Jazz Revelation Records Concert showcases Berklee talent

Two bandleaders that will be performing at the JRR Concert talk about their bands and projects for the future.

On November 15, 2012, Berklee’s student-run label Jazz Revelation Records (JRR) will showcase some of Berklee’s talented jazz musicians that are featured on the label’s last album, Ripple Effect, like Daniel Rotem Trio, Aris Valeris Quartet, Bryce Milano, and Eduardo Mercuri. The concert takes place at the Berklee Performance Center at 8:15 pm.  

Read on for a Q&A with two of the bandleaders, Daniel Rotem and Eduardo Mercuri.

From Tel Aviv, Israel, sax player Daniel Rotem is playing at the Jazz Revelation Records concert with his quartet.

Q: How did you hear about Berklee?
A: In Israel, I went to a very prestigious music high school with a jazz “major,” and I actually studied with Berklee books, so once I was accepted to Berklee I was finished with most of the core classes like Ear Training and Harmony. I also went to the five-week program in 2008. I loved it, and knew I wanted to come back and study here. But there is a mandatory army service in Israel, so I had to go back to serve for 3 years, which is why I came here in May 2011.

Q: How did you get involved with JRR?
A: I saw the posters and was intrigued because I’ve been especially interested in playing jazz recently, so I listened to the previous JRR CDs and decided to go for it. For the JRR project – I had my own quartet (piano, sax, bass, and drums) and I recorded with this group for the audition.

Q: Tell me about your band and other projects.
A: I had that quartet for the JRR project, but lately I’ve been experimenting with trios now that I’ve gotten more into jazz. My current trio just has sax, bass, and drums, and I’m writing a lot for that right now. Over the summer we played at the Jewish Film Festival, and we also played at a lot of Berklee concerts.

Q: What are your plans after Berklee?
A: I’m graduating in May and I’m actually applying to graduate schools for jazz performance, and hopefully planning on moving to New York.

Q: What are you looking forward to most about the concert?
A: Well, promoting my band is always nice, but I really like these concerts because they’re a good opportunity to meet and listen to fellow jazz musicians that are into the same things I’m into. I think that music is all about listening, even when I’m just playing myself. If I like what I’m listening to, that’s already a major step up.

For more information on Daniel and his projects, visit his website at www.danielrotem.com.

Guitarist Eduardo Mercuri, a native of Brazil, is the leader several jazz groups at Berklee.

Q: How did you become interested in music?
A: I grew up in a musical family in Brazil because my father was a big fan of music, and I always wanted to learn guitar as a child. So I started playing when I was eleven; mostly guitar, but I also learned mandolin, ukulele, a little drums, and lots of Brazilian stringed instruments.

Q: How did you hear about Berklee?
A: I had already gotten a music education degree in my hometown in Brazil. But I heard that a lot of musicians from Brazil come to Berklee and I knew that it is a really good school so I wanted to come here. I had to get a scholarship though; I really needed that [laughs].

Q: How did you get involved with JRR?
A: I saw the flyers and wanted to audition, so I submitted two original songs, and I recorded them using the Jazz Cigano Quinet. And actually, the band that recorded on the CD is different than the one that will be playing at the concert; just the drummer is different.

Q: Tell me about your band and projects.
A: I’m in lots of bands; I lead the Jazz Cigano Quintet, the group that’s playing at the concert, and I’m also in the Mercuri Duo, Receita de Samba, my quartet and a few other groups. The quintet used to have a vibraphone, which was pretty cool, but I wanted a different sound, so I added sax and trumpet and ended up taking out the vibraphone. There are lots of international students in my band, which makes for a really diverse group and sound. I did a lot of gigs during the summer with different bands, but I’m focusing on the Jazz Cigano Quintet for now.

Q: What are your plans after Berklee?
A: I’m graduating in two semesters, and I really want to stay in the states and apply for my artist visa. If that works out, I just want to play gigs, teach, and maybe get into a master’s program.

Tickets are $8 in advance; $12 day of show, and are available at berkleebpc.com or the BPC Box Office. As always, if you can’t make the show, the event will stream live on Concert Window.

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