Off the Cliff, an energetic and daring four piece ensemble of internationally accomplished musicians, has developed a growing reputation since its founding by celebrated artist Clarice Assad three short years ago. With an exciting and varied repertoire of classical, jazz, avante garde, Brazilian and world music, the group has performed in North America, Southeast Asia and South America.
Notable performances include the renowned Savannah Music Festival in April, Moab and the Mendocino Music Festival. Included amongst the venues and series that Off the Cliff has appeared on are Jazz at Lincoln Center and The Stone in New York City; Cal Performances in San Francisco; Jazz at Lincoln Center Doha in Qatar, and Sesc Sao Paulo in Brazil. Special guest artists have included Japanese singer Hiromi Suda, Swiss-American singer Beat Kaestli, clarinetist Derek Bermel, mandolinist Mike Marshall, Paquito D'Rivera and the group Choro Famoso.
Founded in 2012 by renowned singer/pianist/composer Clarice Assad, Off The Cliff performances include a rich variety of instruments in different combinations, among them the cavaquinho, banjo, guitar, bass, a variety of percussion instruments, piano and voice. Percussionist Keita Ogawa, guitarist João Luiz Rezende, and bassist Yasushi Nakamura complete the ensemble. Born in Rio de Janeiro, Clarice Assad is a member of one of Brazil’s music dynasties, and has performed professionally since the age of seven. Versatile, sophisticated, and accomplished, Ms. Assad has performed worldwide - including throughout the United States, Brazil, and Europe.
A sought after artist who is equally acclaimed for her work as a composer and as a performer, Assad is a pianist and vocalist of musical depth and ability. Her music is noted for embracing a wide variety of styles and transcending boundaries. Clarice Assad has performed at esteemed venues including Carnegie Hall, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Boston’s Jordan Hall, Amsterdam’s Concertgebow, San Francisco Jazz, and the Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels.
As a vocalist, Ms. Assad sings in Portuguese, French, Italian and English, but thrives in exploring the voice as an instrument. Her works have been published in France Germany and in the United States, and have been performed in Europe, South America, the United States and Japan. Ms. Assad studied at Berklee College of Music in Boston, and holds a Bachelor’s degree from Roosevelt University in Chicago and a Master’s degree from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. A native of Nagasaki, Japan, Keita Ogawa is one of the most versatile and sought-after percussionists in New York City. Among the artists and orchestras with whom he has performed are Yo-Yo Ma, Osvaldo Golijov, Alisa Weilerstein, Dominick Farinacci, Cyro Baptista, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, and Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Ogawa studied with Manuel “Egui” Castrillo Jamey Haddad, Tito De Gracia, David Rosado, and Mark Walker at the Berklee College of Music, and in Rio de Janeiro with Jorginho do Pandeiro, Celsinho Silva, Kiko Freitas, and Marcio Bahia, among others.
Born in São Paulo, Brazil, guitarist João Luiz Rezende began his musical studies at age 11 and has gone on to gain international acclaim as one of the new breed of Brazilian guitarists who integrates traditional Brazilian music with jazz and classical genres. Trained in classical guitar by his mentor Henrique Pinto, as a performer João is equally at home with classical, Brazilian and world music; his solo guitar and guitar ensemble repertoire cover all the main works in the guitar literature from Dowland to Carter and Brazilian rhythms from choro to baião. He has recorded for Avie, Naxos, CAG and Guanabara Records. João holds a master’s degree in classical guitar from Mannes College of Music in New York where he studied with Michael Newman and a DMA from Manhattan School of Music with scholarship from The Augustine Foundation studying with David Leisner.
Bassist Yasushi Nakamura was born in Tokyo, Japan, and grew up in Seattle, Washington. In Seattle, he studied with Chuck Deardorf, Doug Miller, and Michael Stearns. He has received such awards as the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival award, and the Louis Armstrong Jazz Award Among the celebrated musicians with whom he has played are Carl Allen, Darren Barrett, David Berger, Victor Goines, Jon Hendricks, Eddie Henderson, John Pizzareli, Wynton Marsalis, Myron Walden, and Phil Wilson.Venue credits include the BlueNote, Birdland, Town Hall, and Jazz at Lincoln Center. Nakamura studied jazz at Berklee College of Music, receiving his Bachelor’s Degree in Performance then moved to New York City on a full scholarship to the Juilliard School, where he graduated with AD Program in Jazz Studies.
"...Assad sauntered onto the stage and, accompanied by percussionist Keita Ogawa, immediately riveted the audience's attention with an entrancing rendition of a song that was part jazzy folk tune, part ambient soundscape and part Portuguese scat singing/beatboxer throwdown." DO SAVANNAH