Zé Paulo Becker (b. 1968 in Rio de Janeiro) graduated in Music at Uni-Rio and holds a Master´s degree in Guitar from UFRJ. He started his career as a classical guitar player and was awarded first prize at the Concurso Nacional Villa-Lobos (1990). In 1994 he focused his attention on Brazilian popular music and played with well-known artists like Zé Renato, Elza Soares, Armandinho, Marco Pereira, Marcos Ariel, Yamandú Costa, a.o. He is a member of the great Trio Madeira Brasil - the world famous choro ensemble thanks to Kaurismekki's documentary 'Brasileirinho, Choro In Rio' (2005). As a guitar soloist, Zé Paulo recorded the CD 'Lendas Brasileiras' (2001, reissued 2011) with 12 arrangements for guitar from Brazilian popular themes. In 2003, his CD 'Sob o Redentor' came out with his own compositions alone and more than 30 participating musicians. In 2004 and 2005 he toured Europe in concerts, and in 2006 he launched 'Um Violão na Roda de Choro' at the Biscoito Fino label. The cd was considered one of the best of the year (2006) by a Jornal do Brasil´s poll. It contains fourteen new compositions in the choro genre by Zé Paulo Becker and again includes several participating musicians - for detailed info, see Discos do Brasil, click here
I have only been listening to this cd once from a local streaming service, but it just took me a couple of minutes to find out that the contained music is marvellous and a must-have in your collection for any person addicted to top-class performance of great choro and related music, fortunately the cd is still available from online retailers, Amazon a.o. - The repertoire of the disc has 14 compositions by Zé Paulo Becker covering the wide field of music connected with the choro style. Themes like 'Choro da Miranda', 'De Pernambuco A Nazareth' and 'Endiabrado' pay hommage to past icons like Carmen Miranda, João Pernambuco, Ernesto Nazareth and Jacob do Bandolim, and contemporary performers like Laércio de Freitas ('Choro Pro Tio'), Guinga ('Althierada - Guinguinana 1' and 'Guinguiniana 2'), Egberto Gismonti & Hermeto Pascoal ('Frevo') and Rogério Souza ('Pro Rogério') also get their share. There are also pieces where the guitar is in focus like 'Serena' showcasting Zé Paulo's excellent technique and performance, and moreover a tune like 'Choro Bebop' exposing the range of inspiration involved in the project. - To give you an impression of the music I insert a couple of uploaded YouTube videos below containing tunes available on the cd. Here is first a performance of 'Choro da Miranda' from an Instrumental SESC Brasil show, recorded in 2008
From the same show as above, here is Zé Paulo's solo performance of 'Serena'
Zé Paulo Becker launched another cd in 2008, 'Pra Tudo Ficar Bem', with more compositions of his own and with guest performance by Ney Matogrosso and Zé Renato a.o. - a disc, I haven't heard yet, but certainly will be looking for. Zé Paulo is a great guitarist, who represents the best of the Brazilian tradition and definitly deserves his high ranking among the herd of great performers of his chosen instrument. - To end this, I insert yet another video from YouTube featuring Zé Paulo Becker in a roda de choro setting recorded at Festival Choro Jazz Jericoacoara 2011 - the tune played is Sivuca's
'Feira de Mangaio' - enjoy!