Moacir Santos has just been awarded the prestigious Shell Music Award for 2006 in his homeland of Brazil.
The jury, which was composed of journalists from O Globo and the Folha de Sao Paulo and three musicians –Vittor Santos, Herminio Bello de Carvalho, and Fernando Abreu – unanimously, chose Santos, citing both the status of his work as a composer and arranger and the significant role he has played in Brazilian music education. Bello de Carvalho says that Moacir is “a musician, a composer, a professor, and above all, a master for a generation.”
“Adventure Music congratulates our friend and colleague Moacir Santos on winning this year’s Shell award,” says Adventure Music President Richard Zirinksy, Jr. “We are both honored and proud to have Moacir and several of his exceptional works as part of our growing catalog of music from Brazil. The entire Adventure family wishes Moacir a very happy and healthy birthday later this week and we hope many more to come”.The timing of the award is most appropriate, as Santos is set to celebrate his 80th birthday on July 26th. From Los Angeles, where he has made his home since 1967, Santos said, “It seems like a dream, but I know it’s a reality.” Producer
Mario Adnet, who with his partner Ze Nogueira were responsible for reintroducing the saxophonist/arranger/maestro and composer to Brazil with 2001’s Ouro Negro, and Choros & Alegria in 2005, affirms that the award “crowns Moacir’s rediscovery.”
For Ze Noguiera, the Shell award is important because it positions Santos among such acclaimed masters of Brazilian Popular Music (known as MPB) as Chico Buarque, Dori Caymmi, and Antonio Carlos Jobim (Tom Jobim). “Besides giving him a present for turning
80, the news ennobles Brazilian music because Moacir’s work has a more intellectual profile. People are just realizing this now.”
Moacir Santos is regarded as a walking encyclopedia in the realm of Brazilian instrumental music. Many of the musicians who have come to exemplify Brazilian music to US audiences, such as Dori Caymmi and Sergio Mendes have cited his influence. The late Brazilian guitar ace Baden Powell was Moacir’s pupil, and revered his master on the song “Samba da Benção.”
Santos gained status as an arranger while working on the radio in Brazil in the 1950s. According to Santos, one of his most important works in Brazil was the soundtrack he wrote for the movie “Amor no Pacifico (Love in the Pacific),” which opened the doors for him to both the Brazilian and international markets, and eventually prompted his move to the United States in 1967. In the US, he recorded four solo albums, three of them for the renowned jazz label Blue Note, and one of them nominated for a Grammy Award. He also wrote soundtracks in Hollywood and taught numerous students, including Sergio Mendes.
Shell was the first private company to create an award for Brazilian music. Every year since the award was first established in 1981, the company has paid tribute to a living composer whose career as a whole has contributed to the enrichment of Brazilian popular music. The award has recognized several figures from MPB, such as Paulinho da Viola, Baden Powell, and Gilberto Gil. The winner of the 2005 award was the interpreter/composer Carlos Lyra. The 2006 Shell Music Award ceremony will take place in November of this year.
Pictured from left to right are Ze Nogueira, Moacir and Mario Adnet. Photo credit: Guto Cost].