(José Carlos Batista dos Santos)

Ze Carlos is a guitarist, composer, and musical arranger born in the blue-collar neighborhood of São Cristóvão, located in an old section of the city of Rio de Janeiro.

Ze Carlos began his career as a professional musician around the late-1960's,  performing in ballrooms with famous bands of the time. He played with the bands "Lafayete e seu Conjunto," "Dom Salvador e Abolição," and with "Banda Veneno," conducted by Maestro Erlon Chaves. With Dom Salvador, who currently lives in the U.S., he recorded “Som, Sangue e Raça” [Sound, Blood and Race,] a memorable collection of songs written by numerous, acclaimed Brazilian composers. This classic album is revered to this day, and served as a kind of embryo to the "Black Rio Movement," a pillar of Rio de Janeiro's funk music trend.  During that time, Zé Carlos also participated in TV shows and festivals, such as the National and International Song Festival.

In the meantime, Ze Carlos continued studying classic guitar, which landed him a prominent position at Globo television network's music department. During this tenure, Zé Carlos occasionally composed soundtrack music for primetime soap operas and high-profile television shows.

As his musical career took off, Ze Carlos became a sought-after musician  on the recording studio scene, where he lent his talent participating in the recordings of albums by renowned Brazilian artists, such as vocalists Elza Soares , Emílio Santiago, Nara Leão [the Bossa Nova muse,]  Sivuca, Antonio Adolfo, Clara Nunes, Chico Buarque, Daniela Mercury, Ney Matogrosso, Alcione, Martinho da Vila, Simone, Leny de Andrade, Azymuth, Ivan Lins, and last but not least, Roberto Carlos, with whom he toured Europe and the U.S. for eight years.

Recently, he has participated in the recordings of American singer Dionne Warwick and also in the national and international versions of the Pocahontas soundtrack.

For about five years, Ze Carlos has played with the internationally renowned singer and composer Ivan Lins in concerts in Brazil and abroad. Zé Carlos travels to Japan, Europe, and the U.S. on a yearly basis to perform at the Blue Note jazz club in New York and in Tokyo. In Europe and in the U.S., he has performed in the most prestigious Jazz Festivals, such as the North Sea Jazz Festival in The Hague, in The Netherlands, Jazz à Vienne in France, the Pescara Jazz Festival in Italy, the International Istanbul Jazz Festival, in Turkey, the Royal Festival Hall in London, the UK, The Sixth International Jazz  Festival in San Javier, in Spain, The Canaries Jazz & Más Festival also in Spain, the Monterey Jazz Festival, the Jazz Festival at the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild, the Begins In The Morning Festival in the U.S., the 22nd Edition of the Cuba International Festival, and the 2005 Riviera Maya Jazz Festival in Cancún, Mexico.

In addition to his collaborative work with other artists, he has been dedicating his time to his own work and compositions.  In 1992, along with pianist Fernando Merlino and bass player “Jacaré,” which is Portuguese for alligator and whose real name is Heber Calura, Ze Carlos recorded an album  with six songs of his own. The CD, named "Kabbalah" was nominated for the 1992 Sharp Award.

CD Passo a Passo

In 2000, he released "Passo a passo," [Step by Step,] a project in which he worked as composer, soloist, and musical arranger.  In this 13-track CD, ten songs were composed by himself and the other three are: "O Trenzinho do Caipira," [The Country Hick Train] by the most famous Brazilian composer, Heitor Villa Lobos (1897-1959,)  "Confins," [The Boondocks] by Ivan Lins, Aldir Blanc, and Vitor Martins, and "O Sorriso do Zé," [Zé's Smile,] a tribute to Zé Carlos made by his friend, bass player Jorjão Carvalho.  The ten songs composed by Zé Carlos reveal a significant "Brazilianism," influenced by the richness of essentially Brazilian rhythms. Samba, Chorinho, (a popular, melancholy Brazilian musical style, also known as the old Brazilian jazz, the Portuguese word “chorinho” meaning weeping,) and Ciranda (a popular dance originated in Portugal, in which a large group of people hold hands, form a large circle, going round and round to a slow, hypnotic rhythm) make up the repertoire and reflect Zé Carlos’ versatility in his approach  to Brazilian music.   Accomplished musicians and friends collaborated in the making of this project. Among them is Mauro Senise (saxophone and flute,) Cristóvão Bastos (piano,) Teo Lima (drums,) Don Chacal (percussion,) and Mestre Paulinho, who conducted a beautiful “Samba School” percussion session on the track before last titled "E Ninguém Viu" [And No One Saw Anything].

Contact information:

Phone: (55 21) 2259-8789
Fax: (55 21) 2512-2728
Cell: (55 21) 9921-2318
E-mail: zecarlosgtr@terra.com.br