Jason Ennis

Jota Sete

Sometime just over a decade ago, my interest in Brazilian music led me to adopt as my primary instrument the uniquely Brazilian Violão de Sete Cordas (7-string classical guitar), a staple of the Choro and Samba traditions. The influence of a wide range of Brazilian music from Choro to Bossa Nova to MPB inform my style and works it way into every aspect of my performance. One of the great joys of developing my sound on this instrument over the course of the past years has been to find that balance between drawing upon and emulating elements of the formidable Brazilian tradition of Sete Cordas and finding my own voice in and my own approach to the instrument. Though I love playing in a more traditional Choro accompaniment style and am greatly inspired by the monsters and masters of Brazilian guitar from Garoto to Baden Powell to Yamandu Costa, I’m most satisfied when I take this instrument outside the realm of musical tourism and use it in a manner specific to my own life and identity. The seven string guitar has opened up very interesting and unique possibilities for my work with La Voz de Tres, given the original compositions I’ve written on my own or with Natalia Bernal an added dimension, and made certain aspects of my musical life just downright more fun; a cover of a Stevie Wonder tune in duo with Saxophone or C minor Blues just magically becomes hipper when you add that low C string punch!

I formed Trio Jota Sete around the powerful and dynamic sound of the seven-string guitar. Since I was looking to draw on a wide variety of influences and present something with a lot of great energy, it was only natural that I called on two extraordinary musicians who just happen to be great friends as well; Drummer Conor Meehan and I have been working together for over 15 years, in bands ranging from blues and funk to singer/songwriter, to straight-ahead jazz, to Brazilian music and more. Conor never fails to add the right sound, energy and groove to any context. Bassist Michael O’Brien is one of my favorite bass players to work with. He’s always able to propel the band forward and anything, from deep-pocket grooves to burning fast tempos, becomes easier when he’s pulling he strings on the big bass fiddle. Plus, he never fails to blow your hair back at least once a set with a face-melting arco solo!

Trio Jota Sete will be kicking it into high gear in 2015. Be on the lookout for a recording, which should be put to tape sometime in late 2015. In the meantime, check out some live footage below to see what we have cooking up for you!