Jakstoni Dias' Universal Language
By: Jason Savio, July 13, 2012
Photo courtesy the artist - Hyannis musician Jakstoni Dias fuses his Brazilian roots with newer American influences for a unique improvisational sound.
One of the great things about music is that whatever your country or background, it conveys feelings and emotions without barriers.
If you keep an open mind while listening to what the artist is playing—an artist such as Jakstoni Dias— you can discover a whole new world.
Dias played guitar in a church gospel group in his native Brazil and performed pop, jazz and bossa nova in nightclubs before moving to the Hyannis 22 years ago.
With his guitar strapped on, he hoped to continue playing music, but had no idea what to expect from the Cape Cod music scene.
“Growing up in Brazil I was more familiar with African rhythms,” Dias said. “But when I moved here I started listening to different kinds of music like jazz and hip-hop, so it made things broader.”
The subtle differences between music in Brazil and the United States also surprised Dias, who currently plays in The Assembly of God church group in Hyannis and will occasionally perform bass in local reggae groups such as Ear to Ear.
“I was playing Brazilian jazz which is very different than what we play here,” he said. “We have a lot of chords and rhythms but lead-wise what they play around here is richer.”
Heavily influenced by what he was hearing here and what he was already familiar with from Brazil, Dias decided to fuse it all together, even though at the time he might not have known it himself.
“I have good ears and I fuse what I hear with what I love,” he explained. “But I didn't know what the classification of the music would be. To me I was just playing.”
The result was his own unique take on Latin jazz fusion, giving local listeners a fresh change of tone on his heavily improvised 2005 album, Silent King Vol.1, recorded at IEO Studios in Hyannis.
“My main goal was to make a demo tape but I didn't have in mind what style [to play] so I just kind of threw it together,” Dias said of his recording experience. “I brought my acoustic guitar [to the studio] and they looked at me and said 'where's the material?' I didn't have anything written.”
Much like his approach to playing, the music on Silent King Vol.1 is abstract and impulsive, the musical equivalent of a Jackson Pollock painting. It stretches as far as possible in every direction, while somehow staying centered and elegantly persuasive.
“All my music that I so far have recorded is all improvised,” said Dias. “I think if you don't have to concentrate on a paper then you have more freedom to play.”
While his approach to improvisation may be rooted in jazz, Dias' overall sound is a melting pot of Brazilian-American influences. From the air play Silent King has received on the radio in the US and Canada, to the local clubs and The Assembly of God church in Hyannis, Dias is proving once again that music is a universal voice without barriers.