|Born in São Paulo, Brazil, on September 25, 1952, Zé Eduardo Nazario has been behind the kit for more than 40 years. During all this time his name has remained at the top of the list of the most influential and renowned Brazilian drummers.
Zé Eduardo got interested in music from an early age, having started first playing the piano. By 1962, his cousin Luiz Manini introduced him to Bossa Nova and jazz, at just the time when Nazario began his elementary studies in drums and percussion. His first drum set came as a gift from his parents when he was 12 years old, and within a few months of study he set up a trio called Xangô 3, began performing on TV shows and in concerts at conservatories, universities and theaters.
During that time (1966), having become a friend of drummer Edison Machado, he started traveling regularly to Rio de Janeiro, where he met and played with great musicians. At the end of the sixties, he performed in the pianist Tenório Jr’s band at the Totem nightclub, a hotspot for talented musicians in São Paulo, where he met the percussionist Guilherme Franco, founding with him the Grupo Experimental de Percussão de São Paulo (Experimental Percussion Group of São Paulo). In 1970 Nazario recorded together with Argentinian tenor player Gato Barbieri the soundtrack for the movie "Minha Namorada" by Zelito Viana, which won a prize from the Image and Sound Museum of Guanabara (Rio de Janeiro). In 1972 he played in the Mandala group along with Roberto Sion, Nelson Ayres, Zeca Assumpção, and Luiz Roberto de Oliveira, musicians who had come back home from Berklee School of Music in the United States.
The following year, Zé Eduardo was invited to work in Minneapolis (USA), but chose to stay in Brazil to join the composer and multi-instrumentalist Hermeto Pascoal band. During his time with the band he created a kind of percussion stand known as "barraca de percussão," a structure similar to a market stand in which percussion instruments were arranged in a way that they could be played as only one instrument. With his stand and orchestra he performed Hermeto’s "Porco na Festa" at the TV Globo’s Abertura Festival in 1975, a composition whose introduction was especially written for him and with which Hermeto won the Best Arranger award from the event.
While working with Hermeto, Zé formed the Malika group together with his brother, pianist and composer Lelo Nazario, and saxophonist Hector Costita in 1974. In the same period, he appeared on the recording of the singer and songwriter Taiguara’s legendary and censored album "Ymira Tayra Ypi Taiguara," which brought together an extraordinary team of musicians.
Shortly after the Festival, Lelo Nazario and bassist Zeca Assumpção also joined the Hermeto Pascoal band, establishing with Zé Eduardo what was then known as "Paulista rhythm section" (a piano, bass and drums trio featuring musicians from the city of São Paulo, while other performers were from Rio de Janeiro), and becoming the basis of the band up to the beginning of 1977.
In a parallel work, a new sound was being developed as a result of the meeting of Zé, Lelo and Zeca, which focused on the composition of original repertoire and the creative performance, combining a great variety of timbres, electroacoustic music, Brazilian and free rhythms, as well as the structure of contemporary music. The new group premiered such a work at Morumbi Park (São Paulo) in March of that year in a performance titled "A Concert for Ian", dedicated to Zé Eduardo’s son. So the Grupo Um was born.
Also in 1977, composer Egberto Gismonti was preparing his first big tour all over Brazil, and knowing that Zé Eduardo had left Hermeto’s band, invited him to play in his group called Academia de Danças, in which he also played with Marlui Miranda, Mauro Senise and Zeca Assumpção. In the middle of the tour, they recorded Marlui’s "Olho d’Água" LP. This was then followed by the recording of Gismonti’s "Nó Caipira" album, and the performing at the 1st São Paulo Jazz Festival in 1978 (both with Gismonti and Grupo Um), and in a John McLaughlin concert tour called "Tropical Jazz Rock" in May 1979, which started in Brazil and ended in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
In September 1979, Grupo Um released " Marcha sobre a Cidade", the first independent album of instrumental music produced in Brazil, both establishing a new starting point for Zé Eduardo’s career, and opening doors for an intense instrumental music movement in the country. Grupo Um also released more two albuns: "Reflexões Sobre a Crise do Desejo" (1981) and "A Flor de Plástico Incinerada" (1983). In the meantime, he released his first solo album "Poema da Gota Serena" (1982).
Besides his work as a performer and composer, Zé Eduardo Nazario had been gathering a lot of information about drums and percussion since the beginning of his career. His enthusiasm for drumming had been inspiring so many people to join this world and look to him for advice and guidance. In the role of drumming instructor, he developed teaching methods and materials, giving several courses on percussion and creative music at Lira Paulistana and Teatro Brasileiro de Comédia (both theaters in São Paulo) from 1980 to 1983. From then on he began working as a private instructor.
Again together with Lelo he formed the Duo Nazario in 1989, performing at the 13th Guiomar Novaes Week in São João da Boa Vista along with São Paulo State Symphonic Band, as well as in a series of events such as the 10th Brazilian Contemporary Music Biennial in Rio de Janeiro in 1993.
In 1991 bassist Rodolfo Stroeter invited Zé Eduardo to replace drummer Nenê in the Pau Brasil group, where he played with him, Lelo, who already was a member of the band, guitarist Paulo Bellinati (replaced by Marlui Miranda in 1992), and saxophonist Teco Cardoso. Following a tour around Europe in 1993, Pau Brasil recorded the CD "Babel" at Rainbow Studio in Oslo, which was released three years later and won the Sharp Award 1996 for the Best Instrumental Group of the year in Brazil. "Babel" was also released in the United States in 1997 having received a Grammy nomination for Best Jazz Performance. His last concert with Pau Brasil was at the 25th International Association of Jazz Educators Conference in New York in 1998.
Another outstanding experience for Zé Eduardo was to play with Joe Zawinul at the 1994 Campos do Jordão International Winter Festival, performing Zawinul’s symphony "Stories of the Danube" together with the São Paulo Symphonic Jazz Orchestra. Because Zé Eduardo has worked for many years with Indian singer Meeta Ravindra, taking part in a great number of events for the Indian community in São Paulo, he received from the Government of India a bronze plaque as "a tribute to his talent and contribution in promoting Indian Music in Brazil," during the 50th Indian Independence Anniversary celebration in 1997.
From 1998 on, Zé has been focusing on his career as a solo artist and teacher. That same year he assembled a trio with Lelo Nazario and guitarist Felipe Avila especially to perform at the Zildjian Day Brazil. The trio called Percussônica soon built up an original repertoire and released two CDs, "Percussônica" and "Hoje," both recorded live in 1998 and 2002. Also in 1998 he produced the CD "ZEN" featuring a collection of new material and some of his greatest performings as well.
In 2005 Zé Eduardo was awarded the "Notório Saber" by the Federal University of Bahia, a honorary academic status title in recognition of his wealth of knowledge of Brazilian rhythms and music, broad teaching experience in drums and percussion, and lifelong artistic work.
In the latest years, Zé Eduardo Nazario has been working with a variety of artists among them composer Cid Campos, Felipe Avila, French composer Philippe Kadosch, and American guitarist John Stein, giving distinguished contributions to each project. Amongst many records he appears on John Stein’s "Encounterpoint" new album recorded in Boston (USA) in November 2007, when he also performed at the release concert for Stein’s "Green Street" CD at the Scullers Jazz Club, as well as played with an old friend of him, the Brazilian pianist Alfredo Cardim, at Ryles Jazz Club. During his stay in USA, he conducted clinics at the Berklee College of Music and at the Brimmer and May School, and visited the Avedis Zildjian Co. factory in Norwell, MA.
He has also been a member of Brazilian pianist Marta Karassawa’s Jazz Quintet, of German bassist Frank Herzberg’s Trio, and of vibraphonist André Juarez’s group, with whom he recorded the CD "Canja".
Em novembro de 2007 viajou aos Estados Unidos para gravar o cd "Encounterpoint" com o guitarrista norte americano John Stein. Participou do show de lançamento do cd "Green Street", do referido músico, no Scullers Jazz Club e atuou com o pianista brasileiro Alfredo Cardim no Ryles Jazz Club, tendo ainda realizado clinicas no Berklee College of Music e na Brimmer and May School.
Devido ao sucesso do cd "Encounterpoint", que figurou entre os "Top 20" mais tocados nas programações de jazz das rádios norte americanas por vários meses, tendo sido também escolhido como um dos 10 melhores cd's de jazz do ano de 2008 pelo jornal "Tribuna da Imprensa" do Rio de Janeiro, além de farto material escrito pelos principais criticos de jazz em atividade, Zé Eduardo foi novamente convidado a ir a Boston em junho de 2009, para gravar um novo trabalho com John Stein. Visitou a famosa fábrica de pratos Zildjian, em Norwell, MA., onde foi recebido pela vice-presidente Debbie Zildjian, tendo participado de um documentário e entrevista para a TV Fox Boston, no programa "Zip Trips", enfocando a história dessa lendária fábrica, uma das mais antigas dos Estados Unidos, ligadas à tradição de "negócios de família".
Atualmente Zé Eduardo Nazario divide seu tempo entre aulas particulares, workshops, shows, gravações e projetos criativos.