|Max De Souza and his talented family|
Who do you play with ... describe them, their musical style, their special talents.
I formed my band “Liquid Jazz Project” 7 years ago and perform with both my nephews – Jonathan Rattos 23 years old (keyboards) and Craig Rattos 25 years old (drums). Both my nephews are Humber College Grads and I am blessed to have them with me. I started Jonathan at the age of 17 years and our first performance was at a restaurant in Oakville (Pasquale Tratoria). He only knew 7 songs and my words to him were "use your ear and follow my bass lines and vocal melody" and the rest will come together naturally. Though he was stressed in the beginning, his ability to listen and capture the chords and songs were amazing, great talent. Here was my nephew who I used to hold in my arms at a very young age and now today with me on stage performing with me – tears and happiness together experiencing this wonderful gift of music. Jonathan is my right hand man, backbone and musical arranger for the band. His brother Craig Rattos (drums) joined a year later and again extremely talented and proud to have them both part of Liquid Jazz Project. His capability to play Jazz with a great feel and his smile through each performance captures the audience. He is gifted like his brother Jonathan and both are Music Teachers coached and tutored by Brian De Lima (professional musician in Canada). They both are now Music Teachers in Piano and Drums. Though they are young and started not knowing any of the artists from the Great American Song Book i.e. Frank Sinatra – Tony Bennett – Nat King Cole and many others, they both are extremely talented and capture that era with passion. Through my mentorship and coaching they both are very committed and each performance the audience is captivated with the sound and musicianship. We have Professional guest artist perform with us at different events some are very good friends of mine.
Craig and Jonathan are sons of Roy & Marilyn Rattos of Nairobi. They have their own band “The Chronicles Dub Trio” which captures the 70’s Dub Reggae influence. Members: Jonathan Rattos (Left Hand Bass, Keys/Organ, Melodica, Dub Controls Alexei Orechin - Rhythm/Lead Guitar Craig Rattos – Drums. These musicians are very dedicated and committed to keep the era of Dub and Reggae alive and working very hard within the Greater Toronto Area. I am very proud of their first CD “Reflections” has been doing extremely well played in Canada on Radio Stations Jazz FM 91.1 Toronto - Europe – England and across the globe – doing very well within the Reggae Dub Community. The is an instrumental dub wise roots-rock reggae band that is based out of Toronto that truly believes in preserving the vintage-golden era of reggae; the 1970’s sound. That being said, the Chronicles specialize in the Rockers era. December 2016 saw the release of their debut album ‘Reflections’, showcasing their compositions and explorative improvisations within the realm of dub.
I am very proud also of my son Carl De Souza a very accomplished Bass player like his father. I remember taking him to music stores with me at the age of 6 and him sitting by my which trying different basses and guitars. He amazes me with his style and confidence in playing bass in the music genre that he enjoys (R&B – Funk- Motown and Reggae). Carl has performs with name Professional artists at Music Festivals, Shows, Restaurants and Clubs across the Greater Toronto Area. We both enjoy music and though our playing styles are different him more on the R&B Funk Motown and me on the Classic Jazz genre, we share our experiences of types of basses and guitars including bass amps. We share till today one day a month time permits “Dad’s Day” which we celebrate by going to all the music stores in Toronto looking at instruments, meeting our peer musicians, exchanging ideas and most time land up buying a bass or guitar. The great times between dad and son will always be there just like my father share with me many years ago. Carl my son website www.soultones.ca
My daughter Lisa who is extremely talented and formed a company “Nzuri Wewe” you are beautiful in Swahili. She crafts bags, purses attire from used jeans. She hand makes each one and the company keeps with the tradition from Kenya. Check out her FB page.
Who are your favorite musicians you played with and why, what makes them special.
While working at EMI Records in London England during the 70’s my job was to review each artist LP with them and find out which track would be the one that they liked best and what was it that they likes, i.e. Memory – or what make you write that song – what part did you like the best. – What is it that you think your fans would like to hear etc. This meant personally sitting down with an individual or band in a listening room or at home informally and summarize. This summary is what at the back of the LP cover and also used during the Radio show in interviews. Meeting with these artists either at Abbey Road Studios or at their homes was very interesting and memorable. You see the side of them like any other musicians, the fights, the discussions, the calm moments, the dedication and commitment, and love for music, their talent and most of all how they as friends work together. At their homes, you never knew who else would show up i.e. would be it John Lennon, Paul Mc Cartney, Mama and the Papas, Jim Hendris, Eric Clapton or members of Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin or many others. They mingled and talked like very good friends, no arrogance just plain good folks. It was interesting when someone played a guitar and they all joined in singing. I sat in playing a guitar laughing and talking having a drink and just enjoying that moment in time. What a great time with these awesome talented musicians and my times with EMI – Electra – MCI – HMV will never ever be forgotten
Just tell me the things that float in your mind when sit down and think back on your life.
I think back of all the great times and musicians in Kenya that I have listened to, being mentored, performed with passion, entertained at Clubs (Goan Institute the Railway Goan Institute and the Goan Gymkhana). How the people danced to the big band sounds and even the Sunday afternoon Hops that Rock & Roll Bands played. People and Musicians shared the passion of music and dancing together with wonderful memories of our people. We laughed and cried, celebrated together each moment in time. We were a community together all Goans and other cultures – Life was beautiful in Nairobi – we didn’t have to rely on technology to keep us together just friendship and a smile. The Saturdays when you went to town and walked round and round meeting friends and the movies on Sunday’s or going to a afternoon Hop at one of the clubs.
Today in tribute of those days my favorite song I perform is “What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong”. It brings back many a happy memory to young and old till today.
What were the early days like?
Early days were peaceful – happy – lots of good friendships and family oriented. We enjoyed meeting everywhere, no phone calls to say we are coming over just being welcomed at any time. Musicians had a passion and we shared times together, learning from each other and lots of laughs and being happy. People were more family oriented which today we miss. The technology today has made us distant and times have changed though we must embrace change and understand that the younger generation has its own challenges.
Today at the age of 69, having retired from my real job ( Sr Systems Project Manager) being thankful that Music is still a big part of my life. I spend my time still performing at many events during the course of the year. My frequent visits to favorite store, “Long & McQuade” Mississauga where I continue buying lots of my musical equipment, learning new products and enjoying talking to the store staff. They have become like second family to me, each one of them. We share many a laugh each time together, I help sell basses when am at the store, coach and mentor new young musicians, meet new musicians which all help keep me mentally young and happy. This store is like my friendly bar where everyone knows your name. We share a healthy daily dose of “Music”.
I still continue performing with my band “Liquid Jazz Project” across Toronto and the US. I coach and mentor young musicians and encourage Older musicians to share their life story, the ups and downs of the musical industry, the marketing, the performance side, the roles and responsibilities of each musician. I keep busy also booking musicians for my good friends at a family restaurant “Marco Polo Restobar” here in Mississauga. I worked with them on a complete “Restaurant Entertainment Makeover” by reviewing their clientele and providing different genre of Musical Bands (Classic Rock/Classic Jazz/R&B Funk Motown/Country/Reggae/Brazilian Latin Spanish/Uruguayan South American & Irish Celtic music. This has proved to be a success as their Restaurant sales base has increased 90%. I am very proud of this achievement, and look forward taking on additional business.