At the Clube Paineiras do Morumby, a large private members club in the prosperous and leafy Sao Paulo suburb of Morumbi, the Orquestra Pinheiros gave their tenth anniversary concert, a programme of jazz standards and show and film tunes. The club itself is 52 years old, a large social, cultural and sports club, built on what was once a tea plantation established by Englishman John Rudge after 1808.

Roof over the restaurant

Roof over the restaurant

The club still has something of the plantation about it, set on an expansive sloping site, the open-air dining area crowded with tables under umbrellas, reminiscent of closely planted tea bushes. The lights of Sao Paulo’s ‘verticalisation’ twinkle on the horizon.

Morumby alfresco 

The club house is built with the familiar Sao Paulo raw concrete.

Ferro-concrete, tile and neon arcade, Morumby

It’s enlivened with colourful tiling and paint, and plays with the inside / outside boundary, apposite for a sports club.

Clube Paineiras Morumby: inside view from outside

The concert takes place in the Cineteatro, where the stage hosts the 35 musicians plus technical support. Later, guest vocalists will  share the stage. It’s an impressively large group which can make a big sound. Murilo Alvarenga, our genial maestro, also sings and is responsible for tonight’s orchestration too. He’s one of the few professional musicians in this group; apart from one or two sitting in, this orchestra plays for the love of it, not the money, practising twice a week. And Sr Alvarenga too is clearly here for the love of the music. His enthusiasm for it is infectious as well as educational, and the audience respond strongly.

Audience for …

As the programme unfolds, they nod in time and tap their feet to the music, occasionally voicing their enthusiastic approval.

… Orquestra Pinheiros …

By the end, they award the musicians a standing ovation and an encore for the last number, the song Sway, composed by Mexican bandleader Pablo Beltrán Luiz in 1953, and most recently popularised by Michael Bublé.

… swaying in Clube Morumby’s Cineteatro

Vocalists Ana Tagliannetti and Rita Valente have fun with their response to the lover’s scenario in the lyrics, bringing this good-natured evening to an enthusiastic close. You wonder if tackling it in Spanish might have added to the fun … here’s the composer’s version, from a 1977 performance for TV.