Brazilian Girls Forecast: Catching On, With Verve

Excerpted from the magazine for

The Brazilian Girls are not Brazilian -— nor are they all girls. But one thing is certain: The New York-based quartet is an essential element in the re-emergence of the Verve Music Group's legendary Forecast label.

The group's self-titled debut album, due Feb. 1 (two weeks earlier at Apple Computer's iTunes Music Store), will be one of Verve Forecast's first offerings. To be sure, "Brazilian Girls" is poised to set the tone for the imprint's relaunch.

In its new incarnation, Verve Forecast will be home to the non-jazz artists signed under the Verve Music Group banner. In this way, it will focus on the ever-growing adult contemporary market —- just don't confuse it with your mother's adult contemporary.

"We don't want to use the adult contemporary label as defined by radio," Verve Music Group president/CEO Ron Goldstein says, instead referring to a college-age-plus audience that buys a great variety of music, whether it be Buena Vista Social Club and Josh Groban or Diana Krall and Norah Jones.

The Brazilian Girls' diverse, left-of-center sounds —- equal parts Latin, dance/electronic, dub, jazz and pop —- perfectly captures this spirit.

Also suited are the label's other signings: blues rocker Susan Tedeschi; Old 97's lead singer Rhett Miller; former V2 artist Teddy Thompson; Sacramento, Calif.-based singer/songwriter Jackie Greene; and Italian singer Chiara Civello. (Civello's Russ Titelman-produced album, "Last Quarter Moon," also arrives Feb. 1.)

While Goldstein says the Verve Music Group will never lose sight of the jazz genre that put it on the map, he notes the importance of also moving beyond that into a wider range of music.

Enter the Brazilian Girls. According to Goldstein, when he signed the band, the first thought was to release its album on the Blue Thumb imprint (now inactive). "But the band wanted Verve," he notes. "So, Verve Forecast was born."

This pleased the multicultural Brazilian Girls —- singer Sabina Sciubba, keyboardist Didi Gutman, bassist Jesse Murphy and drummer Aaron Johnston —- whose members hail from Italy, Argentina and the United States.

"Forecast was such an important label in the '60s," Gutman says. Sciubba concurs, adding, "We had offers from other labels, but it's all become so hyper-inflated. We didn't see the need for a bidding war. We wanted a label that was enthusiastic about us and our music."

The four members of the Brazilian Girls befriended each other nearly two years ago at downtown New York club Nublu. Thus began their weekly Sunday-night live show at the venue, which continues when the band is in town.

Two months after forming, the group recorded tracks like "Homme" and "Die Gedanken Sind Frei (Thoughts Are Free)," which appeared on the band's self-released EP and are included on "Brazilian Girls."

Toward the end of last year, to introduce the act, Verve Forecast released the album track "Lazy Lover" as a single. It is to be followed by "Don't Stop" in mid-February.

"Lazy Lover" also appeared on the 2004 compilation "Music to Make Love By," while "Homme" first appeared on Wax Poetic's 2003 album, "Nublu Sessions." Ultra Records released both discs.

According to Sciubba, the Brazilian Girls' music is an absolute group effort. In fact, she likens it to making love.

"If you make love with one person, it will affect your own lovemaking style," she says. "Some lovers bring out something better in you than others. It's the same with musicians —- each one of us affects the other. Hopefully, others will like our musical lovemaking."

The act begins a 14-market tour Feb. 1, the day of the album's release. Cities include Los Angeles, New York and Miami, where the band will perform at a party held during the International Film Festival. A showcase at Austin, Texas' South by Southwest conference follows in March, with an April European promotional tour also on tap.

Brazilian Girls are also scheduled to play numerous festivals in Europe and the United States this summer.

Excerpted from the Jan. 29, 2005, issue of Billboard. The full original text is available to subscribers.

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