Friday, March 23, 2007

Zé Menezes

Zé Menezes (José Menezes de França, b.1921), guitarist, composer and multi-string player, began playing music as a child, and at eight he was invited by conductor Arlindo Cruz to play at cinemas as a professional. That year he wrote his first composition, "Meus Oito Anos." At 11, after playing with Cruz's orchestra, he joined the Banda Municipal de Juazeiro. After 1938, he was hired by Ceará Rádio Club as violonista (acoustic guitarist), forming his own regional group, which played for four years in that incarnation. In 1943 he was hired for Rádio Mayrink Veiga (Rio). There, Menezes had two weekly shows, where he solidified his career as a soloist. Menezes played at the Hotel Quitandinha (Petrópolis RJ) and, with the same group of people, in the group Milionários do Ritmo (in 1945). In the next year, he played at the Casablanca nightclub and was hired by Rádio Globo (Rio). Two years later, he joined Rádio Nacional (until 1960), where he formed a duo with violonista Garoto. With Luís Bittencourt as his stable partner, he had his composition "Nova Ilusão" recorded by Os Cariocas in 1948 and adopted as their theme song.

From the '40s through the '50s he recorded and performed on the radio regularly with Radamés Gnattali, in the Quarteto Continental, and later with the Quinteto Radamés. Upon the founding of TV Globo, he became its producer, arranger, and composer of soundtracks.

In 1959 Menezes formed the group Velhinhos Transviados, which recorded 13 LPs for RCA by 1971. He joined the exceptional Quinteto Radamés, which toured Europe in 1960. In 1995 he released the CD Chorinho in concert.

Above info supplied from a career profile by Alvaro Neder at AMG.

In Fábio Zanon's radio series, 'O Violão Brasileiro' at Rádio Cultura, SP, a recent program was devoted to Zé Menezes. The program may be downloaded from Zanon's blog, click here

I found a video performance by an anonymous ensemble playing a choro composition by Zé Menezes, "Encabulado"



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