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the evolution

of Brazilian
samba groove
a brief overview
Ti Fernandes Pereira
Latin Bass - Codarts Conservatorium
Rotterdam 2012

the evolution
of Brazilian

samba groove
a brief overview

Ti Fernandes Pereira
Latin Bass - Codarts Conservatorium
Counselor - Oscar Van Dillen
Rotterdam 2012

Table of contents
1. Introduction
2. Samba
2.1 Origins
2.2 Samba Performance and Important Accents
3. The Bass within Brazilian Music
3.1 The early days - From the 20's to the 50's
3.2 Bossa Nova
3.3 The Brazilian Jazz From the 50's to the 70's
3.4 Elis Regina and Luizo Maia
3.5 Djavan: Luizo Maia and Sizo Machado
3.6 The 80's Nico Assuno, Arthur Maia and the Brazilian Fusion
3.6.1 Nico Assumpo
3.6.2 Arthur Maia
3.7 The 90's Stagnation and the arising of the Commercial Samba
3.8 Nowadays Ney Conceio/Thiago do Espirito Santo Influences and

Tendencies

4. Conclusion
5. Appendix
5.1 Selected Discography
5.2 Proposed Studies
5.3 Sources
5.4 Acknowledgments

1. Introduction
Since the beginning of my bass studies one particular music gender has always
been present in my daily practice routine, the samba. Due to the fact of my musical
background, almost all my studies (regarding harmony, rhythm and melody)
passed through this particular Brazilian style of music which is the most
remarkable of its kind inside and outside Brazil. Since the 19th century until
nowadays the samba developed in many aspects; in terms of arrangement,
instrumentation, harmony, melody and of course in terms of playing.
When I started to research more profoundly for different ways to approach the
way of play this music through the bass, I was amazed by the amount of good bass
players that in some point or some period have made a turning point in terms of
approaching this style. With this research, I want to show the development of
samba, starting by the early double bass players from the 30 and the 40's, the bass
players that were responsible to create a unique way to play the samba from the
bossa nova approach in the 50's, up to the fast fusion grooves in the E-Bass
nowadays. With a strong influence especially from the U.S. music in the second
decade of the XXI century (jazz, funk, fusion), the Brazilian bass players achieved a
high level of Samba playing, which became a musical reference worldwide.
Nowadays it's commonly seen that bass players around the world incorporate the
groove figures of different types of samba within their vocabulary, due the rich
rhythmical approach that this style can provide. I want to emphasize the fact
during this research I will not discuss matters on the different samba styles like:
samba funk, samba enredo, samba reggae and others. Instead I refer to the samba
as a style in general.

For the following research, I had used some books and internet sources related to
the Brazilian music history (especially samba and bossa nova) and some bass
books and methods published in Brazil. There is a lot of books on the market about
how to play brazilian bass but none about the historical development of it. Most of
the information I present in my thesis comes from my own knowledge, witch I
gained and acquired from almost 10 years playing experience in Brazilian music.
Since a very young age i was in contact with this music as a consequence of having
a father who is a musician speciallized in Brazilian music. Other information
especially about the bass players mentioned here I acquired in informal
conversations with then in workshops and courses that i participated back in
Brazil.

2. Samba
2.1 Origins
To understand the evolution of the bass playing within Brazilian music we should
go back to the origins of the gender itself.
Samba is a gender of music that comes from an African dance and was brought to
Brazil by African slaves in the colonial period (1500 - 1530). A strong characteristic
in the samba is the accompaniment of the dance by short melodic phrases and
refrains. (Andr Diniz: 2006). These are the roots of the samba de roda created in
Bahia, which in the late XIX century moved to the capital of Brazil, Rio de Janeiro.
The samba de roda from Bahia built the root of the carioca samba, the samba style
that became popular later on. Even existing in different parts of Brazil, under
different names, forms and dances, the samba as a music gender is mostly
understood as an urban expression from Rio de Janeiro where it developed. It was
in Rio de Janeiro that this dance got in contact with other musical genders that have
already been played in the city. A representative example therefore is the French
polka and maxixe. They were performed by the Royal family and members of the
Portuguese aristocracy, who incorporated those dances within their festivity
routine, admiring and emphasizing French culture and art at that time.
The same way the urban carioca samba gained more popularity and became a
symbol of national identity during the first half of the XX century. Remarkable for
the history of the samba is the year 1917, when the first samba recording was
made in Rio de Janeiro with the song called Pelo Telefone. (Andr Diniz: 2006).
From this moment on the gender of samba begins to spread throughout the whole
country, firstly being associated with the carnival festivities and later as a propper
style with its own place within the music market.

2.2 Samba Performance and Important accents


To understand the relation between the bass and the samba it is important to
understand the gender first. As in many music genders that derived from African
roots, the understanding of the samba is directly connected with the
understanding of the percussion playing executed within it. Just to give a short
example: to understand and play some Cuban rhythms like the son, bolero, mambo or
rumba, the bass player should know how to lock his bass lines with the percussion
(in this case the congas) and how to phrase within the Cuban clave.
In the samba it will not be different: the bass player should understand the pulse,
where the strong accents within the percussion are and how they are played
within the musical context.
The samba rhythm is executed in a binary measure in 2/4. One of its most
important characteristics is the strong accent on the second beat. The instrument
responsible for this accent is called Surdo and the bass being a low sounding
instrument and as part of the rhythmic section, will reproduce the sound of the
surdo with its accents within an ensemble situation.
The surdo instrument has a large, cylindrical body and is deep and low in sound.
This type of bass drum is traditionally used in the samba schools, each school
averaging from 25 to 35 instrument units.
(In: http://www.percussionista.com.br/instrumentos/surdo.html ).
Its main function in the samba is to mark the tempo and the main pulses of the
music. In a samba school there are 3 types of Surdos existent. The biggest one it
called Surdo de Primeira or Surdo de Marcao (Pulse Surdo). It is the lowest one in
terms of sound and it will be the one providing the elementary pulse to all the other
musicians. In the binary compass of the samba, the Surdo de Marcao plays
always on the second and the stronger beat. The second surdo (smaller and with a
less low sound than the Surdo de Marcao) it called Surdo de Segunda or Response
Surdo and is played in the first beat of the compass. The smallest one is called Surdo
de Terceira or Cortador (cutter). It is responsible to make rhythmical variations over
the other two surdos. The combination of the 3 surdos provides the basic rhythmic

Surdos

Surdo de Primeira

Surdo de Segunda

Surdo de Terceira and some variations

3 The bass within Brazilian music


3.1 The early days From the 20's to the 50's
In the beginning of the XX century, in Rio de Janeiro the most popular rhythms
played by great musicians such as the piano player Chiquinha Gonzaga, Ernesto
Nazareth and Pixinguinha was the maxixe, choro, marcha rancho and carnival music.
This particular musical movement called chores was formed generally by acoustic
guitars, flutes, cavaquinhos, banjos, bandolins and percussion such as pandeiro,
ganzas, caxixis, bumbos and many others. At the time the bass was not integrated
into these groups. Years later the famous group formed by saxophonist
Pixinguinha, Os Oito Batutas started to use the 7 string guitar and sometimes the
tuba to execute the bass parts.
's

In the 20 there were developed new technologies in terms of radio and


communication in Rio de Janeiro and So Paulo. The equipment was still very
primary, even though the radio became the major way for contributing mass media
in that time.
The composer and conductor Radams Gnattalli, with his classical formation,
started to use the double bass in his group to play in the cinemas of Rio de Janeiro
and later at the National Radio. (In: http://www.jorgepescara.com.br/)
After this period Brazilian music was getting strongly influenced by the North
nd
American music, especially during and after the 2 World War. With formation of
's
the jazz big bands in the 50 a movement arose to preserve and to rescue the
Brazilian music. In Rio de Janeiro there were many clubs and bars for dancing with
live music and at that time all the groups had already integrated the double bass
within their formation. Unfortunately the bass players at that time could not have a
good performance due the fact that the ways to capture the sound of double bass very
poorly developed. Only studio and radio bass players such as Pedro Vidal, Oswaldo
Alves and Juvenal could have access to a good equipment to have a better and
clearer sound.

3.2 Bossa Nova


The term bossa nova originally referred to a way of singing and playing. Later this
term became a synonym for one of Brazil's most internationally well known
musical genders. Implementing a new way of playing samba, the bossa nova was
criticized for being strongly influenced by North American Music. Those
influences were reflected in dissonant chords common to the jazz language. In
1957 the great musicians Carlos Lyra (guitar player and singer), Ronaldo Boscoli,
piano player Luiz Ea and the singer Sylvia Telle performed a remarkable concert in
Rio de Janeiro, announcing themselves as the Grupo Bossa Nova Presenting
Modern Sambas. (Rui Castro:1990). The bossa nova movement started actually with
the spontaneous meetings between musicians from the middle and upper class of
Rio de Janeiro. The meetings took place in the apartment of the singer Nara Leo,
were the musicians were free to compose and play sambas with a more
sophisticated and jazzy harmony with a lighter and more unattached lyrics than the
traditional sambas from that time. This can be well exemplified in the expression O
amor, o sorriso e a Flor (the love, the smile and the flower) contained in the song
Meditao from Tom Jobim and Newton Mendona.
(In: http://www.dicionariompb.com.br/).
The official birth of the bossa nova style took place in the year of 1958 with the
record of the album Cano do Amor Demais composed by the duo of Tom Jobim and
Vinicius de Moraes sung by Elizeth Cardoso and accompanied by the inventor of this
style on the acoustic guitar, Joo Gilberto.
With the musical impact of Joo Gilberto, the modern songs of Tom Jobim and the
interpretation of singers such as Nara Leo, Elizeth Cardoso and others, the bossa
nova started to get attention worldwide especially from jazz musicians from the
U.S that got particular interest in this New Harmony. On the other hand Brazilian
musicians got interested in the jazz language of improvisation. This mutual
interest and influence on those music styles has consequently led to the
development of another important movement within Brazilian music: the Brazilian
jazz.

10

3.3 The Brazilian Jazz From the 50's to the 70's


In April of 1953 the Brazilian acoustic guitar player Laurindo Almeida and the jazz
saxophonist Bud Shank recorded the album Braziliance in Los Angeles.
(In: http://buziosbossablog.blogspot.com/2010/11/historia-do-samba-jazz.html)
In this experimental record, they presented a revolutionary idea: the solos of Shank
over a Brazilian repertoire. In an organic way, Shank could adapt the language of
jazz improvisation in the Brazilian music really well, which made that album the
starting point for a new movement that developed in Brazil called samba jazz. One
of the most important groups that started that movement in Brazil (playing
Brazilian instrumental music with solos in it) was the revolutionary group Turma
da Gafieira with Altamiro Carrilho (flute), Z Bodega e Maestro Cip (saxophone), Raul
de Souza (trombone), Sivuca (accordion), Baden Powell (guitar), Jos Marinho (bass)
and Edson Machado (drums).
It is worth mentioning that the majority of the Brazilian instrumentalists at that
time were strongly influenced by North American jazz music. This was actually a
two- way influence that started with the recording of a Brazilian guitar player
together with an American jazz saxophonist, as mentioned above. In a later period
another similar influences were given for example by the recording of the album
Getz/Gilberto (1964) with the inventor of bossa nova pattern on the acustic guitar,
Joo Gilberto and with one of the jazz giants of that time, saxophonist Stan Getz or
the remarkable bossa nova concert in the Carnegie Hall, one of the most important
music halls of the United States in New York (1962) with many brazilian artists
involved, as well as the Jazz Festival in Rio de Janeiro (1961) with U.S. musicians
(American Jazz Festival, Dizzy Gillespie, Coleman Hawkins, Zoot Sims and many
others).

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In this context a particular place in Rio de Janeiro was the melting pot for this fusion
between the two music worlds. The legendary street called Beco das Garrafas in
Copacabana was the place where four important bars with live music were
situated: Bottles Bar, Ma Griffe, Baccarat and Little Club. The bars were crowded
throughout the week with an audience eager to enjoy this new music movent. In
this sense the Beco das Garrafas could be associated with the 52 street in New York,
that in the 40's was the melting pot of jazz in the United States. It was in that period
and especially in the ambience of Beco das Garrafas that the piano-double bassdrums trios began to take form and consolidate the brazilian jazz.
Among the many groups its important to mention the Tamba Trio with Luiz Ea
piano, Bebeto Castilho double bass and Helcio Milito drums, Sambalano Trio
(formed in Sao Paulo) with Cesar Camargo Mariano piano, Humberto Claiber double
bass and Airto Moreira drums, Milton Banana Trio with many formations with one
of the most important consisting in Joo Donato on piano and Tio Neto on bass.
Milton Banana was considered the inventor of the bossa nova on drums. Another
very important group from that time was formed in So Paulo, the Zimbo trio,
which is still active until nowadays. The group originally consisted of Amilton
Godoy piano, Luiz Chaves double bass and Rubinho drums.

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3.4 Elis Regina and Luizo Maia


The combination Elis Regina and Luizo Maia can be considered as a turning point
in terms of how to approach the samba/bossa nova on bass playing. Its important
to mention here about the singer Elis Regina that in 1960 she was hired by Radio
Gaucho (a radio from the state where she was born, Rio Grande do Sul). In 1960 she
travelled to Rio de Janeiro where she recorded her first albun: Viva a Brotolandia.
In 1964, a year with a busy schedule of shows in Rio de Janeiro and So Paulo, she
signed a contract with the Rio TV program to participate in the Rio Nights Gala.
(Regina Echeverria: 1994). Later she was asked by the drummer Dom Um Romo to
sing in the famous bar of Beco das Garrafas where she probably met the
revolutionary bass player Luizo Maia.
About Luizo Maia: his carrer began in 1964 playing the double bass in the Rio
Samba Trio. At that time, he accompanied artists such as Tania Maria and Nelson
Ukulele and had a steady job as a studio musician despite his young age (he was 15
years old in 1964). Luizo switched later to the electric bass as his main instrument
in 1966 when he joined the group Formula 7. In 1968, he made part of the band A
Brazuca with whom he performed in many concerts and music festivals.
(In: http://www.dicionariompb.com.br)
In demand as a studio musician, he was invited to accompany Elis Regina with
whom had played for 13 years.

13

Together with piano player Cesar Camargo Mariano and drummer Paulo Braga, they
formed one of the most innovative rhythm section in brazilian music. With the
electric bass, Luizo Maia gave a whole new approach to the samba groove.
Until Luizo Maia, the bass players generally would construct the bass lines using
the root of the chord in the first beat and the lower 5th in the second and stronger
beat, given the bass line, the surdo felling. With the electric bass Luizo Maia starts
to add a ghost note in the last 16th of the first beat and strongly laying the 5th on the
second beat. This would give even a more heavy accent on this second beat. Luizo
Maia also would give this second beat a more layed back felling consequently given
the groove a fatter sound. Another important feature of Luizo Maia was the
adding of the rhythmical figures of the surdo de terceira in his bass lines. As
explained in chapter 2.2 the surdo de primeira figure can be related with the
second note that the bass player would play, the lower 5th of the chord, which acts
as the stronger beat. The surdo de segunda figure would relate to the root of the
chord, played in the first beat. On top of that Luizo would eventually add some
sincopations in his lines that could be related to the surdo de terceira figure, the one
that cuts the other two and is responsible for filling the empty spaces in between
the two surdos. For this particular reason Luizo was the turning point for the
brazilian samba groove for the bass.

Luizo Maia groove in the song Na Boca do Beco - Djavan (1976)


In the bar 5 we can notice the use of ghost notes in the line
In the bar 8 we have a variation on the beat 1. related to the Surdo de Terceira

14

's

During the 70 Luizo continued to record and play with many artists such as Tom
Jobim, Elizeth Cardoso, Cartola, Luiz Gonzaga, Nara Leo, Gal Costa, Maria Bethania,
Gilberto Gil, Joo Bosco, Caetano Veloso, Chico Buarque, Rosa Passos, and also
international artists as Lee Ritenour, Toots Thielemans, George Benson, Wayne Shorter,
Janis Joplin and many others.
Luizo also was responsible for the foundation of an important brazilian jazz's
's
fusion group in the late 80 , the band Banzai with Paulo Braga on drums. In the 90
he moved to Japan were he had a serious healthy problem that made the
movement of his right arm impossible. Even with his arm paralyzed, he continues
to play using a right hand tapping technique. Unfortunatly, Luizo Maia died in
2005, January, 28, from a stroke at the age of 55. He was so representative for the
history of brazilian bass as Jaco Pastorius was for the history of the modern electric
bass.

15

3.5 Djavan Luizo Maia, Sizo Machado


Another important impact for the approach of bass playing within the samba was
Sururu de Capote, the band that accompanied the singer Djavan.
Djavan was born in a poor family at january 27th 1949 in Macei, Alagoas. In the age
of 18 he formed the group Luz, Som, Dimenso and started to play in night clubs of
his city. Autodidact, Djavan moves to Rio de Janeiro to try his life as a musician
recording songs of other artists (Dorival Caymmi, Toquinho, Vincius de Moraes and
others) for television novels. (In: http://www.dicionariompb.com.br).
In 1976 he recorded his first album with originals: A voz, o violo e a arte de Djavan. In
the year after he signed a contract with EMI-Odeon where he recorded three
important albums: Djavan (1978), Alumbramento (1980) and Seduzir (1981).
In his first CD Luizo Maia was responsible for all the bass lines in the songs. It is
interesting to listen here that Maia's bass lines have a more funk-approach, as
noticible in the song Nereci.
From the album Seduzir, Djavan is accompanied by another innovative rhythm
section; the band called Sururu de Capote formed by drummer To Lima, piano
player Luis Avellar and perhaps the most important electric bass player in terms of
brazilian grooves after Luizo Maia, Sizo Machado.
Strongly influenced by the afro-american music from the 70's, especially the funk,
the compositions of Djavan could give musicians a lot of space for improvised lines
full of syncopations and cross rhythms like samba funk, partido alto, samba de morro
and many more. In this context Sizo Machado would add some new colors to
the samba bass lines: harmonics, double stops, slap and the use of a greater extension of
the bass guitar to create some counter-melodies and fills during the groove, and of
course the use of ghost notes as created by Luizo Maia. This can be clearly heard
especially in the first song of the album Alumbramento: Tem boi na Linha; and the
song Pedro Brasil in the Seduzir album.
Another great inovation that Sizo Machado brought to this groove was the use of
the 5 string bass. With the lower B string, Sizo could give an even fatter sound to
the groove by playing that string as the 5th of a particular chord in the second beat.

16

Sizo Machado - bass line in the song Tem Boi na Linha


We can notice here a much more complex bass line than the previous bass player, Luizo Maia.
In almost every bar Sizo use variations related to the surdo de terceira and many
fills going to the righ register of the instrument as we can verify in the bars 3 and 18.
The groove gets more uniform from the bar 25 but still with some fills relatead to the
Surdo de Terceira.

17

3.6 The 80

's

Nico Assuno, Arthur Maia and the Brazilian Fusion

From the end of the 70's and during the 80's, the brazilian music got strongly
influenced by the north american music again, specially from styles like the funk
and the jazz fusion. In a certain way the 80's was a decade that brought the jazz music
into a broader perspective (for example larger festivals and a bigger audience).
In terms of bass playing, Jaco Pastorius with Weather Report, began to lead a world
revolution that would change the direction of the bass instrument for ever,
through his virtuous playing and his solos. His playing influenced especially two
remarkable Brazilian bassists; Nico Assumpo and Arthur Maia. They were
integrated members in two of the most important Brazilian fusion groups from the
80's; High Life and Cama de Gato.
3.6.1 Nico Assumpo
Antonio Alvaro Neto Assumpo was born in the city of So Paulo in August 13th,
1954. His father, a middle-class industrial and jazz lover, played acoustic bass as a
amateur musician. In the home of his family, music has always been present, being
jazz the major passion of Nico's father, who used to buy imported records.
At the age of nine, Nico has learned to play guitar through lessons he took with the
musician Paulinho Nogueira. At the age of 13 he switched from the guitar to the
electric and acoustic bass and started his studies with Luiz Chaves from Zimbo Trio.
Some time later, Nico was invited to give lessons for both instruments in the same
school he had attended.
(In: http://www.nicoassumpcao.com.br/).
In 1976, age 22, he moved to New York to get more in contact with the jazz music
scene. He joined the group of the piano player Don Salvador and saxophonist
Charlie Rouse which gave him the opportunity to play with important jazz
musicians such as Fred Hersh, Steve Slagle, Victor Lewis, Billy Cobhan, Joe Diorio,
Eliane Elias, Pat Metheny, Joe Henderson, Lee Konitz and others, later on.
Back in Brazil in 1981 Nico was the first Brazilian bassist to record a solo CD (Nico
Assumpo Independent Label).

18

In 1982, while living in Rio de Janeiro, he had become the most demanded bass
player of the scene. In 1985 he formed the group High Life, which became one of the
's
most successful Brazilian fusion groups of the 80 , with its members Ricardo
Silveira (guitar), the drummer Carlos Bala, piano player Luiz Avellar and north
american saxophonist Steve Slagle. Even though they just recorded one album, this
group and its songs had an important impact and is still a strong reference point in
terms of bass playing nowadays. With fast and clean licks, melodical solos and a
strong groove combining the solidity of Luizo Maia and with the
ghost/sixteen/funk of Jaco Pastorius approach, Nico Assumpo is still considered
nowdays as the most virtuous player that Brazil ever had and one of the greatest in
the world, on the electric and the double bass.
On top of that, Nico Assumpo was the first Brazilian bassist to adopt the 6 string
bass guitar playing breathless solos, fills and using very often the bass as a guitar,
playing chords to accompany other musicians (this can be clearly observed in the
great duo album with guitar player Marco Pereira Duo Brasil). Nico was a well
know and very active bass player in the movement of Brazilian fusion and jazz, but
it was with the singer song-writter Joo Bosco that he achieved the high point of his
carrier as a bass player. With a great variety of rhythms in his songs, Joo Bosco
gave Nico Assumpo the liberty to play the way he wanted which gave the bass
player the opportunity to create historical bass lines in the brazilian music. Two
good examples of this can be listened clearly in the album Zona de Fronteira in the
songs Trem Bala and Holofotes.
's

's

During the 80 and 90 Nico Assumpo recorded in more than 400 albums and his
bass lines can be heard in the songs of almost all the important names of Brazilian
music in this period: Toninho Horta, Lo Gandelman, Csar Camargo Mariano, Nelson
Faria, Edu Lobo, Elis Regina, Gilberto Gil, Caetano Veloso, Maria Bethania, Simone, Ivan
Lins, just to name a few.
th
Unfortunatly Nico Assumpo died at the young age of 47 at january, the 20 ,2001
as a victim of cancer.

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3.6.2 Arthur Maia


Arthur Maia was born in Rio de Janeiro, April 9th, 1963. He is the nephew of the
great Luizo Maia with whom he had learned the basics of the electric bass.
(In: http://www.dicionariompb.com.br/).
Together with Nico Assumpo, Arthur Maia was one of the inovators for bass
playing in the Brazilian fusion movement. He was a member of a very important
band during the 80's, the group Cama de Gato together with drummer Paschoal
Meirelles, piano player Rique Pantoja and saxophonist Mauro Senise. The group is
still active until nowdays but with different musicians.
Similar to Nico Assumpo, Arthur Maia (also influenced by Jaco Pastorius) used
the bass as a front-soloist instrument in the brazilian music and he was the pioneer
in using the fretless bass in Brazil. Even being a great soloist and very advanced
technically, Arthur didn't bring the exection of the instrument to it limits as Nico
Assumpo did. He developed what we could call a more pop vein in his playing
witch gave him the opportunity to record with artists of different styles. Arthur
developed a unique approach in Brazilian music mixing many influences like
samba-rock and pop. This is especially noticiable in his second solo album called
Planeta Musica (2002), which represents a sintesis of his bass-playing. During his
career until nowadays, Arhur Maia can be listened in albums from artists like: Luiz
Melodia, Gal Costa, Jorge Ben, Lulu Santos, Djavan, Ana Carolina, Marisa Monte,
Roberto Carlos, Seu Jorge, George Benson and many others.

20

's

3.7 The 90 Stagnation and the arising of the Commercial Samba


From the 50's until the end of the 80's, Brazil had a rich experience in terms of
making music as we could see so far. From the bossa nova period until the fusion
groups, the level of technique and execution of Brazilian music (and more specific,
the samba) was evolving in an incredible way.
During almost the whole period of the 90's, unfortunatly, the Brazilian music got in
some way, stucked. The boom of the Brazilian fusion movement with all the great
instrumental bands lasted until the beginning of the 90's when a particular music
gender exploded, opening the door for other more commercial oriented music.
The Lambada; actually a Caribbean rhythm that was sucessful in France with the
group Kaoma (who was french) and Sidney Magal (Brazilian pop singer) the
Brazilian representative of this style. In the year of 1990, Magal composed the
lambada Me Chama que eu Vou which became a huge success by being the opening
theme of the television novel Rainha da Sucata. The commercial success of lambada
made records companies invest more in commercial artists. It is interesting what
Darcio Fragoso wrote about this particular situation in his web-site about history of
Brazilian Music:
In the 90's we had an [] affirmation of corny music, depicting the social and
cultural decay of our people, manipulated by the dictatorship of the vast chain of
radio stations owned most of all by deputies and senators across the country, as it
is evidently much easier to manipulate and gain votes from ignorant people, and
the music has contributed to it; prevail the groups of Brega and Sertanejo selling
millions of records, eluding culturally the people and giving huge profits to record
labels and owners of radios and TV's. Trying to improve the cultural level of
people, only a few tv's and radios tried to maintain a reasonable level of
programming but with no success. [] the media is more concerned with showing
the gossip of artists, exploring their love lives and showing sexy photos of them.
Prevail auditorium programs are exploiting their misfortunes and encouraging
playful feelings of our people.

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Our schools at all levels, continued to increase in number and declining in quality.
All this dishonesty of our political class, culturally, educationally and socially has a
high price being paid by all of us. Talent and creativity continued to exist but
prevailed in the media and commercial interests of record companies, directing all
marketing effort for music of easy consumption. The few composers and singers
with a good level were massacred by the vast majority of mediocre artists. () in the
's
90 , came groups of pagode formed by young people from less affluent classes,
without decent means of survival, with a very little musical culture and whose
aims were only commercial success. The authentic brazilian artists had very little
's
space in the 90 .
(In: http://www.paixaoeromance.com/90decada/aber90/haber90.htm).
Even with a quite radical point of view, Fragoso could give a clear overview about
's
the music situation in 90 . In fact, great artists such as Joo Bosco, Chico Buarque,
Djavan, Maria Bethania and many others continued to record albums, but without
great exposure in the media. This had a direct reflection in the development of bass
playing within brazilian music. In some way the situation got stucked. The bass
's
's
's
players from the 60 , 70 and 80 continued to work with the great artistis, but there
was no much room to develop new approaches. During this period, Arthur Maia was
working regularly with Gilberto Gil, Nico Assumpo with Joo Bosco, Luizo
Maia had gone already to Japan and Sizo Machado continued to record with
Djavan and other artists.
In the mean time other important bass players emerged in the Brazilian music
's
scene: Marcelo Mariano, also known for his recordings with Djavan in the late 90 ,
Adriano Giffoni, Zeca Assumpo (double bass), Jorge Helder (mainly with his work
with singer Chico Buarque), Celso Pixinga and many others.
Even without a lot of popularity, the Brazilian jazz musicians continued to
produce excellent records and in this field we can give some attention to Arismar do
Espirito Santo. Multi-instrumentalist, Arismar plays besides bass; drums, guitar
and piano. Arismar is a bass player that mixed in his playing lots of influence, from
Luizo Maia to Nico Assumpo. Arismar is also responsible to develop the
tapping technic in the Brazilian music. A good and clear sintesis of his work can be
listened in his record from 1993: Arismar do Espirito Santo 10 Anos, especially in the
track Samba Novo.

22

's

But the 90 were mainly dominated by the lambada (first half) and then by the
pagode romantico groups. Wrongly named as pagode, because actually this word
means generally the place where the people used to get together to listen to samba,
eat and drink, the pagode word was adopted by the samba groups with a more
commercial direction. To clarify the term, pagode groups can be associated to the
's
North American boy bands from the end of the 90 . Generally formed by a good look
musicians and singers in the front line, the pagode groups would sing songs about
broken love and other amenities from daily life, that is how the style received its
nomination of Romantic Pagode. In this field its worth it mentioning a bass player
that was (and still is) really important for this movement: Wilson Prateado.
Besides being an excelent bass player, who gave a more pop approach to this style,
's
Prateado was responsible for the production of the main pagode groups in the 90
until nowdays.
In terms of bass playing there were no mayor developments occurring for the bass
in this style. The only difference is that with this commercial pop approach, the
bass players could play more freely inside the samba rhythm but this was nothing
new as we already have listened in the recordings of Sizo Machado with Djavan
for example.
The romantic pagode also generated a sub-gender of samba that is nowadays very
popular in Brazil, the pagode universitrio or translated into english: university
pagode. It is named like this because it was a samba that developed in the middleupper class from the society. This style has in the group Jeito Moleque one of its
greatest representative. It is important to notice that in groups like this, the pop
approach got even stronger and the mix of rhythms is sometimes so complex (from
samba, to bossa, reggae, funk, pop, hip hop) that a closer look to the bass lines of
this group can be interesting. Again, the bass playing in this style its just a crossover of many techniques and different approaches but nothing of that was not
being used before. A good example of bass playing in this style can be listened in the
album Jeito Moleque ao Vivo Me Faz Feliz from 2005, especially the track 13 Teu
Sorriso played by the session bass player Alan Daniel.

23

Alan Daniel in the song Teu Sorriso from Jeito Moleque ao Vivo (2005)
Together with all the variations that we already verify in Luizo Maia and Sizo Machado,
bass players from the pagode and samba bands from the 90s would add in their lines empty
spaces just with small fills as we can notice from the bar 13 to 29.
Also they would play more freely inside the groove as we can notice in the refrain
of the song from bar 5 (second page).

24

25

3.8 Nowadays Ney Conceio/Thiago do Espirito Santo Influences


and Tendencies
From the 90's until nowadays, the approach to play the samba music didn't have
many changes. What can be noticed in the Brazilian bassists from the new
generation is that they are following a particular tendency in terms of playing. In
one side we have the Nico Assumpo followers, reflected in the playing of Ney
Conceio (Joo Bosco bassist) and Andr Neiva (bassist of the Cama de Gato group,
the same one from Arthur Maia). Ney Conceio is a bass player that got an unique
international recognition nowadays mainly because of his great work with Joo
Bosco and also with Nosso Trio, the brazilian fusion project of guitar player Nelson
Farias. In the playing of Ney Conceio, the influence of Nico Assumpo can be
clearly heard especially by the use of the 6 strings bass guitar, the fast licks and
solos and use of chords to accompany a particular soloist. A singular difference
that can be noticed in his playing is the influence from another very well know bass
player: Richard Bona. This can be noticed in the exceeding use of sixteen ghost notes
in his groove. A good example of this can be listened in the Nosso Trio Album
Vento Bravo from 2005.

Ney Patterns - From the studio recording of the Song Estamos Ai


We can verify here the clear influence from bass players like Jaco Pastorius and Richard Bona by the
restless use of 16ths notes in his groove.

26

Another Brazilian bass player that is getting a huge projection not only in Brazil
but also abroad, especially in the U.S is the son of Arismar do Espirito Santo; Thiago
do Espirito Santo. Thiago is since a very young age playing with the best musicians
in the Brazilian jazz music scene of So Paulo and in 2005 he released his first
album, mainly with originals. Thiago is one of the few Brazilian bass players from
nowadays that brought the level of improvisation in this instrument a step further.
Strongly influenced by the improvisation language of the U.S jazz and by the
fretless bass playing of Jaco Pastorius, Thiago is creating a interesting movement in
terms of approach the bass in the Brazilian instrumental music combining many
different techniques from chords to harmonics, passing through double stops
tapping techniques and virtuous solos. Perhaps the best example to listen to it is
his first solo CD Thiago do Espirito Santo from 2005.
This year, 2012, Thiago has released another album, which is a tribute to the U.S
jazz, called The Jazz Tradition, that was recorded in United States and with the
participation of North American jazz musicians.
In the So Paulo music scene there are two bass players that are gaining certain
notoriety: Paulo Paulelli and Marcelo Mariano. Both of them are getting big
recognition (even being in the music scene for already sometime) for their
recordings especially with the guitar player and composer Chico Pinheiro. Chico is
one of the representatives of the new generation of the Brazilian jazz and is gaining
a lot of success inside Brazil and also in Europe, Asia and in the U.S. Combining
many elements of the brazilian music with pop, funk and jazz, the songs of Chico
Pinheiro gave the room for his two bass players to mix many influences in their
playing. It is interesting to notice the difference in the playing between the two
bass players. Marcelo Mariano has a more funky and pop approach in the songs
featuring the electric bass and Paulo Paulelli has a more jazzy approach in the
songs featuring the double bass. A good example to be listened is the last album of
Chico Pinheiro, released in 2011 There is A Storm Inside featuring both bass players.

27

In some tracks they are even playing simultaneously as in the song Boca de Siri.
Besides Chico Pinheiro, Marcelo Mariano was already performing in some Djavan
's
records from the 90 like Novena and others. Paulo Paulelli worked for many years
with another great Brazilian singer, Rosa Passos. He also was a member of one of
the most important Brazilian jazz groups from nowadays: Trio Corrente together
with drummer Edu Ribeiro and piano player Fabio Torres, both also members of
Chico Pinheiro group.
In the instrumental scene of Rio de Janeiro the bass player Andr Vasconcellos is
getting more and more notoriety. He is member of one of the most innovative
Brazilian jazz from the new generation Brasilianos, led by mandolin player
Hamilton de Holanda. Also living in Rio de Janeiro but from the south of Brazil is
Guto Wirtt, a double bass player from the new generation that is getting some
notoriety due his partnership with the virtuous guitar player Yamandu Costa.
The list of good bass players that is nowadays in intensively active in Brazil is
huge. With the arrival of new technologies and the easier access to information,
more and more people are taking music seriously and going deeper in the studies
of their instruments. Further it is important to mention that the focus on this
chapter was the bass players who lived in the two major centres of the Brazilian
music: So Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, but taking the South to the North into
account, many other bass players could have entered in this list. Remarkable is the
fact that even if the technical level of playing from the bassists of nowadays has
been increasing, there wasn't any breakthrough in terms of approaching the
Brazilian samba groove as it happened with Luizo Maia, Sizo Machado or Nico
's
Assumpo since the mid 90 .

28

4 Conclusion
As the name of this thesis proposed, this was a brief overview of a history which is
constantly changing. Right now in Brazil, new artists, new composers and
specially a new generation of good instrumentalists is going out to the music scene
to make history as well.
But whats is the purpose of writing a thesis about it?
Might be better if I explain and talk about my own experience as a musician to
make it clear.
As many bass players of my generation, the first thing that had blow my mind
when I started to study brazilian rhythms was the fast and breathless grooves from
players such as Nico Assumpo and Ney Conceio. Nothing wrong with that,
nothing at all actually, but later on I found out the importance to understand from
where this players came from, from where they got the inspiration to create such
amazing bass lines in the brazilian samba groove, then I discovered Sizo
Machado and then Luizo Maia and on and on. Its comparable to get interest in
study funk bass lines starting with Jaco Pastorius licks without know something
about James Jammerson first (and the bass players that are reading this conclusion
knows what im talking about).
Music somehow for me is pretty much like food; you can eat something and just
conclude for your self that is delicious or not just by the taste, you don't need to
know what you are eating, but for sure you will taste it better if you know what is
made of, where it comes from and you can even learn how to cook yourself or
perhaps make your own recipe out of the same ingredients. In the music happens
the same, to know the tradition, the roots of something that you are doing it will
give you some permision to play with that, to mix, to cook, to change, to adapt for your
own taste, having in mind of course the main goal of the thing that you are doing;
in this case make the groove of the samba flows, feels good and organic. Ney
Conceio perhaps is a good example nowadays when is about samba groove.

29

Listening some of his recordings (specially the live ones with Joo Bosco for
example) we can notice an excess of information and for my particular taste;
sometimes too much. It's a lot of information, influencies, tendencies coming out
from a single bass line; Jaco licks, Richard Bona sound, Nico Assunpo virtuosity,
ghost notes, chords and the list goes on. However, if we notice and pay attention to
the most important element of the groove (witch is to reproduce the Surdo
pattern), is always present in his bass lines.
Some years ago I was talking with Ney Conceio after a concert and he told me
that he had learned to play samba with Joo Donato (brazilian piano player from
the generation of the brazilian jazz trios) playing almost nothing (in terms of
notes). Later on he also got into the studying/transcribing Nico Assumpo material
period, but he told me that what caught his attention were not the virtuous solos or
fills, but the heavy groove that Nico executed. Ney understood the point. He dived
into the tradition (he had fortunatly the opportunity to play with artists that made
and are still making the history of samba itself) of the samba groove and
consequently he turned himself as a point of reference nowadays in terms of
brazilian bass playing. I already had the opportunity to participate in many
workshops of great brazilian bass players; Ney Conceio, Andr Neiva, Arthur
Maia, Sizo Machado, just to name a few. Generally they talk a lot about concepts
in terms of improvisation but never about the groove. Maybe because of the fact
that being Brazilian; this (samba groove) is something that we grow up used to
listen in our houses, parties, in the streets, so we are connect with is (somehow), we
don't need to study it. I found out that this is a mistake and that's why sometimes
we take too long to go back to the roots of the samba rhythm and understand better
the function of the bass in the Brazilian samba.
This thesis for me was a good way to organize cronologically how the
development of bass in Brazilian music became what it is nowadays and also for
any bass player interested in the Brazilian samba, a good starting for explore more .
Enjoy!

30

5. Appendix
5.1 Selected Discography
In this chapter it is present the most significant records of bass players
appointed in this thesis since the brazilian-jazz period in the 50's 60's until
now days. It's interesting to listen to some early choro recordings such as Os
Oito Batutas from the great Pixinguinha to understand specially the pulse of
the 16th notes in the Brazilian music and how it is phrasing in the music context.
It's important to register here that this is just a list of recordings with the bass
players that was considered the most innovative or the ones that at certain
point of the Brazilian music history would add a new flavour to the samba
groove creating new directions follow by other bass players.
Also important to mention that all of these records in the list can be easily
downloaded from the website: http://umquetenha.org/uqt/.
Brazilian Jazz trios:
-

Tamba Trio Tamba Trio (1962) (bass player: Bebeto Castilho)


Zimbo Trio Zimbo Trio (1964) (bass player: Luz Chaves)
Milton Banana Trio V (1965) (bass player: Guara)
Sambalano Trio Sambalano Trio (1965) (bass player: Humberto Claiber)

Samba/Bossa Nova:

Elis Regina Em Pleno Vero (1970) (bass player: Luizo Maia)


Elis Regina Elis (1973) (bass player: Luizo Maia)
Elis Regina e Tom Jobim Elis e Tom (1974) (bass player: Luizo Maia)
Nara Leo - E que tudo mais v pro inferno (1978) (bass player: Luizo
Maia)
Gal Costa gua Viva (1978) (bass player: Luizo Maia)
Elis Regina Essa Mulher (1979) (bass player: Luizo Maia)
Toquinho and Vinicios de Moraes 10 anos de Toquinho e Vinicios (1979)
(bass player: Luizo Maia)
Elis Regina 13th Montreux Jazz Festival (1982) (bass player: Luizo Maia)

31

Joo Bosco Caa a Raposa (1975) (bass player: Luizo Maia)


Djavan Djavan (1978) (bass player: Luizo Maia)
Joo Bosco Linha de Passe (1979) (bass player: Luizo Maia)
Djavan Alumbramento (1980) (bass player: Sizo Machado)
Djavan Seduzir (1981) (bass player: Sizo Machado)
Batacoto Batacoto (1993) (bass player: Sizo Machado)

Brazilian Jazz/Fusion
-

Banda Black Rio Maria Fumaa (1977) (bass player: Jamil Joanes)
Banda Black Rio Gafieira Universal (1978) (bass player: Jamil Joanes)
Grupo Azymuth Light as a Feather (1979) (bass player: Alex Malheiros)
Nico Assumpo Nico Assumpo (1981) (bass player: Nico Assumpo)
Hlio Delmiro Chama (1984) (bass player: Nico Assumpo)
High Life High Life (1985) (bass player: Nico Assumpo)
Cama de Gato Cama de Gato (1986) (bass player: Arthur Maia)
Ricardo Silveira Long Distance (1987) (bass player: Nico Assumpo)
Cama de Gato Guerra Fria (1988) (bass player: Arthur Maia)
Marco Pereira e Nico Assumpo Duo Brasil (1990) (bass player: Nico
Assumpo)
Gilson Peranzzetta e Mauro Senise Vera Cruz (1992) (bass player: Arthur
Maia)

90's until Nowdays


-

Joo Bosco Bosco (1989) (bass player: Nico Assumpo)


Joo Bosco Zona de Fronteira (1991) (bass player: Nico Assumpo)
Gal Costa Gal (1992) (bass player: Marcelo Mariano)
Edu Lobo Corrupio (1993) (bass player: Nico Assumpo)
Djavan Novena (1994) (bass player: Marcelo Mariano)
Arthur Maia Sonora (1996) (bass player: Arthur Maia)

32

Arthur Maia Planeta Musica (2002) (bass player: Arthur Maia)


Arismar do Espirito Santo Dez Anos (2004) (bass player: Arismar do
Espirito Santo)
Arismar do Espirito Santo Foto Do Satelite (2005) (bass player: Thiago do
Espirito Santo)
Thiago do Espirito Santo Thiago (2005) (bass player: Thiago do Espirito
Santo)
Yamandu Costa Lida (2007) (bass player: Guto Wirtti)
Hamilton de Holanda Quinteto Brasilianos 2 (2008) (bass player: Andr
Vasconcellos)
Chico Pinheiro Meia Noite Meio Dia (2003) (bass players: Marcelo Mariano,
Paulo Paulelli)
Trio Corrente Corrente (2006) (bass player: Paulo Paulelli)
Nosso Trio Vento Bravo (2006) (bass player: Ney Conceio)
Joo Bosco Obrigado Gente Ao Vivo (2006) (bass player: Ney Conceio)
Chico Pinheiro There is A Storm Inside (2010) (bass players: Marcelo
Mariano, Paulo Paulelli)
Rosa Passos Luxo S (2011) (bass player: Paulo Paulelli)

33

5.2 Proposed Studies


In this section you will find some examples of samba bass lines constructed from an easier to a
complex rhythmic cell. All of these examples are in the chord of Cmaj7 and can be executed in any
tempo. It is important to notice how this notes works in relation to the surdo as explained in the
chapter 2.2. The variations and fills must be used carefully without break the drive of the groove.
The primary goal of the bass in the samba is to function as the Surdo the Primeira, so all the other
notes that you play around it its just to give some extra spice for the groove. Have fun!

34

5.3 Sources
Books:
Giffoni, Adriano - Musica Brasileira para Contrabaixo: demonstraes e
exerccios com ritmos brasileiros/Adriano Giffoni: coordenao de Luciano
Alves. So Paulo: Irmos Vitale, 1997
Giffoni, Adriano - Musica Brasileira para Contrabaixo II/Adriano Giffoni:
coordenao de Almir Chediak. Rio de Janeiro: Lumiar Editora, 2002
Seve, Mario - Vocabulrio do Choro/Mario Seve: coordenao de Almir Chediak.
Rio de Janeiro: Lumiar Editora, 1999
Diniz, Andr - Almanaque do Samba/Andr Diniz. Rio de Janeiro: Jorge Zahar
Editor, 2006
Castro, Rui - Chega de Saudade: A Historia e as histrias da Bossa Nova. Rui
Castro. Rio de Janeiro: Companhia de Bolso, 1990
Echevaria, Regina - Furaco Elis. Regina Echevaria. So Paulo: Editora Globo S.A,
1994
Internet:
http://www.jorgepescara.com.br/
http://www.suapesquisa.com/samba/
http://buziosbossablog.blogspot.com/2010/11/historia-do-samba-jazz.html
http://www.nicoassumpcao.com.br/
http://www.paixaoeromance.com/90decada/aber90/haber90.htm
Http://www.percussionista.com.br/instrumentos/surdo.html
http://www.dicionariompb.com.br/

35

5.4 Acknowledgments
I would like to thanks my parents for the inspiration, my girlfriend Helene for
the help with english corrections and for you that had the interest to read this
tesis.
quebra tudo!
beijo grande no corao e tudo de bom sempre!
Ti Pereira, Rotterdam 2012

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