Amazonas Green Jazz Festival: Rui Carvalho and the Amazonas Band (Part 2 of 3)

amazonas green jazz festival rui carvalho

In this second installment of a three-part series, we delve into the story of the Amazonas Band, an ensemble that has been an integral part of the Amazonas Green Jazz Festival in Manaus, Brazil, since its inception in 2006. We also explore the life and work of the band’s inspiring founder and leader, Rui Carvalho.

The Amazonas Band

The Amazonas Band is a state-funded 20-piece ensemble comprised of local musicians. During the 2023 Amazonas Green Jazz Festival, the band participated in four concerts, performing complex orchestral pieces and sophisticated Brazilian pop arrangements. On the final night, they played alongside trumpet icon Randy Brecker and guest saxophonists Felipe Salles and Rodrigo Ursaia.

Rui Carvalho: The Man Behind the Band

Rui Carvalho, the conductor, festival organizer, and founder of the Amazonas Band, is originally from Portugal. As a refugee in Sweden, he became captivated by jazz music and developed a passion for big band arrangements. After moving to Brazil in 1978, Carvalho taught himself the art of arranging and eventually settled in Manaus in 2001.

In Manaus, Carvalho worked intensively with the Amazonas Band, helping to raise the standard of the ensemble. He also created a college-level jazz curriculum and began working towards a Ph.D in ethnomusicology.

The Amazonas Jazz Festival

In 2006, Carvalho was tasked with organizing the first Amazonas Jazz Festival, which featured renowned musicians such as Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Jimmy Greene, and John Hollenbeck. Over the years, the festival has continued to grow, hosting numerous guest soloists and bands.

After a hiatus due to political and financial challenges, the festival returned in 2019 under a new name: the Amazonas Green Jazz Festival. Carvalho rebranded the event to emphasize cultural sustainability and environmental awareness.

Women in Jazz and Cultural Legacy

The 2023 festival, subtitled “Ellas,” highlights Carvalho’s commitment to promoting female artists and empowering women in the world of jazz. Alongside this focus on gender equity, Carvalho seeks to emphasize the importance of African culture and its influence on the Americas, as well as the role of jazz in shaping a sense of identity in the modern world.

A Unique Festival Experience

The Amazonas Green Jazz Festival offers a one-of-a-kind experience, combining the natural beauty of the Amazon rainforest and the stunning architecture of the Amazonas Theater. Carvalho’s dedication to fostering cultural development and promoting jazz in Brazil sets this festival apart from others, making it an unforgettable event for both musicians and audiences alike.

Amazonas Green Jazz Festival on Facebook

Rui Carvalho’s website

About Me

I’m Dr. Miles Beaumont from the charming town of York in the UK. I’ve spent over three decades as a medical doctor, helping people and contributing to important research. I graduated from Oxford University, and ever since, I’ve devoted myself to improving the health and lives of others.

When I’m not practicing medicine, you’ll find me soaking up the world of jazz music. It’s been a passion of mine since I turned 30, and I’ve been an active part of York’s jazz scene ever since. Whether it’s going to local gigs, listening to records at home, or just enjoying the rhythmic and improvisational magic of jazz, it’s a big part of who I am.