Sergio Brandao, the multi-talented, multi-instrumentalist, and one of the foremost bass players on the New York music scene, passed away in April of 2021. Since moving from his native Brazil to New York in 1980 he established himself as an expert on his primary instrument, the bass. The rich, lyrical and funky quality of his technique became his trademark and kept him in demand performing, recording and touring with many of the great names in jazz and Latin Music.
Born in Rio de Janeiro. Brandao began playing acoustic guitar at age 11. By 17 he switched to acoustic bass and shortly after electric bass. He attended the famous Villa Lobos Institute in Rio where he studied music theory. Spending his teens and early twenties in Rio he refined his instrument and technique while performing and recording with the likes of Joao Bosco, Ivan Lins and Johnny Alf. In 1980 Sergio made the move to New York to expand his musical knowledge and immediately became the most sought after bassist on the Brasilian and Latin scenes in New York. He was quickly picked up by some of the top names in jazz to tour and record. In 1982 he joined Jan Lucien with whom he toured and recorded before joining Flora Purim and Airto in 1984. Brandao collaborated with Flora and Airto for three years touring and recording in addition to being an integral part of the Salsa Samba All Stars in 85 & 86. This high-profile group included the likes of Jaco Pastorius, Michele Camillo, Claudio Rodito, Flora and Airto and other top names in Latin music. Brandao certainly established himself as the best in his field throughout these formative years in the U.S.
In the late 80's into 90's he joined forces with Paquito D'Rivera, after which he hooked up with Herbie Mann, Chico Freeman. DeLamar Brown, Nana Vasconcelos and Trilok Gurtu in Bushdance, Tania Maria and others.
In 1994 Brandao decided to stay put in NY and set up shop with Columbian Jose Gallegos (ex musical director for Harry Belafonte). Together they formed Gallco Enterprises, Inc. a production company specializing in soundtracks for film as well as jingles for radio and television, all with their special Latin and Brazilian flavour.