Sounds From the South

Jane Lenoir celebrates the release of her CD on Aug. 27 at the Hillside Club Berkeley.


Hear Jane Lenoir play choro.

Courtesy Jane Lenoir

Berkeley flutist Jane Lenoir has spent the past decade evangelizing for the sprightly Brazilian style called choro (pronounced SHORE-oe), spreading awareness of the intricate instrumental tradition via a series of festivals and the Berkeley Choro Ensemble. Now, she’s waging her campaign from the recording studio, with an album featuring one of the genre’s most exciting young stars, Alessandro Penezzi, a seven-string guitarist, composer, and arranger. She celebrates the release of the CD Jane Lenoir Pays Penezzi Sunday afternoon Aug. 27 at the Hillside Club Berkeley with Penezzi, percussionist Brian Rice (Lenoir’s creative partner in the Berkeley Choro Ensemble), and others.

Born in the southern state of São Paulo—Brazil’s economic engine—Penezzi is a gifted multi-instrumentalist who also plays tenor guitar, the ukulele-like cavaquinho, mandolin, and flute. He has performed in the Bay Area with the great Brazilian jazz singer Claudia Villela and is a regular at Brazil Camp in Cazadero, a summer program that brings some of Brazil’s finest musician to teach amid the redwoods.

A conservatory-trained musician who’s worked widely in chamber music, new music, jazz, and Afro-Cuban settings, Lenoir has performed with the San Francisco Chamber Music Society, the Paul Dresher Ensemble, and the Berkeley Contemporary Chamber Players. Turned on to choro by her sister, noted Colorado clarinetist Annie Lenoir, she was drawn to “the incredible beauty of the way the classical idiom blended with other styles. As a flutist, I spent much of my life developing my ability to play the instrument with a lot of virtuosity, and choro offers a wonderful opportunity to use a lot of the techniques and tone colors, with really beautiful grooves.”

With Penezzi, she’s joining forces with an artist responsible for bringing choro, a style that emerged in Rio de Janeiro in the late 1800s, into the 21st century.

4 p.m. Aug. 27, $20, Hillside Club, 2286 Cedar St., Berkeley, 510-848-3227,


This report appears in the August edition of our sister publication, The East Bay Monthly.

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