Saturday, June 18, 2011

Pay a Visit to Mauricio: Sunday nights at Zinc Bar

Every Sunday night Cidinho Teixeira and his band play live Brazilian Jazz at Zinc Bar. Zinc Bar is an appropriately dark venue with a variety of fancy cocktails perfect to sip on while you lean back on a cushioned bench, legs crossed and feet bobbing up and down to the music. 

I'd been meaning to check out the Sunday night scene at Zinc Bar since reading about it on Adventures of a Gringa a few months back. For a long time I never made it, but a coincidental meeting provided the perfect incentive for me to get my act together and go. 

I was celebrating my roommate Amy's birthday at at the rooftop garden at 230 5th Ave. As soon as I joined my friends who'd been enjoying food, booze and the rooftop breeze for the last two hours, they informed me that I'd just missed the Real House Wives of New Jersey. Bummer, I thought and started scanning the crowd for the next celebrity who might be passing through. But instead of than laying eyes on a public figure, my ears caught wind of a private conversation at the table next to me. Portuguese! I leaned over to whisper in Amy's ear, "That family at the next table is speaking Portuguese!" Generally, I'm not shy about introducing myself to such groups and striking up conversation. I'm usually well received, but sometimes people aren't as excited as I am about speaking to a stranger, even if she is a fellow lusophone. When I declined my Amy's encouragement to go over to our neighbors, she took it upon herself to make the introduction. 

She leaned back in her chair, and, using some of the only Portuguese she knows, asked, "Fala Portuguese?" Oh, no. What is she doing? I thought. The family smiled and seemed excited by her question. "Sim," answered the matriarch. "Do you?" Amy laughed, shaking her head, and pointed in my direction, "but she does!" With a grand gesture, the matriarch waived me over to her table. I eagerly got out of my seat, and pushed my way through a sea of chairs to stand by her family. 

We got to talking. Sandra and her husband, Aldo, had come from São Paulo to visit their son, Mauricio, and his wife, Mileni, in New York City. They asked me about the time I spent in Brazil, and I asked them about their work in the United States. When Mauricio said he was a musician, I immediately asked him if he played shows in New York City. "Yeah," he started, "Sunday nights..." "At Zinc Bar!" I chirped, finishing his sentence. Everyone laughed in disbelief and nodded. I explained, that I'd read about Brazilian Jazz at Zinc Bar and had been meaning to go for a while, but wouldn't put it off any longer, now that we'd made this connection. 

Mauricio and his family were so kind and welcoming, I could have pulled up a chair and sat with them for the rest of the evening, but instead, I bid farewell, promising Mauricio and his wife that I would see them soon at Zinc Bar and wishing Sandra and Aldo a safe flight back to São Paulo, and made my way back to the birthday girl and our friends.  

Cidinho Texeira's Band at Zinc Bar
Mauricio Zottarelli on drums (back right)
Needless to say, I showed up at Zinc Bar the following Sunday. I arrived with some friends in the middle of the first set, and when it was finished, I approached the stage to say hello to Mauricio. He was touched that I'd actually come, and I was thrilled that he'd actually remembered me and was happy to have me in the audience. My friends and I stayed for all three sets of the show, indulging on cocktails (I recommend The Benson), and moving to the music in our seats. We even sang along to the instrumental versions of some of the songs we recognized like Você e Eu

I definitely recommend Brazilian Jazz at Zinc Bar to anyone looking for a laid back way to spend their Sunday evening. Mauricio and his band-mates put on a great show. Even if the vocalists didn't change every week, I'd be sure to go back again. There is a $10 cover to see the band, and cocktails run around $10, as well. 

In addition to his Sunday night gigs, Mauricio plays with other musical groups in the US and abroad and gives private lessons. You can read more about Mauricio Zottarelli on his website

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