José Roberto Bertrami was best known as the keyboardist with the group Azymuth, but he also carved out a substantial career as a sideman and solo artist away from the band. Born February 21, 1946, in the Tatui district of São Paulo, Brazil, he was classically trained but gravitated toward the music of jazz pianist Bill Evans. The keyboardist for the combo Tamba 4, Luíz Eça, was a mentor and influence closer to home. Initially, Bertrami worked with Flora Purim and Robertinho Silva before meeting drummer Ivan Conti at a bowling alley, and they recruited bassist Alex Malheiros to form Azymuth (whose members, as it turned out, were all born in 1946). While also recording in the music studios of Rio, Azymuth were a working band from 1977 to 1988, touring with Airto Moreira and Purim, as well as on their own. Over time, they built a discography of some 40 albums, but Bertrami split from the group in 1988, and Azymuth carried on with Jota Moraes. Reuniting with Azymuth in the early '90s, Bertrami played with the ensemble only occasionally while he forged his solo career. He worked with a number of major artists, including Elis Regina, Eddie Palmieri, Marcos Valle, Jorge Ben, Sarah Vaughan, Jim Capaldi, Milton Nascimento, Toninho Horta, Mark Murphy, Vinícius de Moraes, Ithamara Koorax, and Chico Buarque. As a leader, Bertrami made several recordings, going back to 1965 with Trio, The Organ Sound in 1970, Blue Wave in 1983, Dreams Are Real in 1990, Things Are Different in 2001, and Aventura in 2009. He passed away on July 8, 2012. His son Victor Bertrami is an aspiring world fusion musician. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi