Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians
Boukas, Richard (Andrew)
Boukas, Richard (Andrew), guitarist, vocalist, composer, educator; b. New York City, NY, 14 August, 1953. A second-generation of Greek (grandfather) and Cretan (grandmother) descent, Boukas grew up in Astoria, Queens, N.Y., a multi-ethnic working class area. His father, Gus (1917-1965), was an amateur musician who loved mainly classical music. The sounds of Chopin and Debussy were at ear's reach from when Richard was a toddler. His mother, Sophie (b. 1921) was a housewife who allowed his musical interests to develop unhindered. His older sister Jeannine, who played some guitar, was a telling influence, exposing Boukas first-hand to the burgeoning Greenwich Village folk-rock scene the mid-late 1960's, and somewhat later to a variety of world music styles and artists, including those of his own Greek heritage, Arabic, Balkan and Islamic styles.
This inspired Boukas to begin playing rock and blues guitar at age fourteen, more serious acoustic music groups at sixteen then, in the early 1970's, riding the intense wave of jazz fusion. His bridge over to a more acoustic Bebop format was brewing simultaneously while receiving his B.A. in Music from New York University. This training gave him a sound grounding in traditional classical composition, counterpoint, history and early music of the Renaissance as a choral singer. As a guitarist, he considers himself to be largely self-taught.
In the several years following college, Boukas took full advantage of the thriving loft scene in New York City, where Post-Bop players and composers in their twenties honed their craft vigilantly. His own house in Flushing, Queens served as a meeting point for musicians such as Joe Lovano, Tom Harrell, Ralph Lalama, John Riley and Marc Johnson. His first important studio recording (never released) was in 1977.
His trio was featured on NPR's syndicated American Jazz Radio Festival. This marked the beginning of his intense passion for Brazilian music. In the intervening years, he worked mainly in trio settings which featured Jay Anderson (bs), Bill Stewart and Akira Tana (dr). During that time, he performed on a variety of national commercials, television specials and Broadway shows to help fund his artistic activities.
In 1998 he was invited guest artist-professor at the prestigious Campos do Jordao '98 Winter Festival in Sao Paulo, Brazil, where he performed and taught with notable Brazilian Jazz artists including Roberto Sion, Nene, Vinicius Dorin (Hermeto Pascoal), Amilton Godoy (of Zimbo Trio). This has led to subsequent trips to Brazil, performing with noted Brazilian artists including Nelson Ayres and Rogerio Botter-Maio, conducting archival and empirical esearchin the unique Brazilian instrumental form known as Choro.
Boukas was selected"Best Brazilian Jazz Guitarist in the U.S." in 2000 by GuitarOne Magazine. His longtime dedication and advocacy for Brazilian music was recognized in 2001 by IAJE accepting his proposal to establish a Chair for Brazilian Music on the IAJE Resource Team. His extensive articles on Brazilian music in Just Jazz Guitar and other magazines are read worldwide (see publications below). Collectively, his diverse activities in Brazilian music have established him as peer among Brazilians living in either at home or abroad.
Probably Boukas' best-known collaboration with a Brazilian musician to date is with
Rio de Janeiro-born pianist-composer Jovino Santos Neto. After a fifteen-year apprenticeship with Brazilian legend Hermeto Pascoal, Jovino relocated to Seattle in 1993. Their work synergizes the core Brazilian genres samba, baiao, maracatu, choro and frevo with jazz harmonies, polyrhythmic improvisations and classical forms.
The Boukas/Santos Neto Duo were featured performers and clinicians at the 2001 IAJE and 2002 Chamber Music America Conferences, and have presented numerous educational residencies in Brazilian music at universities around the States- including Cincinatti Conservatory and University of Denver. Boukas and Santos Neto also perform in the Quartet Pe de Moleque with other notes Brazilians emigres such as Nilson Matta (bs) and Paulo Braga (dr).
Richard has won numerous awards in composition, performance and educational service, including the New York Foundation on the Arts Fellowship in Composition, several ASCAP Popular Composer awards and four National Endowment Grants in Jazz Performance grants. His commissions include Brazilian Jazz choros for the Modern Mandolin Quartet. He has also written an extensive body of choral music and solo guitar works.
Boukas is a jazz educator in various areas including improvisation, guitar, voice, ear training and Brazilian music. He has been artist-faculty member at New York City's New School Jazz and Contemporary Music Program since 1989, where he founded the school's Brazilian Jazz ensemble in 1996. The group has given U.S. premieres to lesser-known Brazilian composers and over one hundred Brazilian works. Prior jazz education affiliations include William Paterson College (1985-93) Mannes College (1989-95) and New York University (1981-85). He is founder and artistic director of JazzEthnics, a non-profit presenting community performances and workshops in his native Queens and an award-winning producer for Queens Public Television cable (Quinteto Brasileiro, 1999) and currently resides in Kew Gardens, Queens.
Commitment (1981); Embarcadero (1983); Amazona (1993); with Jovino Santos Neto: Balaio (2001); Tudo de Bom (2003)
Educational Method Books:
Complete Brazilian Guitar Method, Mel Bay Publishing (in progress)
Jazz Riffs for Guitar (Music Sales, 1977)
Jazz Chords for Guitar (Music Sales,1977)
Music Industry Journalism
Just Jazz Guitar magazine, featured columnist (February 1998 - present)
creator of "Brazilian Guitar Masters", "Brazilian Connection" columns and other special features
Brazilian Guitar Masters
Extended artist feature interviews conducted in Portuguese with legendary Brazilian guitarists, translated by author; includes excerpts from artist compositions, analysis and commentary:
Marco Pereira November 2002 (Rio de Janeiro)
Paulo Bellinati February 2000 (Sao Paulo)
Paulinho Nogueira August 2000 (Sao Paulo)
Articles based on specific Brazilian music genres, their historical origin and related guitar techniques:
"Novidades do Brasil: The Latest Musical News Direct from Rio and Sao Paulo"
Encounters: Hermeto Pascoal, Ulisses Rocha, Toninho Horta, Guinga, Lula Galvao November 2001
"Samba, Part Three: "The Jazzier Side of..." Profiles on Hermeto Pascoal, Jovino Santos Neto, Teco Cardoso, Lea Freire August 2001
"Samba,. Part Two: Solo Guitar Adventures" Profiles on Baden Powell, Luiz Bonfa, Sebastiao Tapajos, Rafael Rabello May 2001
"Samba, Part One: Foundations" Percussions Sourcerhythms, Comping Patterns, Basic Guitarist Roles November 2000
"O Choro, Part Three: The Jazzier Side of..." Profiles on Radames Gnattali, Hermeto Pascoal, Jovino Santos Neto, Boukas" August 2000
" O Choro, Part Two: Epoca de Ouro and Beyond" Profiles on Jacob do Bandolim, Dino Sete Cordas, Rafael Rabello November 1999
"O Choro, Part One: A Perennial Tradition": Profiles on Nazareth, Pixinguinha, Dilermando Reis, Garoto August 1999
"Malandro: New Horizons in Brazilian Guitar: Profiles on Romero Lubambo, Ulisses Rocha, Juarez Moreira May 1999
"Bossa Nova Comping and the Brazilian Rhythm Section", November 1998
"A Prelude to Bossa Nova" February 1998
"Johnny Smith Tribute Concert: A Player's Account", August 1999
Luthier Feature: "Antonio Tessarin: The Art and Tradition of Brazilian Classical Guitar Building" May 1999
Attila Zoller: "A Tribute To Attila: from Players Who Knew and Loved Him and His Music"
Extensive artist tributes compiled and edited by author, with commentary May 1998
selected Articles from Just Jazz Guitar: http://www.boukas.com/webpages/articles.html
"The Jazz Corner: At the Forefront of Brazilian Jazz: Teco Cardoso and Lea Freire" JazzOne, April 1999
"A Jazz Ridl", feature article/interview on Jazz pianist James Ridl, Piano & Keyboard, February 1999
"A Primer on Bossa Nova Styles", Acoustic Guitar, August 1998
"Adjunctivitis: Academia Faces the Music" Jazz Changes August 1998 official publication of International Association for Schools of Jazz (IASJ)
Feature artist interviews with Richard Boukas:
Hepner, David , "Americano Brasileiro", Guitar Player/Brazil November 2001
Thompson, Daniella, "An American Malandro, Part Two BraZZil magazine May 2001
Mueller, Micheal, Best Ten Guitarists in the U.S." GuitarOne March 2000