In Memoriam: Sérgio Brandão

Sérgio Brandão

We’re sad to share that Brazilian bass great Sérgio Brandão has passed away after suffering a cardiac arrest brought on by gastric interstitial complications. He was 65 years old.

Brandão was born in Rio de Janeiro and got his start on guitar at 11, switching to acoustic bass at 17. He studied music theory at the Villa Lobos Institute and eventually moved to New York City in 1978 where he became one of the most sought-after bassists in the Brazilian and Latin scenes.

He toured and recorded with Jan Lucien, Flora Purim, and Airto Moreira through the ’80s and joined the New York Samba All-Stars in 1985 and 1986.

“In the late ’80s in the ’90s, he joined forces with Paquito D’Rivera, after which led to performances with Herbie Mann, Chico Freeman, Naná Vasconcelos, and Trilok Gurtu in Bushdance, Tania Maria and others,” a press release from his band Bossa Negra states. “His most notable achievements include being personally hired by Quincy Jones to co-produce the landmark “Juntos” album in the 1980s for Ivan Lins. The album featured major artists from both the US & Brazil including George Benson, Patti Austin, Elis Regina, Djavan, Paulinho da Viola, Beth Carvalho, Marcus Miller, and Tim Maia.”

Among Brandão’s accomplishments, he won a Latin Grammy for his work on Sergio Mendes’ “Timeless” and was awarded several Clio awards for his jingles for a Coca-Cola campaign in the 1990s.

In the months leading up to his passing, the bassist completed producing two recordings of Bossa Negra and was working on a project with Jose Gallegos called Jazzilian. Bossa Negra has stated they will continue the work of promoting Brazilian music with a new producer.

Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Sérgio Brandão.

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