Sérgio Luiz Brandão was a respected behind the scenes legend well known in the music industry internationally.
A music ambassador and conduit of Brazilian music outside of Brazil, he is affectionally known as the “Brazilian Jaco” credited on hundreds of landmark recordings over the last 40 years.
Sérgio died on April 2nd 2021 at around 10pm in Saquarema RJ, Brazil at Hospital Municipal Nossa Senhora de Nazareth from cardiac arrest due to complications from gastric interstitial complications. He died with his wife Zorina Rodionova by his side and lifelong friend Dolly Garcia virtually on Skype from NY.
He was cremated on April 4th 2021 at Crematório da Penitencia in Caju, Rio de Janeiro.
His most notable achievements include being personally hired by Quincy Jones to co-produce the landmark “Juntos” album in the 1980’s 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.
Born in Rio de Janeiro. Brandão began playing the acoustic guitar at age 11. By 17 he switched to acoustic bass and shortly after the electric bass. He attended the Villa Lobos Institute in Rio where he studied music theory, spending his teens and early 20s in Rio where he refined his instrument and technique whilst working with the likes of Joao Bosco, Ivan Lins and Johnny Alf.
In 1978 Sérgio moved to New York to expand his musical knowledge and immediately became the most sought after bassist on the Brazilian and Latin scenes in New York.
He was quickly picked up by some of the top names in jazz for tours and recordings. In 1982 Brandão joined Jan Lucien with whom he toured and recorded with before joining Flora Purim and Airto Moreira in 1984.
Brandão collaborated with Flora and Airto for three years touring and recording in addition to being an integral part of the New York Samba All Stars in 85 & 86. This high-profile group included the likes of Jaco Pastorius, Michel Camilo, Claudio Roditi and other top names in Latin music.
In the late 80's in the 90's 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.
In 1994 Brandão set up shop in NY with Jose Gallegos from Colombia, together they formed Gallco Enterprises, Inc. a production company specialising in soundtracks for film as well as jingles for radio and television, all with their special Latin and Brazilian flavour. Their clients included the likes of Coca-Cola, McDonalds, Kent Cigarettes and Chemical Bank among others.
As an ambassador of Brazilian culture, Brandão has witnessed major world events and contributed to promoting Brazilian music internationally throughout the last 4 decades. He was gigging in Berlin when the wall fell, represented Brazil at the World Expo Shanghai with Bossa Negra in 2010 and became one of the first Brazilian musicians to tour Russia after the fall of the USSR with pianist Andrei Kondakov in which their collaboration continued until his death.
Brandão has performed in all sorts of venues and audiences around the world including performing with US president Bill Clinton on Saxophone during an impromptu performance during the late 1990s. He also was invited to Beijing in 2017 to perform for the Brazilian president Michel Temer and the prime minister of China Li Keqiang during a joint cultural event.
In the months leading up to his death, he has just completed producing 2 recordings for Bossa Negra and was in the middle of finishing a project with longtime collaborator Jose Gallegos called Jazzilian.
According to lifetime friend and music collaborator, singer Barbara Mendes stated that he had just celebrated his 65th birthday on the 16th of March 2021 and that Brandão felt he was happy to be celebrating his birthday.