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Dom Salvador and his touch on Brazilian Music

Dom Salvador's hands helped to shape and innovate Brazilian music incorporating jazz, funk and soul. From the countryside of São Paulo to the biggest city of the world, New York, the musician was an important figure in the development of the Brazilian music.

Salvador da Silva Filho is the real name of Dom Salvador, icon of the samba-jazz.

The Brazilian pianist, composer, and arranger was born in 1938 in the city of Rio Claro, which is situated in the countryside of São Paulo state.

Salvador started playing drums at 6 years old and picked up the piano later when he was 9. He studied piano for 1 year without having one, until his siblings bought him a very simple one that allowed him to make progress in his studies. He had piano classes with two different teachers in Rio Claro and started to play professionally at the age of 12, in the Orquestra Excelsior from Mario Plurim. His teachers didn’t know that he was playing professionally in nightclubs.

Salvador moved to Sao Paulo in the year of 1961 when he was 23 years old. The singer Marita Luizi found him a job to play in the Trio Jacó E Seu Conjunto, and later he joined a group formed by Afro-Brazilians, called O Oliveira E Seus Black Boys. They recorded a few albums in the early 60s.

The year 1963 was a turning point in Salvador's career. Once, he was playing at Baiúca, a famous club at that time in Sao Paulo. Bossa Nova was groming strong, O Dom Um Romão and Flora Purim (married at that time) were at the club and asked him if he wanted to move to Rio de Janeiro to participate in Dom Um’s group, the Copa Trio. Dom accepted straight away and a few days later he had a chance to meet Jorge Ben, Sérgio Mendes, Grupo Meirelles, Paulo Moura among many others that Salvador admired.

During his time with the Copa Trio, Salvador was the first pianist to play with the quite unknown singer at the time, Elis Regina, one of the most famous singers of the MPB (Musica Popular Brasileira).

After his time with Copa Trio, Dom Salvador became part of the group Rio 65 Trio, alongside Edison Machado and Sergio Barroso. The trio wanted to increment the bossa nova style using jazz elements. The concept of a trio itself, comes from jazz and it wasn't common in Brazil at the time. Their way of playing their instruments and blending both styles was very accepted and people liked it. The trio recorded two studio albums together and in the video below you can get to know their first project, and the importance of it to the samba-jazz style, a bit deeper.

Dom Salvador played with many Brazilian singers and musicians, such as Edu Lobo, Doris Monteiro, Elizeth Cardoso, Elis Regina, Pixinguinha, and Elza Soares to name a few. With Elza, he recorded and made all arrangements for her album Elza Pede Passagem. Salvador was also Elza's music director and toured with her in 1968 in both Mexico and United States.

Dom Salvador was the in-house pianist of the record label Odeon for 5 years, between late 60s to the beginning of the 70s. His life was basically in the studios, recording every day, and not only for Odeon, but for different labels and studios as well.

In 1969, his first solo album came out, simply called 'Dom Salvador'. Important musicians such as Cassiano, Paulo César Barros, Laércio de Freitas and Durval Ferreira participated on the album. The album was produced by drummer Helcio Milito, who was living in the US prior to this album and came back influenced by Kool & the Gang, Sly & The Family Stone, James Brown and it was his suggestion that Dom should record something influenced by American funk and soul. Something that would be even more audible on his next project.

Dom Salvador's following project, called Dom Salvador e Abolição, was an idea and a concept created by Salvador in order to blend the many Brazilian styles with American funk and soul. The album Som, Sangue e Raça is a reflection of it. Musicians were mesmerized by its result, claiming that they hadn’t heard something like that before.

Salvador gave everything to Abolição, but at some point, he started getting less and less enthusiastic about it, as many members of the band started to abuse alcohol and drugs. The free-spirited experimenting with drugs at the time and influential events like Woodstock got them into it, it was sort of normal. As he was responsible for everything, he started to feel tired of it and after two years the group broke up. During that time, in 1973, Dom Salvador had a niece that was living in the US and he decided to move there, where he lives and performs until this very day.

If you want to know what happened next, please join us to watch the Dutch premiere of the documentary 'DOM SALVADOR & THE ABOLITION' at Melkweg on Wednesday, Nov 16th.


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