Joao Donato | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Brazilian pianist Joao Donato never stuck with any single bag long enough to get famous like his old cohorts Joao Gilberto and Antonio Carlos Jobim. Although he was a key architect of bossa nova, he was also a huge fan of the west-coast jazz of Stan Kenton, propulsive Afro-Cuban music, and older Brazilian forms such as choro (he got his start playing accordion with flutist Altamiro Carrilho). His reputation for experimentation with rhythm and harmony lost him gigs at home, so in 1959 he moved to the U.S., where he lived for 14 years, working extensively with folks like Mongo Santamaria and Tito Puente. His discography, which spans nearly six decades, touches on everything from psychedelic-tinged funk to sophisticated pop and straight jazz--the classic 1975 album Lugar Comum (Dubas Musica) with Gilberto Gil sounds like the work of a Brazilian Shuggie Otis. This show celebrates the 50th birthday of bossa nova; Donato will lead a trio with bassist Luis Alves and drummer Robertino Silva, and I'm expecting a sleek program of classics highlighting the pianist's singular rhythmic skill. a 7 and 9:30 PM, HotHouse, 31 E. Balbo, 312-362-9707, $30, $25 in advance.

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