Choro Dragão plays choro music.


We love choro music.  


We play it in New York City, on untraditional instruments.  (I mean, for choro. They're not, like, made from old typewriters, or plant-based, or anything like that.)  We improvise, we explore, we recycle. We celebrate the music of Pixinguinha, Ernesto Nazareth, and Jacob do Bandolim as modern musicians in Brooklyn, in 2014.


The band's leader is vibraphonist and percussionist James Shipp.  James has been making music in NYC since 2002.  He is a jazz vibraphone soloist, a dance band percussionist, a studio recording producer, an avant-garde reconnoiterer, and a backer of singer-songwriters loud and soft.  His career is therefore hard to explain succinctly to anyone, most of all his parents, who love him nonetheless.

In addition to Choro Dragão, James leads Nós Novo, an open-ended jazz/Irish folk band.  He has a duo with trumpeter Nadje Noordhuis.  He’s a member of Banda Magda, Jean Rohe’s End of the World Show, Max Pollak’s Rumbatap, and several contemporary big bands.  He’s played with and for Paquito D’Rivera, Kurt Elling, Kate McGarry, Peter Eldridge, Becca Stevens, and Sting.  He also leads workshops for Carnegie Hall’s Musical Connections, helping incarcerated and otherwise disenfranchised people write, record, and perform their own music.  

What is choro?                  What's a dragão?
James Shipp, Valentine's Day, 2014

James Shipp, Valentine's Day, 2014

James' fellow Dragãoes are a who's who of whos in the NYC Brazilian and improvised music scenes.  

On keyboards, piano, and accordion is Rio native Vitor Gonçalves, a veteran of Brazilian giant Hereto Pascoal's band and a current member of Vinicus Cantuaria's touring group.   

On bass and synthesizer is Mike Loren LaValle, a member of Nation Beat, Matuto, Skye Steele's Hot Holy Mess, Emily King's band, and many other Brazilian and singer/songwriter projects throughout NYC

Playing pandeiro with the band is a recent NYC emigrant and luminary of the progressive music scene of Rio de Janeiro, Sergio Krakowski, whose band Tira Poeira has had an undeniable impact on all modern choro music.

Our drummer is Richie Barshay, the engine of The Klezmatics and Jean Rohe and the End of the World Show, and a veteran of projects of jazz luminaries Fred Hersch, Chick Corea, and Herbie Hancock.

Playing percussion in the band is Rogerio Boccato, a São Paulo native often seen playing with John Pattitucci, Danilo Perez, Ben Allison, Maria Schneider, among countless others.