its first CD. Released independently, Passo de Anjo combines frevo classics with new compositions, demonstrating the inexhaustibleness of the genre. By Levino Ferreira, considered to be frevo‐de‐rua greatest author, the Orquestra plays Lagrima de Foliao and Mexe com Tudo, the latter recorded by Pixinguinha in the 1940’s. By Sivuca, an exponent of the universality of Brazilian music, Frevo Sanfonado is an evidence that frevo has always been in accordionists repertoire. Paying reverence to their masters, SpokFrevo performs Clóvis Pereira (Ponta de Lanca), Maestro Duda (Nino, o pernambuquinho) and Édson Rodrigues (Frevo Aberto). From more recent vintages, there is Passo de Anjo, by Spok/João Lyra, which became the group’s signature tune.
Passo de Anjo CD drew attentions to SpokFrevo Orquestra. O Estado de São Paulo newspaper rated it as one of the best three Brazilian albums of the year. SpokFrevo debut CD was re‐released in 2006, this time by Biscoito Fino record label, which also released the DVD and CD Passo de Anjo – Live (2007), from a concert recorded at Santa Isabel Theatre, in Recife. With little changes in the repertoire, it features special guests Armandinho (Bahia guitar), Genaro (accordion, an ex‐Trio Nordestino member) and Leo Gandelman (alto saxophone
“SpokFrevo has synthesized frevo and jazz in a blazing way.”
Tárik de Souza, music critic, Jornal do Brasil
“Frevo is for the Capibaribe (River) as jazz is for the Mississipi.”
Zé da Flauta, producer
“The powerful SpokFrevo goes from Vassourinhas to Chico Science without dropping a note.”
Luís Fernando Veríssimo, writer and musician
“Frevo has never travelled so much and so far.”
José Teles, music critic, Jornal do Commercio
2007 - BISCOITO FINO