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Charting His Path


The rightly regaled Brazilian guitarist, songwriter, singer and arranger Dori Caymmi was especially pleased with his Grammy nomination last year for a best instrumental arrangement, even though he lost.

The nomination, his third, was for a samba version of "The Pink Panther" theme that he and fellow ace musician Tom Scott concocted for Caymmi's album "Cinema: A Romantic Vision."

The versatile Caymmi, son of acclaimed Brazilian songwriter Dorival Caymmi--a mentor to such giants as Antonio Carlos Jobim--has written charts for many notables, from Sarah Vaughan to Milton Nascimento. He particularly likes the American arrangers, from jazzmen Gil Evans and Thad Jones to more household names: Henry Mancini, Nelson Riddle and Johnny Mandel.

"It's something that moves me a lot, this country where the arrangers are so natural, so beautiful," said Caymmi, a native of Rio de Janeiro who lives in Woodland Hills with his wife, Helena. "I've learned from all of them. And suddenly, because of the nomination, I'm with all of them."

Caymmi, who recently played the famed Blue Note jazz club in New York, appears Saturday at La Ve Lee in Studio City with a fine band that includes pianist Billy Childs and saxophonist Scott Mayo.

He plans to offer tunes off "Cinema," as well as his own numbers and covers of such Jobim classics as "One Note Samba" and "Desafinado."

Caymmi found a lot of different chords to use with "Desafinado," and plays it in a non-samba rendition.

"Sometimes you get tired of playing things the same way all the time," he said.


Dori Caymmi plays Saturday, 9 and 11 p.m., at La Ve Lee, 12514 Ventura Blvd., Studio City. Information: (818) 980-8158.


In Brief: For a variety of standards and jazz tunes sung with impeccable feeling, good taste and swing, go hear singer Pamala Feener, who appears with pianist Karen Hernandez's duo on Wednesday, 7 to 11 p.m., at Monteleone's West [9337 Ventura Blvd., Tarzana; no cover; without dinner, $9.95 food/drink minimum; (818) 996-0662].


Zan Stewart writes about jazz for the Valley Edition. He can be reached at

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