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Zimbo Trio is a reference group in Brazilian music. In its decades of existence, the group has recorded more than 40 albums throughout the world, receiving several national prizes as Best Instrumental Group (Cidade de São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro, Troféu Imprensa, Chico Viola, Medalha de Ouro dos Diários Associados, Roquette Pinto, Euterpe, among others) and international ones as well. The group's international presentations include the Smithsonian Museum, Town Hall and UCLA in America, as well as tours throughout Latin America, Portugal, France, Italy, Germany, Denmark, and Japan.
Zimbo Trio was formed in 1964 by classically trained pianist Amilton Godói, bassist/composer/orchestrator Luís Chaves, and drummer Rubinho (Rubens Barsotti). They performed for the first time under the name of Zimbo Trio at Oásis nightclub in São Paulo, accompanying the famous actress and novice singer Norma Benguell in a show directed by Aluísio de Oliveira. Soon, the group was awarded the Pinheiro de Ouro prize as Best Instrumental Group at the I Festival do Paraná da MPB. A little later, they recorded their first LP, Zimbo Trio. In 1965, the trio traveled to Lima, Peru, and Buenos Aires, Argentina. At the festival of Mar del Plata, Argentina, they received the Cancioneiro das Américas award. In 1966, the trio toured Portugal and Luanda, Angola, appearing at the Cannes International Cinema Festival, Cannes, France. Zimbo Trio received awards for best soundtrack for the movies Noite Vazia (1965, Walter Hugo Khoury) and A Margem, (1967, Ozualdo Candeias). When the show O Fino da Bossa was thought up at the TV Record, São Paulo, Zimbo Trio was invited to be the instrumental backup for the show's hosts, singers Elis Regina and Jair Rodrigues. The show marked the end of an era of dissemination of sophisticated jazz-based arrangements intertwined with Brazilian style artistry in popular music, which would soon be substituted by teenish iê-iê-iê as O Fino da Bossa was expelled from the outing's schedule.
Zimbo Trio also participated in Bossaudade, another important show in the same vein, but less widely known, hosted by Elizeth Cardoso. With her, the great Brazilian mandolinist Jacob do Bandolim and his group Época de Ouro, Zimbo Trio performed a historic event on the night of February 19, 1968, at the João Caetano theater, Rio. The furiously rainy night didn't impede 1,500 people from crowding the theater. (The show was recorded by the Imagery and Sound Museum of Rio de Janeiro and was released on three LPs.) Invited by Brazil's diplomatic service, Zimbo Trio toured Central and South America on a cultural mission. In 1969, the American Countries Organization invited Zimbo Trio to represent Brazil at the International Festival of Cosquín in Cordoba, Argentina. The group extended the mission, also playing in Washington, New York, and Los Angeles.
In 1972, Zimbo Trio toured Portugal and Spain with Elizeth Cardoso. Accompanying the Brazilian singer Sílvia Maria on Adilson's composition "Heróica," the group was awarded first prize at the Festival de Onda Nueva, Caracas, Venezuela. In 1973, they expanded their activities to the educational area, opening the CLAM music courses, soon famous and concurred in Brazil, and Zimbo Edições Musicais (a publishing house dedicated to producing didactic material for musical learning). The modern erudite composer Ciro Pereira wrote the dedicated Pequeno Concerto para o Zimbo Trio, performed by the group in 1974 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, accompanied by the Symphonic Orchestra of Buenos Aires and conducted by Simón Blech. In 1985, they performed at the Free Jazz Festival in São Paulo. In that same year, the group was featured on the show Café Concerto on TV Cultura, São Paulo. They toured Japan in 1987 and were featured on the Jazz Brasil show, also for TV Cultura, São Paulo.