Brazilian Matta Walks His Bass Into a New CD

Nilson Matta’s name has been associated with Trio da Paz for a long time. Together with Duduka da Fonseca and Romero Lubambo, Nilson has played in the best places in New York. and the trio is about to start recording its 6th CD. But this is not the only Nilson Matta known.

Considered by many one of Brazil’s best bass players, Nilson arrived in New York in 1985 and is one of the most requested bass players of the top US musicians.

A student of Sandrino Santoro, Brazil’s premier classical bass player, at the University of Rio de Janeiro, Nilson has played with João Gilberto, Hermeto Pascoal, MPB 4, Nivaldo Ornelas, Hélio Delmiro, Leny Andrade, Nana Caymmi, João Bosco, Chico Buarque, Johnny Alf, Luis Bonfá, and many others.

In 1983 Nilson went to Japan to perform with Lisa Ono, with whom he travelled for six months promoting Brazilian music. In Brazil, with Pascoal Meireles, Nilson founded the fusion band Cama de Gato.

He has performed and recorded with top musicians like Joe Henderson, Gato Barbieri, Paquito D’Rivera, Toots Thielmanns, Al Jarreau, Herbie Mann, Leni Andrade, Oscar Castro Neves, Kenny Barron, David Murray, Slide Hampton, Randy Brecker and Yo Yo Ma, with whom he toured for two years.

About his influence, Nilson likes to say that his greatest influence is music itself. And he says that American, Brazilian and Cuban music form the basis for any good musician, because "they have it all, the fundamental of music, good melody, harmony and incredible rhythms."   

It all started with João Bosco and Rosa Passos. The idea for a CD was born, bringing Nilson and friends he had been playing with together. Then Tony Spaneo, from Blue Toucan Music liked the idea and production followed naturally. With João and Rosa, Nilson recorded in New York. Then there came Ivan Lins, Joyce, and Nilson Matta’s Walking His Bass became a reality.

And he explains the title: "Bass players are always seen carrying their big instrument, impossible not to notice them, all over the streets of Manhattan." According to Nilson, in his case, this is a mere illusion, and he explains: "I’m not the one who carries my bass, in fact my bass carries me, because it is the music we make what carries me through life."

Nilson goes on to say that this CD pays a tribute to the trail he took throughout his life as a musician, featuring some of his top favorite songs with some of his best friends.

To purchase the CD, go to bluetoucanmusic.com. You can book Matta writing to nilsonmatta@aol.com.

Clara Angelica Porto is a Brazilian bilingual journalist living in New York.  She went to school in Brazil and at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.  Clara is presently working as the English writer for The Brasilians, a monthly newspaper in Manhattan.  Comments welcome at clara.angelica@gmail.com.

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