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Luis Eca

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Luíz Eça (born Luís Mainzi da Cunha Eça) was a great asset to Brazilian music, especially for the bossa nova movement. A highly skilled, classically trained piano player, he could just as easily go from hard and swinging to quiet and introspective, having developed an original musical vocabulary mixing Brazilian rhythmic tradition and erudite advanced harmonies. He was also strongly influenced by jazz, and could perform in the style of any jazz pianist giant, which he used to do, but only for friends, because professionally, he always had a highly distinctive voice.

He began to learn classical piano at age five. In his teens, he was already taken by jazz and was a regular at Cantina do César, the bar owned by famous radio host César de Alencar, at which Johnny Alf was breaking new ground and influencing all of the bossa nova generation. Soon, in 1953, Eça was playing at the focal point of the nascent bossa nova, the Plaza nightclub. Winning a Brazilian government scholarship to study classical music, he moved to Vienna, Austria, in 1958. Returning to Brazil, he joined the group that was backing singer Maysa and toured with them. This group also had pianist Luís Carlos Vinhas and violonista Roberto Menescal and they also backed singer Leny Andrade. In those times, he joined the group of musicians who were the modern proponents of Brazilian music that would become known as the bossa nova movement. Eça was an important inspiration and influence to the movement, due to his extraordinary piano playing and arranging skills.

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