Artist Profiles: Paulo Moura

Paulo Moura and Cliff Korman

A legend of Brazilian instrumental music for half a century, clarinet and saxophone virtuoso Paulo Moura was the first Brazilian instrumentalist to be honored with the Latin Grammy (2000) for the Brazilian release of the CD “Paulo Moura e Os Oito Batutas”.

Paulo Moura was born July 15, 1932in Brazil. The youngest of ten siblings, he grew up in a working class Afro-Brazilian family in a small city in Brazil. Paulo Moura began playing as a child in his father’s band and by age 19 appeared as soloist with the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra, playing Weber’s Concertino for Clarinet and Orchestra.

;However his devotion to classical music was accompanied from the very beginning by a profound passion and understanding of the popular tradition of his country. While he was learning harmony, counterpoint and fugue in private classes, he would play pop music at the neighborhood gafieira (dance hall). Out of this mixture emerged a style that shows a complexity of elements: his Afro-Brazilian origins, the pop music of the poorer classes of Rio, his experience during the golden age of Radio Nacional and his “higher education” as a first clarinetist of the Municipal Theater’s Orchestra.

His international career as a soloist started in 1953 in Mexico playing with Ari Barroso, the famous Brazilian composer. And since his acclaimed performance at Carnegie Hall in 1962, he was frequently invited to play in the US, Great Britain, Japan, Africa, Germany, Switzerland, Holland, Greece, Argentina, and France. His recordings have been released in the US, France, and Japan, and he made appearances in music festivals in the US, France, Switzerland (Montreux), Rio de Janeiro (Free Jazz), and Germany. He taught as a visiting professor, along with Karl Berger, at the World Music School in Woodstock, as well as at the Zurich Festival where he held a Brazilian music workshop.

He was a highly influential force in Brazilian popular music, teaching music theory and being the arranger of albums by Elis Regina and Milton Nascimento. His 1976 solo album Confusão Urbana, Suburbana e Rural, is considered a masterful tour through landscapes of modern and traditional Brazilian music. His career as a composer and conductor also included several symphonic pieces. Major public presentations were in 1988 the commemoration of the Centennial of Abolition of Slavery in Brazil, featuring the National Symphonic Orchestra, and in 1992 the inaugural piece for the world conference ECO92 that included a choir of 120 public school children.

Because of his artistic prominence Mr. Moura held several public positions: Director of the Museum of Image and Sound in Rio de Janeiro (1997-99), and member of the Municipal Council for the arts (1997-99).

In 2000, Moura composed and performed the Urban Fantasy for Alto sax and Orchestra for the centennial of the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation. He was featured in the film “Villa-Lobos: A Passion” for which he also arranged and performed the soundtrack. And he performed in a 19-concert tour in Japan with the singer Joyce.

Paulo Moura died July 12, 2010.


Moto Perpétuo (Chantecler, 1956)
Sweet Sax (RCA Victor, 1957)
Escolha e Dance com Paulo Moura (Sinter Discos, 1959)
Paulo Moura Interpreta Radamés Gnatalli (Continental, 1960)
Tangos e Boleros (Chantecler, 1962)
Cannonball’s Bossa Nova (1962)
Do the Bossa Nova, with Herbie Mann, Latin Fever (1962)
Paulo Moura e Quarteto (Equipe, 1968)
Paulo Moura e Hecteto: Mensagem (Equipe, 1969)
Paulo Moura e Hecteto: Fibra (Equipe, 1970)
Pilantocracia (Equipe, 1971)
Confusão Urbana, Suburbana e Rural (RCA Victor, 1976)
Concertão (Kuarup, 1981)
Paulo Moura e Clara Sverner (Odeon, 1983)
Mistura e Manda (Kuarup, 1984)
Vou Vivendo (Kuarup, 1986)
Gafieira Etc. e Tal (Kuarup, 1986)
Paulo Moura e Clara Sverner Interpretam Pixinguinha (CBS, 1988)
Quarteto Negro: Paulo Moura, Jorge Degas, Zezé Mota e Djalma Corrêa (Kuarup, 1988)
Paulo Moura Interpreta Dorival Caymmi. Chorus, 1991.
Rio Nocturne. Messidor, 1992.
Dois Irmãos, with Raphael Rabello (Milestone Records, 1992)
Paulo Moura e Wagner Tiso (Tom Brasil, 1996)
Paulo Moura e Os Batutas (Rob Digital, 1997)
Mood Ingenuo, with Cliff Korman duo (Jazzheads, 1999)
Paulo Moura visita Jobim e Gershwin (Pau Brasil, 2000)
K-Ximblues (Rob Digital, 2002)
Estação Leopoldina (MecBR, 2003)
El Negro del blanco (Biscoito Fino, 2004)
Fruto Maduro, with André Sachs (Biscoito Fino 2012)

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites and Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.


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