Cliff Korman's journey through the Americas began over twenty years ago when he encountered the legendary Brazilian clarinetist Paulo Moura. From their friendship and musical partnership a series of concerts and recordings was born: Mood Ingênuo: The Dream of Pixinguinha and Duke Ellington, Rhapsody in Bossa, on the music of Gershwin and Jobim, Gafiera Jazz, a sparkling and refreshing commentary on the history of Brazilian ballroom and its links to the North American Swing Era, and the Gnattali/Monk Project, exploring two of the most influential American pianists of the century. In the years since Korman established half of his spiritual and physical home in Brasil, becoming one of the most respected North American musicians in the country.
With each trip to Brasil, Korman has sought out new repertoire and recordings, and has always sought to introduce new Brazilian standards to the repertoire of bands in New York. In October 2008 he presented the first Brazilian show of the Manhattan School of Music Orchestra starring guitarist/vocalist Toninho Horta, which featured both familiar works of Jobim, and lesser-known works of Horta.
Cliff Korman's early musical experience spanned from accompanying Yiddish theater icon Molly Picon, to the worlds of R&B and jazz, which he decided to make his own, after working with Millie Jackson, Bob Moses, Jon Lucien, and Milt Hinton.
Korman teaches History and Practice of Brazilian Popular Music at the Manhattan School of Music. He has been the recipient of a research/lecture Fulbright grant to Brasil. His book Inside the Brazilian Rhythm Section (Sher Music) co-authored by guitarist Nelson Faria, is used by music schools worldwide. Korman's theoretical focus on the nature and history of improvisation resulted in an article which explores the work of Thelonious Monk (Annual Review of Jazz Studies). Colleges that have hosted his courses include: City University of New York, The New School University, Manhattan School of Music, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Federal University of Minas Gerais, and Escola de Musica of Brasilia.