What is it about Alexandre Kassin aka “Kassin” (in gringo-ese, Kah-Seen) that brings the listener into a place of wonderment? It’s not easy to musically describe him in one sentence, one paragraph, one blog posting. Maybe a book should be written at this point.
This man is a musical anomaly, steeped in the love and knowledge of traditional musical styles, but also possesses a wide open palette of experimental music and sonic exploration. As a producer, he is one of Brazil’s best and highest in demand. The roster of icons that he has worked with is staggering for a man of only 42 years ~ Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Gal Costa, Jorge Ben, Lincoln Olivetti, Erasmo Carlos, Elza Soares, and Wilson Das Neves come to mind straight off the bat. And those are just a handful of the “Old School” classic artists. Then there are more current popular artists such as Bebel Gilberto, Marisa Monte , Los Hermanos, Vanessa Da Mata plus a whole slew of others that seem to be well kept secrets from North America thus far.
As a musician, band member and leader, Kassin has been involved in numerous projects of note – as an integral member of band “+2 “ with Moreno Veloso and Domenico Lancelotti, and Orquestra Imperial (just to name a couple). If you are willing to spend time sifting through the internet, you will discover many more musical treasures connected to the name Kassin, although strangely enough, I haven’t yet found a thorough and definitive discography for him.
His first solo album Sonhando Devagar (Dreaming Slowly, 2011) is a concept album, entirely based upon his dreams. Even if you don’t understand the Portuguese language, it’s still a very enjoyable listen front to back, for it’s sonic quality, musical imagination and overall groovy impressions. Currently , he has completed his second solo work, due for upcoming release, and has recently returned from Japan as a member of Gilles Peterson’s Sonzeira project, featuring a literal Who’s Who of Brazilian artists.