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Music in Tainan: Brazil Jazz Trio

Music in Tainan: Brazil Jazz Trio

Last night, the Taipei based Brazil Jazz Trio performed at Seety新城視 展演空間 located in Tainan’s West Central District (中西區). Seety新城視 展演空間 is a laidback basement venue with a cozy atmosphere and bar counter. The Brazil Jazz Trio is comprised of John T Yeh (guitar, vocals), Augusto Barbosa (percussion), and Zheng Zhengwen (saxophone).

Born in Taiwan in 1969, Yeh and his family immigrated to Sao Paulo, Brazil with his family in 1975. In 1983, he entered the National Conservatory of Music in Brazil to pursue his passion for Brazilian Jazz Guitar. Yeh moved with his father to the US where Yeh began playing Bossa Nova around the US, in 2000. In 2018, he moved back to Taiwan to share Brazilian Jazz with the island.

Augusto Barbosa was born in 1971 in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. He moved to Taiwan in 2011, playing percussion for some of Taiwan’s greatest musicians including Montunos Latin Band, Roberto Zayas, and Lito Gonzales. He has performed in Europe, Latin America, North America, and Asia.

Zheng Zhengwen studied saxophone at Queens College, Queens University in New York. He served as the singer for the National Taiwan Jazz Grand Orchestra, performed at Taichung Jazz Festival, and played with the Evergreen Symphony Orchestra. In China, Zhengwen launched the New York Underground in Hangzhou and Shanghai. Later this year, he plans on releasing an album recorded in New York.

At 8:00 PM, the Brazilian Jazz Trio opened up to a modestly packed house. The trio covered a number of classics from Stan Getz, João Gilberto, and Sergio Mendes. The band was a little tight at the start before launching into full swing with “The Girl From Ipanema.” As the band loosened up, so did the crowd. Everyone from the bartenders to the audio technician started moving with the music.

During the intermission, I had a brief conversation with John T Yeh. We discussed Tainan’s jazz scene and overall culture. Tainan is one of the oldest cities in Taiwan, but the culture is not as visible as it is in cities like Taipei or Kaohsiung where there are multiple venues for a wide range of music genres. Yeh told me, that there is an increased interest in growing and developing Tainan’s arts. More artists are beginning to be invited down from Taipei which hopefully leads to the city becoming more visible for larger acts. There are a lot of great venues located in the city, but people have to go out of their way to find them.

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