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Leo Gandelman

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  • Years Active: 1990s, 2000s


Biography All Music Guide

All Music Guide:

Leo Gandelman has been singled out for his successful instrumental pop performances on top of brass arrangements and Brazilian percussion, both within Brazil and abroad (he presently lives in the U.S.). Along with his own work as an instrumentalist, he has produced albums such as Gal Costa's Plural and Marina's Virgem. As a composer he also has written soundtracks for major TV soap operas and series and films. He has performed in such festivals as the Free Jazz Festival and the Hollywood Rock (both in Brazil), and the Montreux Festival (Switzerland). Gandelman also was the winner of the newspaper Jornal do Brasil (Rio de Janeiro) poll as the most popular instrumental artist for 15 years in a row. Born in Rio de Janeiro, Gandelman, initiated by his mother, the concert pianist Salomea Gandelman, and by his father, the conductor Henrique Gandelman, was influenced by European classical music. At 15, he performed as a flute soloist ahead of the Orquestra Sinfônica Brasileira. He also studied viola da gamba, having being a member of the Pró Arte Antiqua group. At 16, he abandoned music, tired of the tyrannical routine of classical studies, and decided to become a photographer. He only returned to music three years later, already as a saxophonist. Attending Boston's Berklee College, Gandelman furthered studies on saxophone, composition, and arrangements. Returning to Brazil upon graduation, in 1979, he quickly became a busy session man (having participated in the recording of 600 albums during ten years), and formed his first group, Avenida Brasil, with Serginho Trombone, Bidinho, and Zé (trumpets). In 1984, he wrote the soundtrack to the film Rádio Pirata (Lael Rodrigues). His first solo album, Leo Gandelman (1987), had a smash hit with "A Ilha" (with William Magalhães). Solar (1990), the third one, sold 70,000 copies -- not bad for an instrumental title in Brazil. Western World (American reissue of his second album, Ocidente [1988]) was considered the best progressive music album in the U.S.