Born in Nairobi, Kenya to Goan parents (Goa is a state on India’s west coast that was colonized by Portugal), Dr. Brian de Lima relocated with his family to Toronto while still an infant. From his earliest days, he enjoyed a steady diet of jazz – his father, in addition to possessing great talents in the visual arts, is a proficient jazz guitarist with a special affinity for the music of Wes Montgomery. Brian began playing the piano at the age of three – with his father – before starting private studies at five (his first teacher was a pupil of Daisy Peterson, the sister and teacher of Oscar Peterson). Jazz was a focus from the very beginning.
Brian moved on to study with Estonian concert pianist Armas Meiste, who introduced him to the music of Bud Powell and in 1993, he received a full scholarship to Humber College of the Arts.
Still not satisfied and typifying the artist on his unending quest to enhance his creative capacity, Brian sought out master bebop educator and pianist Barry Harris. Harris, who boasts Coltrane, Donald Byrd, Paul Chambers, and a host of other greats as former students, has cultivated and imparted a unique approach to teaching the music of Charlie Parker and Bud Powell.
Originators such as Earl “Fatha” Hines,Lester Young,Art Tatum, Teddy Wilson, Erroll Garner, Louis Armstrong, and Nat King Cole have now gained priority on Brian’s overall sound including the exploration of the masters of stride piano.
In 2003, Brian started “Dementia Five”,a band commited to playing and exploring the music of traditional Bebop and Swing.The debut c.d “INhER DEMONS” has allready received acolades from such masters as Barry Harris,Benny Green and Bob Mover.
Brian has played or shared the stage with great musicians such as Jimmy Lovelace, Sacha Perry, Kenji Omae, Chris Byers, Michael Bubble band, Barry Harris, Alex and Asher Stein, Gregory Hutchinson, Brad Meheldau and Bob Mover. In Toronto, Benny Green, Russel Mallone, Roy Hargrove, Renee Rosnes, Geoff Keezer, Oscar Peterson, Monty Alexander, Joe Labarbera, Pat Labarbera,Don Thompson, Shelley Berger, Neil Swainson, Steve Wallace, John Summner, Terry Clarke, Bonnie Brett, Botos Bros, Ben Janson, David Powell, Sly Juhas, Michael Herring and Lee Wallace.
We talk about authentic bebop improvisation, his experiences studying at the famed Barry Harris workshops and the influence of Barry Harris, the blues, rhythm changes, talking about all the great players in history, jazz pedagogy and much, much more!