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Pianist and composer Brian Marsella’s Gatos do Sul (southern cats) got its start with a commission by John Zorn, and pays homage to master percussionist Cyro Baptista, his ensemble Beat the Donkey, and the rhythms of northeastern Brazil. Inspired by Brazilian composers like Hermeto Pascoal, Egberto Gismonti and Heitor Villa-Lobos, this piano-led octet channels Brazilian idioms such as samba, maractu, baio and choro through a kaleidoscopic lens of modern jazz. After premiering at National Sawdust in 2017 (Brooklyn, NY), Gatos do Sul was released on John Zorn’s label Tzadik in 2020, and was chosen by Downbeat as a Best Album of 2020.


Lucas Ashby - Drummer/Percussionist/Band Leader/Composer, Ian Ashby - Bass, John Lee - Guitar, José Luiz Martins - Piano/Keyboards, Alex Hamburger - Flute

Brazilian-American multi-instrumentalist and composer Lucas Ashby brings to his projects a background in rhythms and melodies from South America, West Africa, India, Eastern Europe, American Jazz, & Hip Hop. For the last 15 years, the resulting mosaic of sounds and textures has served as the bedrock of the career Ashby has built as a sideman, performing with such internationally-renowned artists as Ivan Lins, Paquito D’Rivera, Sean Jones, the New York Voices, Brazilian guitar virtuosos Rogério Souza and Diego Figueiredo, and Ghanaian highlife master Osei Korankye. Lucas also performed for 9 years as percussionist with nationally-touring afrobeat-funk powerhouse Big Mean Sound Machine. As a bandleader, Lucas Ashby’s Brain Trust combines global jazz with psychedelic music and regularly features legendary percussionist Cyro Baptista as special guest. Ashby was also a founding member of genre-bending 21st-century chamber-jazz ensemble Arco Belo, led by accordionist, pianist, and composer Simone Baron. In 2020 Ashby also was awarded a position as Artist-in-Residence at the renowned Washington, DC-area institution Strathmore. Ashby is currently performing and touring with several projects, including Seán Heely Celtic Band, Taisha Estrada, Project Locrea, Rose Moraes, Alex Hamburger & José Luiz Martins, among many others.