For more than forty years Brazilian guitarist Odair Assad has been performing concerts with his brother Sérgio, in an exceptional guitar duo. In 1998, Odair finally began performing solo recitals and recording on his own. It is of little surprise that his sublime playing has been acclaimed at every turn. About his recording of Malcolm Arnold’s short Serenade for guitar and strings with Leo Brouwer conducting the Orquesta de Cordoba (GHA Records), Colin Cooper said “ Odair Assad reveals himself to be a soloist of awesome talents, which is no less than observation has always suggested.”
One year later the same reviewer declared about the album Fuga y misterio, ” Odair Assad has one of the most fluent left hands in a guitarist, seemingly attached to the fingerboard, it performs its function without obvious effort and to the maximum musical effect. This CD gives him the chance to shine in solo splendour.”
Odair owes much of his inspiration to his dear friend Thomas Humphrey, who died suddenly in 2008. Humphrey was one of the great luthiers of our time, whose innovative guitars are still in demand. Humphrey had made the brothers' guitars for many years and had encouraged Odair to perform solo throughout his career. Odair was inspired to honor his friend and played a concert in New York within months of Humphrey's death, dedicating it to Humphrey as a sincere homage to the loving memory of his best friend. The brilliant Cuban composer Leo Brouwer wrote the piece “Sonata del Caminante” for Odair at that time, followed quickly by Egberto Gismonti who wrote “Memoria e Fado.” Sérgio Assad then composed “Brevidades’ for him and a program of new and extraordinary repertoire had been created which Odair was able to premiere and record. Leo Brouwer said that his new work contained “impossible challenges for any guitar virtuoso, but common hurdles for Odair.” In the Spring of 2010, Odair’s first recording, “El Caminante,” was released on the GHA label.
Odair’s first North American concert tour began in February 2011 and was received ecstatically by guitar aficionados and other audiences too. Odair continues to enjoy playing with his brother Sérgio, who was nominated for two more Latin Grammys for Best Contemporary Classical Composition in 2010. They took to the road with Yo-Yo Ma and pianist Kathryn Stott in April 2012 and will again in 2016. The brothers’ album “Dances from the New World” recorded with Paquito D’Rivera was released late 2013 on the GHA label. “Call it what you will – jazz, world, Latin, Cuban, African – this music is none and all at the same time, and it's excellent” said Kirk Albrecht from Minor 7th. Meanwhile Tim Panting from Classical Guitar noted the “constant reiteration of (the Assads') outstanding musicianship, pushing the realms of the guitar up and beyond mere mortal expectations.” In winter 2015 The Assads will embark on a North American tour with their dear friend and collaborator, guitarist Romero Lubambo in a program called Samba Exótico. In 2015 Sérgio & Odair celebrate the 50th Anniversary of their partnership with a new record, which pays tribute to Brazilian guitar and features the greatest composers from their homeland such as Marlos Nobre, Baden Powell, João Pernambuco and Egberto Gismonti. They will perform this repertoire around the world as part of this remarkable milestone.
Odair's next European tour will start in early October 2014 at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw and will include concerts in Denmark, Poland, Belgium and Switzerland. Concerts in the United States include New York, Washington, D.C. and St. Louis. Odair's next solo album will also feature works composed specifically for him and will celebrate friendship, warmth and hope.