Nanny Assis seizes the moment in collaborative new release Gary G. Vercelli Thursday, August 10, 2023 | Sacramento, CA Listen / Update RequiredTo play audio, update browser or Flash plugin. Courtesy of the artist Nanny Assis is a Brazilian treasure — best known as a percussionist, he’s also a soulful vocalist, a great guitarist and a blossoming composer. Assis moved to New York City in 1999 and has collaborated with many jazz masters. His latest album “Rovanio” features jazz giants Ron Carter, Randy Brecker and Janis Siegel. “Great original compositions, a beautiful voice, inspired arrangements and very special guests. All these elements combined with an experienced musician make for a fabulous release,”Assis’s countryman, pianist Antonio Adolfo, wrote about the album. Assis told All About Jazz, “Coming from Brazil, I have so many different styles and roots for my music. There’s so much information in one place, and it’s really strong in the culture, the dance and the music. And I figure I’m the glue for all that.” CapRadio’s Gary Vercelli spoke with Assis about “Rovanio” and collaborations with different jazz performers. Interview Highlights This interview has been edited for clarity and length. On the influence of Brazilian composer and “Father of Bossa Nova” Antonio Carlos Jobim One of the first albums that really caught my attention was his album called “Urubu.” It was completely different from everything we think about Bossa Nova. He approaches music in a really percussive way. To me, this was like home, what we love here in Bahia. Ron Carter was on that album, and it reflects Bahia, but it’s also kind of psychedelic — it’s so many different things in one! On approaching jazz great Ron Carter to participate on the album I emailed him, and he responded right away. I sent him two songs, and the very next day, he responded. We found a date and followed COVID protocol. It was done in just two sessions. After that, we became close friends and we are already discussing possible future projects. On adding lyrics to and performing Ron Carter’s “Mr. Bow Tie” That’s a song that Ron wrote years ago for his father. I retitled it “No Agora.” It means “In the now; living in the moment.” During the pandemic, we didn’t really know what was going on or what was going to happen. In order to not be so anxious about what’s coming tomorrow, let’s just be present and be happy with this moment. Of Ron’s many great compositions, the melody and the harmony is what appealed to me in selecting that song. On The importance of Janis Siegel and American vocal group The Manhattan Transfer As a young boy, I found a Manhattan Transfer album on vinyl in the supermarket and loved it. One night, many years later, I was invited to a club in New York called 54 Below. I was knocked out by her and jumped backstage to tell her so. On this album, she not only sings a beautiful song written by pianist Fred Hersch, but she added lyrics to “Proponho” and “The Northern Sea.” So, she is very present and is a huge part of the album.