Sons of Brasil
In Kansas City, there is a popular jazz group that has performed every week since their inception in 1991. This would not be so remarkable, as Kansas City is renowned for its tradition of great jazz since the days of Count Basie and Charlie Parker. What is remarkable, is that this group of native Kansas Citians plays nothing but Brazilian jazz, with a flavor and passion one might think could only be found at a night club in Ipanema or Leblon. The Sons of Brasil invite you to sample these sounds, which stem from their love and admiration of “musica bem brasileira.”
Stan Kessler — trumpet and flugelhorn. Stan has been a major figure on the jazz scene in Kansas City for many years and was voted “outstanding overall musician,” by JAM magazine, the publication of the Kansas City Jazz Ambassadors. His playing is intensely lyrical, which is so important to this music. Stan is the founder of The Sons of Brasil.
Danny Embrey — guitar. Besides sharing the stage with jazz notables from coast to coast, Danny played for seven years with Sergio Mendes. He brings wonderful style and understanding of this music to the band.
Greg Whitfield — electric bass. Greg is one of the most sought-after bass players in the area because of his uncanny harmonic sense and his rock-steady, perfect feel. He is also a true scholar of contemporary Brazilian music. Whether it is Samba, MPB, Bossa Nova, or Partido Alto, Greg has it covered.
Doug Auwarter — drums. Doug is the Brazilian heartbeat of the band. He admired the Bossa Nova in the 60's, loved Sergio Mendes in the 70’s, and completely lost himself to all forms of Brazilian music and culture in the 80’s. After learning to speak Portuguese, he began his annual pilgrimages to Rio de Janeiro, where he fulfills his fantasies of playing with the finest musicians in that marvelous city.
Gary Helm — percussion. Gary's instinct and intuition for finding the perfect sound and feel has made him legendary in the region. He is knowledgeable about all kinds of music from Cuba, Brazil, Jamaica, and the Caribbean. Reviews of performances always cite his hand-in-glove work with Doug Auwarter, an essential quality of a world-class rhythm section.
Roger Wilder — keyboards. A native of Rochester, New York, Roger has played with such nazznotables as Stanley Turrentine, Randy Brecker, Adam Nussbaum and Chris Potter. Since settling in Overland Park with his family, he can frequently be seen performing with Angela Hagenbach, the Boulevard Big Band and the Westport Art Ensemble. Whether playing bossa nova or samba, Roger demonstrates impeccable taste and style. His ability to evoke a touch of Jobim is uncanny.