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Live From The 305: Eduardo Lis & The Latin Jazz Menu

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Eduardo Lis & Latin Jazz Menu
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Eduardo Lis (center, in black) and his band "Eduardo Lis & Latin Jazz Menu" at the Sacred Sound studio in Miami.

Argentina-born Eduardo Lis has played in jazz groups across the world, but found a home for his music in South Florida.

The classically trained percussionist started his group “Eduardo Lis & Latin Jazz Menu” in Miami six months ago. The band’s unique style incorporates traditional jazz standards with Brazilian and Argentinian beats. Lis is inspired by Miami-based groups like Locos Por Juana and Spam All-Stars.

In addition to playing the drums, Lis is an elementary music teacher in Broward County. He joined Sundial to talk about the appetite for Latin jazz in South Florida and how he’s inspiring his students.

“Eduardo Lis & Latin Jazz Menu” has a show this Saturday, Nov. 3, at Havana U.S.A in Davie at 8 p.m. 

WLRN: Tell us about your time studying music in Argentina.

Lis: In Argentina it's very cheap or free to see classical music. So being a student in the [Argentinian] conservatory, we used to go very often to Teatro Colón, which is a big opera theater. They would sometimes play just symphonies, sometimes opera, sometimes instrumental music. So we got to really see a lot of things. We really listened to a lot of classical music of all periods but ... [there is] a strong influence of the music of Brazil in Argentina. Obviously there is the Hispanic rock or rock nacional. So we all grew up with that as well. So it's all together at the same time. You'll go and see Beethoven and then you go and see a rock concert or a blues concert in a stadium and also we get bands coming from Brazil. So we were exposed to Brazilian music, American music and British music. 

Did you also see a lot of jazz?

And jazz as well. At the time that I was there we used to go to jazz clubs and see the jazz cats.

Did you see more American jazz or more of the Brazilian jazz?

Both. But when Brazilian people would come it would be to bigger venues. If you go to a small club, 30 to 40 people, there will be the Argentinian, local jazz musicians and there will be some really amazing musicians playing.

How do you describe the differences between your typical American jazz and the Brazilian jazz? How do you describe that difference?

When I was talking about the jazz clubs in Argentina I was talking mostly about the kind of "bee-bop," maybe a little bit of funk and things like that. The Brazilian jazz, as far as the rhythms compared to the American jazz, is based on swing ... on swinging the notes ... and that kind of triplet feeling off "doo-bee doo-bee do," while Brazilian jazz comes from the Bossa Nova. And it is more of a straight feel.

Watch "Eduardo Lis & Latin Jazz Menu" live performance. 

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Chris knew he wanted to work in public radio beginning in middle school, as WHYY played in his car rides to and from school in New Jersey. He’s freelanced for All Things Considered and was a desk associate for CBS Radio News in New York City. Most recently, he was producing for Capital Public Radio’s Insight booking guests, conducting research and leading special projects at Sacramento’s NPR affiliate.