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Guilherme Vergueiro

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Guilherme Vergueiro began his musical studies with his grandfather, the renowned classical Brazilian pianist Guilherme Fontainha, and his assistant Fumiko Kuwanami. Later, he'd study serial composition and aesthetics with fundamental composer H.J. Koellreuter and he also studied harmony and counterpoint with Paulo Herculano. His professional career began in 1970, when he was already playing at nightclubs in São Paulo and Rio. Those were the dark years of military dictatorship and Vergueiro had a good deal of luck, as he modestly puts it himself, because so many first-rate professional artists had to leave the country that he succeeded in playing with established professionals and learn from them. In this phase, he played with Edison Machado, arguably the best Brazilian drummer ever, Agostinho dos Santos (who sang in the Black Orpheus movie), distinguished singer Leny Andrade, bossa pioneer Johnny Alf, Alaíde Costa, and others. He also led his own trios and quartets. In 1973, he was musical director of the play Labirinto, o Balanço da Vida, which was awarded with the Molière prize as best of the year. In 1975, he was busted by the police together with another 12 artists. They filed him, with photographs, and released him. He became so depressed and worried that he decided to move to New York. After a few months, he became acquainted with bassist Walter Booker, with whom he formed the group Love, Carnival and Dreams, playing his own arrangements and compositions at jazz nightclubs such as the Village Gate and Boomers. Soon he was hired as musical director for the then only Brazilian night club, Cachaça, and stayed there for two and a half years, playing everyday but Sunday. In December 1979, he decided to go back to Brazil. He released his debut album, Naturalmente, touring through several Brazilian capitals. As an arranger and pianist, he worked on albums from Carlinhos Vergueiro, Chico Buarque, Djavan, Leny Andrade, Raul de Souza, Nico Assumpção, Claudio Guimarães, Raul Mascarenhas, Rafael Rabello, and others. He followed his second album, Só por Amor, with a new round of tours. Going to Denmark as a guest to teach and lecture about Brazilian music, he gave several concerts and recorded Live in Copenhagen, toured France and Italy, and returned to Brazil. From 1983 to 1986, he appeared at several important venues, like Festival Internacional de Jazz (São Paulo), Free Jazz Festival (Rio), Festival de Jazz (Brasilia), Festival de Jazz (Recife), and Festival de Campos do Jordão, among others. In 1986, he gave a solo concerto with testimony for the Imagery and Sound Museum of São Paulo; another one at the opening of the Modern Art Exhibition with his quartet and 13 members of the Symphonic Orchestra of São Paulo; and, with brass orchestra, at the awards ceremony of the I Video Festival. During 1997 and 1998, he played duos with renowned trombonist Raul de Souza, flutist Lea Freire, and singers Rosa Maria and Miúcha. Vergueiro toured Spain with singer Nana Caymmi and with his group Guilherme Vergueiro + 5 (Sisão Machado, bass; Duda Neves, drums; Claudio Guimarães, guitar; Edu Helou, keyboards; and Teco Cardoso, saxes and flutes) and appeared at the Free Jazz Festival (Rio de Janeiro). In 1988/1989, he became more attached to the traditional samba of the hills of Rio, so he got involved with the Escola de Samba da Mangueira, realizing several appearances with its Bateria (the percussion sector). In 1989, he toured France and, with flutist Nicola Stilo, through Italy. He appeared at the Parc Tulerie, Paris, France, during the commemorations of the fall of Bastille. In 1990, he settled in Los Angeles and formed the Guilherme Vergueiro Brazilian Big Band, which performs in Los Angeles occasionally. With Ron Carter and Robertinho Silva, he performed in Rio and São Paulo. From 1994 to 1995, he performed with Hugh Masekela and Raphael Rabello. In 1995, he released Love, Carnival and Dreams with Ron Carter and Robertinho Silva. Vergueiro was also nominated for the Herb Alpert Foundation for the Arts and by CAL State University awards for his work's totality. Leading a group formed by Wayne Shorter, Wallace Rooney, Raul de Souza, Laudir de Oliveira, Mads Vinding, and Robertinho Silva, he appeared at the Heineken Festival in Rio and São Paulo. In 1996, he performed three solo concerts at Teatro Hilton, São Paulo. In 1997, he released his solo album Molambo and produced and arranged Mike Stoller's Amazon Moon. In 1999, he was a guest of saxophonist Don Menza. In 2000, the label Naim released his CD Espiritu, with guest Carlos dos Santos (seven-string Brazilian guitar). ~ Alvaro Neder

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Years Active:

'80s, '90s