Rich K with his 6-string Brazilian bass guitar by Gary Zimnicki.
Brazil and Beyond was started in 1998 by Rich K to specialize in the performance of Brazilian and world music. The group is now an award-winning ensemble performing a full range of classical and pop repertoire as well. Rich K has enjoyed seeing his group’s 2005 CD, Sounds of the Holidays, named “Outstanding World Recording” in the 2006 Detroit Music Awards competition. In 2004, Brazil and Beyond's Beatles CD also was named “Outstanding World Recording” in the Motor City Music Foundation awards process.
Rich has played frequently at the Ford Detroit International Jazz Festival, with the first appearance of the full Brazil and Beyond band at the 2001 festival in what noted Brazilian musician Ivan Lins called “a great show.” Brazil and Beyond now appears at various summer festivals such as the Comerica Michigan Taste Fest, the Michigan Jazz Festival and Detroit’s Festival of the Arts. In 2004 the band played at the Marshall Field’s Day of Music at the Max and has appeared on the Mitch Albom Show numerous times.
Antonio Carlos Jobim is one of Rich’s chief Brazilian influences. Among his other influences are Stéphane Grappelli, Scott LaFaro and Bill Evans. At the other end of musical spectrum for Rich is the very classical approach of his teacher, the late Detroit Symphony bassist Bob Gladstone.
Rich the musician continues to develop new forms and methods of expression on his various string basses, which include a Schuster acoustic and two electric 6-string instruments, one a Brazilian bass guitar built by Gary Zimnicki of Allen Park, Mich., and the other, a fretless F Bass. He recently began performing on the soprano member of the guitar family—the cavaquinho—an instrument vital to the fabric of the Brazilian sound.
Rich developed his art with players of no less stature than Wynton Marsalis, Billy Eckstine, Jon Faddis and Dave Samuels of Spyro Gyra. He has appeared live with top local luminaries Larry Nozero, Chet Bogan’s Wolverines, and the Jimmy Wilkins Orchestra. As an in-demand session bassist, he has played on Sheila Landis’ Jazzscapes; and Motown Funk Brother Joe Messina’s Messina Madness.
When not playing, Rich the teacher is heavily involved in education as the instructor of a bass master class at Oakland University, as adjunct faculty at Henry Ford Community College, Macomb Community College and Farmington Hills Public Schools. In 1994 he formalized these efforts by founding The Basschool studio and his own system of string bass and 6-string bass guitar instruction. For more, go to www.basschool.com.