In Brazilian jazz and Brazilian pop, Fabio Fonseca is well respected for his skills as an organist, electric keyboardist and acoustic pianist as well as for his talents as an arranger, producer, composer and engineer. The Rio de Janeiro native has worked with major Brazilian artists such as Azymuth, João Donato, singer Ithamara Koorax and the late percussionist Dom um Romão, and like those artists, he has both Brazilian and American influences. Fonseca brings a long list of influences to the table, ranging from Brazilian icons like Eumir Deodato, Azymuth (especially the piano and keyboard playing of José Roberto Bertrami), João Donato and Antonio Carlos Jobim to American jazz greats such as Charles Earland and Larry Young on the Hammond B-3 organ to George Duke, Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock on electric keyboards. Fonseca is a swinging player, but he is also decidedly lyrical, melodic and approachable--and as a producer, arranger and engineer, he clearly gets a lot of inspiration from the albums that Creed Taylor produced for his CTI label in the '70s.
Born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1961, Fonseca began studying the acoustic piano at the age of eight and added electric keyboards to his arsenal when he was in his teens. Fonseca studied European classical music as a teenager, but jazz and Brazilian music became his primary focus--and the American and Brazilian music of the '70s had a huge impact on Fonseca, who listened to everyone from Return to Forever to Stevie Wonder to Flora Purim and Airto Moreira during that decade. When Fonseca was 20 in 1981, drummer Sergio Naidin invited him to join a Rio de Janeiro-based band called Nota Vermelha (which included Leo Jaime and Fernanda Abreu, two cariocas who went on to achieve major success as solo artists). At 22, Fonseca joined the band Brylho, which included singer/guitarist Claudio Zoli. Fonseca's first full-length album as a leader, a self-titled effort, was released by WEA Brazil in 1988, and he continued to record as a leader in the '90s and 2000s--sometimes on electric keyboards, sometimes on the organ. In addition to all his work as an arranger, producer and engineer, the 2000s found Fonseca leading a cohesive trio that gave him a lot of room to stretch out on the Hammond organ; billed as The Fabio Fonseca Trio, the group also included Pedro Leão on electric bass and Mac William on drums and percussion. The Fabio Fonseca Trio's albums have included the 2002 release Tudo on Jardim Magnético and the 2006 recording Opus Samba, which Arnaldo DeSouteiro produced for his Jazz Station label in 2006. ~ Alex Henderson, Rovi