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Cesar Mariano & CIA

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Antônio César Camargo Mariano

Pianist, arranger, composer, and producer Cesar Camargo Mariano (São Paulo, September 19, 1943) is one of Brazil’s most celebrated and sought-after musicians. In the early ’60s, just as the bossa nova was taking its baby steps toward enchanting the world, a teenage Cesar became famous for his ability to swing and for his now-legendary left hand.

His ensembles of that era, notably Sambalanço Trio and Som Tres, are regarded as high points in Brazilian jazz; so is his 1981 album Samambaia, one of his thirty-plus instrumental albums.

Cesar’s collaborations with many of Brazil’s most important singers, notably Wilson Simonal and Elis Regina, have brought him worldwide acclaim; the historic 1973 album Elis and Tom, made with Antonio Carlos Jobim, features Cesar as arranger, pianist and musicial director. Since then, Cesar — who now lives in US — has worked with an international array of giants, from Yo-Yo Ma to Blossom Dearie; he has also composed a wealth of soundtrack music for film and TV.

On his thirteenth birthday, Cesar receives a piano from his father and starts playing by ear, never having studied music. Nine months later (June 1957), the American trombone player, Melba Liston, invites Cesar to participate in her concert at a jazz club in Rio de Janeiro, and he appears in a special program on Rio’s Globo Radio called “The Boy Prodigy Who Plays Jazz.”

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