São Paulo Panic

Line up:

Dani Gurgel (vocals),

Thiago Rabello (drums),

Timo Vollbrecht (saxophone),

Martin Fabricius (vibraphone),

Tal Arditi (guitar) and

Frederico Heliodoro (bass)


This innovative and experimental idea was seeded at jazzahead! 2019. As Dani Gurgel explains: “I put together a panel at the festival and invited other artists, including Thiago Rabello and Martin Fabricius, to discuss the language of jazz and how it allows musicians to interact regardless of their nationality. Afterwards, we thought it would be great to put into practice what we discussed and to make an album.”

Anton Berthold and Nicholas Bild of BERTHOLD records also thought it was a promising idea and agreed to bring the musicians together for ten days in São Paulo, home city of Gurgel and Rabello, where they have a recording studio. Timo Vollbrecht, the German saxophonist based in Brooklyn, who played alongside the Brazilians at the BERTHOLD records jazzahead! club night, was also invited to join the project. He has nothing but praise for the rare creative power and boldness of the record label. “Really amazing what they’ve done in the last ten years. It’s something special to support artists in this way.”

The musicians admit to a bout of panic when they first met up in the São Paulo studio, hence the album title. “Like how are we going to do this, is this actually going to work?” were Gurgel’s first thoughts. “This could have gone wrong and we could have fought and hated each other forever.” Frederico Heliodoro, bassist from another part of Brazil, Belo Horizonte, with a quite different musical tradition, Tal Arditi, the Israeli guitarist living in Berlin and Martin Fabricius, the Danish vibraphonist, completed the sextet. The starting point: a disparate collection of musical styles and backgrounds.

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