Produced by Jorge Roeder & Sofía Rei
Recorded & Mixed by Mark Goodell
Mastered by Bob Power
Sofía Rei: Vocals,
Jorge Roeder: Uprights Bass
Deep from the corners of the Pan-American repertoire, Argentine vocalist Sofia Rei and Peruvian bassist Jorge Roeder delve into the hidden gems of the lore. With uncanny skills and gripping emotive range, they bring songs to life in this all-acoustic duo setting. These Grammy nominated musicians, whose collaboration spans almost 20 years, revisit compositions by iconic writers such as Noel Rosa, Pixinguinha, Nicomedes Santa Cruz, Chabuca Granda and Thelonious Monk. They thrive in the immense variety of musical styles that emerged in the americas since the late 19th century, in Spanish, Portuguese and English.
Neither folkloric nor avant-garde, straight ahead or Latin jazz, Coplas Escondidas is a singular creation by two of the foremost cosmopolitan improvisers on the international jazz scene. This duo project celebrates the depth of Latin American song forms, and it’s wonderfully original – unlike anything in their varied discographies.
Seizing a moment afforded by the pandemic shutdown, Rei and Roeder met up in Brooklyn at Mark Goodell's studio for a musical communion drawing on two decades of oft-intersecting exploration. Coplas Escondidas continues a creatively charged musical conversation between two longtime friends and intermittent collaborators who’ve been influencing and inspiring one another since they met two decades ago at New England Conservatory. The songs and rhythmic settings span South America, drawing on an array of styles and traditions interpreted through an improvisational jazz ethos.
A classically trained mezzo-soprano, Rei has earned numerous awards and widespread esteem with five albums under her own name, most recently 2021’s electronica-laced Umbral. But she’s equally hailed for her collaborations with masters such as guitarist Marc Ribot, vocal wizard Bobby McFerrin, composer/arranger Maria Schneider, and, most prolifically, John Zorn, including 2018’s acclaimed, The Book Beri'ah: Keter, with JC Maillard. Born and raised in Buenos Aires and based in New York since 2005, Rei was singled out by the Boston Globe for “possessing a voluptuously full voice, comprehensive command of Latin American rhythms, and encyclopedic knowledge of folkloric forms from Argentina, Peru, Colombia, and Uruguay.”
Like Rei, Jorge Roeder is a conservatory-trained artist who was only 20 when the Lima Philharmonic and Opera orchestras appointed him assistant principal bassist in 2001 (while he also played electric bass with the Lima heavy metal band Ni Voz ni Voto). Since moving to the U.S. to study at NEC in 2002, he’s forged deep and lasting ties to several extraordinary artists, performing widely and recording with saxophonist/composer John Zorn, guitarist Julian Lage, Israeli-born pianist Shai Maestro, and trombonist Ryan Keberle. Among the busiest bassists in jazz, he’s also collaborated with vibes legend Gary Burton, guitarist Nels Cline, vocalist Thana Alexa, guitarist Brad Shepik, and saxophonist Dan Blake, among many others.
Folklore and futurism, graceful elegance and raw passion, virtuosic precision and spontaneous exploration – all merge together in the music of award-winning vocalist, songwriter and producer Sofia Rei. Redefining authenticity from an intensely personal perspective, she’s carried diverse Latin American traditions from her native Buenos Aires to the multi-cultural mecca of New York City, where she’s fused those sounds with jazz, experimental music, pop, and electronic music influences.
With a voice that’s been hailed for its captivating beauty and versatility by such prestigious publications as the New York Times and DownBeat Magazine, Rei’s talents fit comfortably into any number of genres. A self-described “frog from another pond,” Rei’s natural inclination is to leap, an instinct that has taken her on a circuitous route from early classical training and Argentinean folk music through the punk rock nightlife of Buenos Aires, into some of the most prestigious venues in the U.S. and on to a wealth of festival stages around the world. Rei has been named “an ambassador of Latin America’s experimental voice in the contemporary international circuit”. Her frequent collaborations with John Zorn and the downtown music scene have led to 5 releases on Tzadik records and 5 independent albums under her name, which received international acclaim including a Grammy nomination and 6 Independent Music Awards.
Rei has been an advocate of South American culture through her work. She is the co-founder of El Colectivo Sur, an arts collective that increases public awareness of South American arts embracing contemporary and experimental works, bringing together diverse communities. In 2019, she was presented the Spirit of Folk Award by the International Folk Alliance (Montreal), for her active involvement in the preservation, presentation, and promotion of folk music, community building, and demonstrated leadership. Rei is currently a Professor at NYU’s Clive Davis Institute and teaches New Perspectives in Latin Music, a course she created that explores rhythmic training and the broad stylistic diversity of Latin American music.
“Ms. Rei, a vocalist hailing from Argentina, sings in a windblown, mountains-high voice, but she often sounds like she might be withholding something, too. It’s as if maybe the full delivery might be too overpowering—an engrossing suggestion.”
- New York Times
“Highly capable of integrating diverse influences, from ancient folkloric traditions to modern jazz […] Sofia’s vocals convey deep passion and a full spectrum of emotions”
- Ed Enright, Downbeat Magazine
Originally from Lima, Peru, bassist Jorge Roeder has become renowned as one of the most versatile and expressive bass players in jazz today. Combining a symphonic imagination with the intimate lyricism of a folk musician, the aggressive energy of a raw rocker with the buoyant rhythmic sensibilities of his Afro-Peruvian roots, Roeder conveys a wide spectrum of influences within a resolute foundation. In his hands, writes Peter Hum of the Ottawa Citizen, “the music feels like it’s dancing from the ground up.”
The stunning adaptability of Roeder’s voice is evidenced by the diversity of his gifted collaborators. He has enjoyed long-standing partnerships with guitarist Julian Lage, whose music encompasses a panoramic sweep of Americana styles, and Argentinian vocalist Sofia Rei, an inventive songwriter and interpreter of melodies from various South American traditions. He is also a key member of Israeli pianist Shai Maestro’s trio, which blends intricate complexity and ethereal elegance, as well as trombonist Ryan Keberle’s politically charged ensemble Catharsis.
Roeder has also shared stages with such innovators as legendary vibraphonist Gary Burton, adventurous guitarist Nels Cline and iconoclastic composer/saxophonist John Zorn. His gifts have been recognized with a number of awards, including first prize at the 2007 International Society of Bassists Jazz Competition; semi-finalist placement in the 2009 Thelonious Monk Bass Competition; and a Grammy Award nomination for Sounding Point, the debut album by the Julian Lage Group.
After beginning with guitar lessons at an early age, Roeder went on to study classical cello in Peru and Russia, hone his electric chops in Lima rock clubs, and delve into jazz at Boston’s esteemed New England Conservatory, where he studied with such jazz greats as Danilo Pérez, Jerry Bergonzi, Bob Moses, Cecil McBee, and fellow Peruvian Oscar Stagnaro.
With his boundless skills and searching curiosity, Roeder’s music seems to forever be reaching towards a new horizon. He’s absorbed the lessons of cerebral classical training, unbridled rock passion, and spontaneous jazz invention to form a singular voice on the bass, one that has placed him in the vanguard of modern jazz.
“With an unerring ear, quick reflexes, an exacting sense of rhythm, and a virtuosic streak (…) Jorge has become one of the premier bassists on the scene while bolstering bands led by guitarist Julian Lage, pianist Shai Maestro, trombonist Ryan Keberle, saxophonist John Zorn, and numerous others.”
- Dan Bilawsky, Jazz Times Magazine
In his hands, says the Ottawa Citizen, “the music feels like it’s dancing from the ground up.” - Ottawa Citizen