'Brazilian Excursion' is my first release, it was recorded in Dallas on three hot Texas summer afternoons in 2000. I have a long history with this music that goes back many years. During the year 1964 at 11 years of age, I heard a song on the radio that was to have a profound affect on the rest of my life. The song was 'The Girl form Ipanema'. It featured the soft delicate voice of Astrud Gilberto and the smooth, mellow tenor saxophone of Stan Getz. This music had been developed in Brazil several years earlier and it had just begun to sweep North America. It was called 'bossa nova', a hybrid music, produced by combining the rhythms of Brazilian Samba with the harmonies of North American jazz. The result of which was a unique music that was gentle, sophiscated, romantic and subtle, yet intense. It was unlike any music that I had ever heard. Although it would be several years before I began to play, hearing that song on the radio that day so many years ago marked the beginning of my musical interest. Although bossa nova had existed for several years before, it was the 1964 release of 'The Girl from Ipanema' that introduced the music to the world at large.The song brought international fame to it's composer Antonio Carlos Jobim (a.k.a.Tom Jobim). The music of Tom Jobim has been adopted by jazz musicians around the world and has become a permanent part of the jazz repertoire. However, in the USA there are only about 20 of Jobim's compositions that are routinely played. Tom Jobim was Brazil's most profilic composer, however many of his compositions have gone unnoticed by North American musicians. And while Jobim and João Gilberto were the most prominent composers and principal architects of the music, there were several other composers that made major contributions to the bossa nova movement and helped define the genre. Composers such as João Donato,Roberto Menescal, Luiz Bonfá, Johnny Alf, Luiz Eça, Durval Ferreira and the Castro-Neves brothers all played major roles in the development of the music. Sadly, most of these composers are largely unknown in the USA but well-known throughout the world. 'Brazilian Excursion' focuses on the less familiar bossa nova compositions, at least from a North American stand point. However, most of these songs are very popular among bossa nova aficionados around the world. It features songs by some of the aforementioned composers and other major composers such as Marcos Valle and Carlos Lyra. This CD also features some Jobim songs that are not frequently recorded in North America. 'Brazilian Excursion' is a venture into Brazilian bossa nova far beyond the usual Jobim songs that have become so popular in North America over that past 40 years. The music of the aforementioned composers is some of the most unique, innovative and beautiful music of the twentieth century and certainly deserves wider recognition among the American listening audience. This recording is a personal tribute to these composers and a testment of my passion for this music which has spanned over 40 years. James Stapleton Personnel: James Stapleton - Tenor,Soprano Saxophones & Flute Robert Aberg - Guitar Dan Pitzer - Bass Rodrigo Villanueva - Drums Ron Davison - Percussion BIO James Stapleton Dallas-based saxophonist/flutist and radio host was born in Ennis,TX. in 1953. Music has been a big part of his life since he first heard the hit song the 'Girl From Ipanema' in 1964. He instantly became a fan of this style of Brazilian music known as bossa nova and it was this music that initially inspired him. He was also inspired by R&B artist like James Brown, Jr.Walker & the All Stars and others. At 13 he developed an interest in the blues, particularly the music of guitarist Freddie King. This led to an interest in the guitar. He studied music in the eighth grade but later abandoned it because his interest in sports was stronger. The turning point in his life came in 1968 at 14 years of age when he discovered a local jazz radio station which featured the jazz style known as 'hard bop'. After hearing the music of artist such as Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Thelonious Monk, jazz became an obession. He soon developed an interest jazz broadcasting and it became his ambition. During his high school years he would often create his own 'radio shows' in his spare time using a tape recorder. However, the power of music was too strong and dreams of broadcasting were eventually put aside. While in high school he began collecting jazz records by saving his allowance and money from odd jobs. After hearing Dexter Gordon's solo on 'Tanya' from the album 'One Flight Up', his musical interest shifted to tenor saxophone. Along with Dexter Gordon, John Coltrane and Hank Mobley became his sources of inspiration on the instrument. A few months after graduating from high school in 1972, he brought his first saxophone and began taking private lessons. Now, 19 years of age-- a late age to begin playing, he worked hard to get up to par. The combination of listening and absorbing the music, hard practice and an obsessive desire made learning fairly easy. Nine months after his first lesson, he played in public for the first time, nervously sitting in with pianist Red Garland whose quartet was working weekends at the Dallas night club the Arandas in the early to mid 70's. He sat in with Garland's group several times over the next year. He attended Richland College in Dallas,TX. for two semesters in 1975-76, studied theory, saxophone and played in the concert and lab bands. Despite private lessons and classroom studies he is largely self-taught. His first professional job came during the summer of 1976 with a local blues band. He had his first experience in a recording studio with this band shortly after joining. Over the next several years he free-lanced around Dallas and played at every jam session he could. In the late 1980's he often worked with the Ray Mendiaz Trio and in 1988 he formed the James Stapleton Quartet and worked the Dallas area until 1991. In 1994 his original dream of jazz broadcastng became a reality when he became the host of the 'Sounds of Jazz' on KNON 89.3 FM in Dallas. With the prevalence of the internet in the mid 90's he began to explore authentic Brazilian bossa nova indepth and incorporate it into his music and radio program. In the summer of 2000 he recorded his first CD, 'Brazilian Excursion' a tribute to Brazilian bossa nova and it's composers. James continues to play in the Dallas area.