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Composer, Arranger, Guitarist

Brazilian guitar virtuoso Claudio Celso has been considered in the year 2000 one of the best jazz contemporary musicians by "New Times" magazine from South Florida, and in 2006, he was listed in the world´s top 100 guitarists by Guitar Player Magazine in Brazil.

He has worked with renowned musicians in the US and Brazil such as Jaco Pastorius, Eddie Gomez, Randy Brecker, Chet Baker, Roberta Flack, Dexter Gordon, Kenny Kirkland, Marisa Monte, Larry Willis, Cecil McBee, Frank Colon, Naná Vasconcellos, Bebel Gilberto, Edison Machado, Alceu Valença, Sandra de Sá, Richie Morales, Elza Soares, Roberto Sion, Manolo Badrena, Will Lee, Tim Capello, Steve Thorton, Ted Bass, Dennis Irwin, Wayne Dockery, Zimbo Trio, Nelson Ayres, Shunzo Ono, Terumasa Hino, Lester Chambers, Calvin Hill, Buddy Williams, Paquito d’Rivera, Clifford Adam, Dom Um Romão, Gerry Brown, and producers Teo Macero, Creed Taylor, Roy Cicala and Eumir Deodato.


Claudio Celso started playing electric and acoustic guitar at the age of four. He studied classical guitar and then learned bossa nova and jazz with the eclectic guitarist and composer Paulinho Nogueira and also with his father - one of the first electric guitar players in Brazil. Later on, he studied composition and arranging in New York with Don Sebesky.

From 1974 to 1976, he played with the well-known Brazilian band "Zimbo Trio" touring throughout Brazil. He also worked with the Argentine saxophonist Hector Costita, Nelson Ayres and Hermeto Paschoal.

In 1978 he moved to New York City, where he lived until 1985 and performed with top musicians such as: Jaco Pastorius, Randy Brecker, Jorge Dalto, Kenny Kirkland, Walter Booker, Cecil McBee, Nana Vasconcellos, Richie Morales, Shunzo Uno, Terumasa Hino, Lester Chambers, Calvin Hill, Buddy Willians, Paquito D´Rivera, Clifford Adams, Guilherme Vergueiro, Raul de Souza, Laudir de Oliveira, Doum Romao and Edison Machado.

He played at Newport Jazz Festival in 1979 and at the Cool Jazz Festival in 1980, both in New York City, with saxophonist Charlie Rouse and pianist Don Salvador.

As studio musician, he participated in the recording of many albums, working for producers such as Teo Macero, Creed Taylor and Ray Cicala, including:

- “Red on Red” de Cláudio Roditi com Kenia (Greene St Records)
- “The Brazilian Beat of Guanabara” (Baystate Records)
- “Jewel Eyes” de Frank Ferrucci (Wren Records)
- “Elegia” de Lloyd McNeill (Baobab Records Co.)

From 1986 to 1989 he played with the internationally renowned trombonist Raul de Souza, touring throughout Brazil.

In 1989 he spent some time in San Francisco, leading the "Rain Forest" band, who performed at the Monterey Jazz Festival and at the "EarthDay Concert" in New York in 1990.

In 1991 he signed a contract as recording artist with Sony Music in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He also recorded 3 albums with Brazilian popular singer Sandra de Sa, Alceu Valenca and Lobao, and a music video with Marisa Monte.

In March 1995 he recorded a music video with singer Evelyn Thomas with a special appearance of Willie Nelson.

In mid 1995 he started writing for "Guitar Player" magazine and has his first instructional video entitled "Jazz Guitar" published in Brazil.

In 1997, he was invited to record with pianist Guilherme Vergueiro and the legendary Mike Stoller, from "Stoller and Liebman", composer of "Stand By Me", "Jail House Rock" and many other hits. The CD is entitled "Guilherme Vergueiro´s Amazon Moon" with the music of Mike Stoller.

In 1998, he played at the Jupiter Jazz Festival with Grupo Saoco, and at some fine jazz clubs in South Florida with his own band.

In 1999, Claudio played with his band at the River Walk Jazz Festival, MIDEM and local events, as well as Jazz Clinics for the City of Miami in Public Libraries.

In May 8, 1999, he packed a sold-out concert as the headliner at the Margaret Morrow Frizzell Amphitheater in Fort Meyers.

In 2000, Claudio joined the “Jazzberry Patch” band led by Florida´s local hero, Ben Champion, legendary saxophonist and Jaco Pastorius´ musical mentor. He also played with Arturo Sandoval and singer Evelyn Thomas at the Lincoln Theater in Miami Beach.

In 2001, his CD "Brazilian Jazz" was re-released by CW Records and MusicHaus, distributed by Universal.

In 2002, he joined the Clockwork band with saxophonist Carlos Aberoff, founder of the famous Cuban group Irakere. He also played with Nana Vasconcelos at the Miami Art Museum.

From 2002 to early 2003, he lived in Los Angeles and made his debut at the world-famous "The Baked Potato” Jazz Club with his band including Gerry Brown (Stanley Clark, Stevie Wonder), Munyungo Jackson (Miles Davis, Stevie Wonder, Sting), Mark Stevens (Stanley Clark, Seal) and Keith Jones. They also played at the African Festival of Los Angeles, World Stage of Billy Higgins.

Claudio participated in the famous world music program “Global Village” at radio KPFK, playing live some of his compositions and giving an extensive interview.

Back to Brazil, he participated in the Joinville Jazz Festival in June 2005.

Always maintaining a busy music agenda between concerts and workshops in Brazil and abroad, Claudio Celso was considered one of the top guitarists in Brazil by the Guitar Player magazine in their May 2006 issue.

In the same year, he launched his CD “Swell - A Brazilian Cool Jazz Experience”, which includes smooth and beautiful compositions with a quite modern jazzistic approach.

An interview with Claudio Celso and a complete coverage of his CD SWELL is published in the August issue of the Brazilian Guitar Player magazine.

In 2007, he was interviewed by Jo Soares at his famous TV Talk Show which averages about 4,6 million viewers in Brazil.

In 2010, he launched two CDs, "The Music of Claudio Celso" and “Surf Life”. The latter includes a new set of acoustic melodies inspired by the mood of the 70's with simple chords and of a more organic nature recorded in a most realistic way, avoiding synthetic capabilities of computer recording, making it as natural as possible. Sponsored by the City of Hollywood, Florida, Claudio had an acoustic solo performance at the "Hollywood Art Walk" project.

He also created “The Alpha Solaris Project”, a blend of musical elements ranging from Jazz to Brazilian and World Music, with musician, record producer and arranger Eumir Deodato (theme for “2001 – A Space Odissey”) as his partner on stage. Claudio says... "When I decided to move back to the US after being away in Brazil for seven years I thought... why not call my good old friends from New York, Los Angeles and Florida whom I miss so much, and my all-time idol Eumir Deodato, and put together a killer band?" And, like magic, his dream came true instantly! The Alpha Solaris Project was born... and the repertoire is part of Celso´s CDs and Deodato´s greatest hits. The band counts with drummer Gerry Brown, who has been playing and recording with Stanley Clarke, Stevie Wonder, Lionel Ritchie and Diana Ross, Frank Colon, known as one of the top three percussionists in the world and who has played with Manhattan Transfer and Brazilian superstar Milton Nascimento, bassist Pepe Aparicio, former musical director for legendary conga player Mongo Santamaria, pianist Felix Gomez, who has accompanied and recorded with Arturo Sandoval for many years, and trumpeter Stuart King, a must in the performances of Celia Cruz, Mongo Santamaria, Ira Sullivan, Jaco Pastorius, Gloria Estefan and KC and the Sunshine Band.

In 2013, under the "Rouanet Law", which allows tax payers (both persons and corporations) to make donations or sponsorships to cultural projects and get tax exemption, he received a grant from the Brazilian Ministry of Culture for a project which includes concerts and worskshops throughout Brazil, and the recording of two new CDs – Noroeste and Terral (live).

Presently, Claudio is rehearsing a brand-new composition - Suite “Axis Mundi” - with Municipal Symphony Orchestra of Santos – a concert designed for electric guitar and orchestra. This project unites both classical and contemporary music in an effort to revitalize passion and interest for symphonic instruments in young audiences all around the world.


(2013) Turno di Notte (Francesco Lattanzi) DC Records/Italy – CD
(2010) The Music of Claudio Celso (Claudio Celso) - Reverbnation - CD
(2010) Surf Life (Claudio Celso) – CDBaby - CD
(2009) Sambatuque (Salaberry) - Tum Tum Home Music - CD
(2007) Swell – A Brazilian Cool Jazz Experience (Claudio Celso) - Maritaca – CD
(1998) Amazon Moon - The Music of Mike Stoller (Guilherme Vergueiro) - CD
(1998) Padre Pio (Giacomo Piraino) – Boca Raton/Florida – CD
(1998) Brazilian Jazz by Claudio Celso (Claudio Celso) - Universal Music - CD
(1992) Raul Seixas – O Início, o Fim e o Meio (various artists) – Epic/Sony Music - CD
(1991) O Inferno é Fogo (Lobão) – BMG - LP
(1991) Lucky! (Sandra de Sá) - BMG- Ariola – LP
(1990) A Girl from Ipanema (Ana France) - Yamaha Jazz - LP
(1990) Pepê (various artists) – Fonobrás – LP
(1989) Mais (Marisa Monte) – video
(1989) Pé de Boi: Power Samba Band (Guilherme Franco) - Arcadia - LP
(1986) Vania Bastos (Vania Bastos) - Bom Tempo/Copacabana – LP
(1986) Intelligence (Intelligence) – RCA – LP
(1984) Red on Red (Claudio Roditi) - Greene St Records – LP
(1982) The Brazilian Beat of Guanabara - Baystate Records - LP
(1981) Jewel Eyes (Frank Ferrucci) – Wren Records - LP
(1980) Elegia (Lloyd McNeill) - Baobab Records Co. – LP


"What do the Jazz legends Jaco Pastorius, Chet Baker and drummer Billy Hart have in common? Answer: all of them have had the sophisticated musical help from Brazilian guitarist Claudio Celso. Claudio lived in the US for 25 years where he built his career and forged his style, a perfect fusion of impecable technique and deep jazz roots with a musical brain connected to all world music tendencies and sounds of Brazil. His CD Swell has all this and much more. Claudio´s enlightened original compositions and his version of classic pieces get real close to perfection indeed. The title song "Swell" plus the track "Tudo Azul em Monicaland" present subtle bossa nova elements, "Bye Bye Brasil" by Chico Buarque gained a fabulous be-bop version. Another Swell's nice surprise is the track "Hades" with a mysterious atmosphere and linear melody emphasizing the melodic lines of Claudio´s guitar."
— Musica Brasileira Independente, July 25, 2007, Claudio Celso - Swell, a Brazilian Cool Jazz Experience

"Claudio Celso has just launched his marvelous CD "Swell - A Brazilian Cool Jazz Experience" and his interview to Guitarra Cover Magazine has been one of the best in the magazine´s history... "
— Regis Tadeu, January 2007, Guitarra Cover Magazine

"Brazilian jazz/rock guitar superstar Claudio Celso hits town this weekend for gigs at 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Virgilio´s Lounge on Duval Street. The show will be Celso´s only appearance in North America, and features the talents of local saxophonist/flutist Marry Stonely, Puerto Rican drummer "Junito", ex Peter Tosh/Jimmy Cliff guitarist George Victory and bassist Pepe Aparicio."
— Paradise This Week, August 2004, Key West, Fl., Jazz/rock guitar sensation Celso rocks Virgilio´s

"On Sunday, February 18 from 3-5pm, RCA and Sony recording artist Claudio Celso will be here. This amazing guitarist, composer and producer has appeared at all the top jazz festivals, and has played with artists like Roberta Flack and Richie Morales from Spyro Gyra. This afternoon, he´ll introduce us to cuts from his latest CD Brazilian Jazz. Gina Martell from WTMI´s BrazzJazz will serve as emcee for the Sunday event."
— Borders February 2001 News & Local Events

"Claudio Celso will perform tonight... Saturday´s concert will feature pieces from Celso´s new CD "Brazilian Jazz", which fuses Brazilian rhythms with contemporary jazz, New Age and pop. "When you hear acoustic guitar, you think of a certain kind of music" - says Jessica Neron, the Alliance´s director of public relations. "This kind of defies a certain boundary"."
— News-Press Lifestyles, section E, May 8, 1999, Brazilian Acoustic Guitarist closes out Jazz Alliance Series

"O´Hara´s is excited to host a CD release party for Brazilian guitarist Claudio Celso and his new CD titled "Brazilian Jazz by Claudio Celso". This highly acclaimed guitar virtuoso and all-star accompanist has performed with Roberta Flack, Jaco Pastorius... and with his band at jazz festivals all over the world including the Newport Jazz Festival, the Cool Jazz Festival in New York City and the Monterey Jazz Festival. On his new CD, Claudio steps into the spotlight to display his phenomenal solo abilities with a collection of original tracks combined with traditional Brazilian favorites. Powerful, passionate and energetic, his CD is a journey into the realm of the exotic, yet exhibiting true musical class; when talent meets experience. Don´t miss his performance at O´Hara´s on Friday, Nov 13th. Claudio will also perform, courtesy of O´Hara´s, at the Hollywood Jazz Festival on Sunday, Nov. 15th at noon."
— Heat Beat Magazine, November 1998, O´Haras Jazz Cafe Newletter

"The Hollywood Jazz Fest! November 14th and 15h. features a fantastic lineup including a new guy on the scene - Claudio Celso. He is from Brazil and has a new CD out called "Brazilian Jazz by Claudio Celso"... something you heard this week on Brazilian Love Jazz. Gina´s picks: Check out the new CD from Claudio Celso. It includes some great music and I think you´ll like it! The CD´s got a kind of a Brazilian/Fusion sound to it. It´s interesting and unlike unfortunately so many local CDs I often get seems to be well produced, It´s always worth the money to do it right the first time, folks. Celso has played with some very well known musicians so I doubt he´ll stay local for too long. Check it out..."
— Gina Martell, Brazilian Love Jazz, Nov 1998

"Jazzberry Patch congratulates one of our own, renowned Brazilian Guitarist, Claudio Celso on the release of his latest album, Swell. If you've been fortunate enough to catch Claudio playing with Ben when he comes to south Florida, you surely remember his atomic "guitar chops" tempered by his sweet, Brazilian melodic ingredients."
— Friends of Jazzberry Patch, Congratulations to our friend, Claudio Celso guitarist extraordinaire

"Free, a difficult piece to perform, is a fast Baiao, a rhythm from the state of Bahia, Brazil, with Portinho and Lincoln swinging and swinging. For this piece and "Cenote" I brought in Brazilian electric guitarist Claudio Celso who claimed to be a "rock guitarist". Listen to his solos on both these tunes and for the incredible energy he brings to them. Cenote begins quietly, featuring the subtle and beautiful voice of Ilana Morillo. The piece does not remain subtle for long, and the rhythm builds and sound builds to a climatic guitar solo by Claudio Celso. Cenote is the Mayan term for well, evident in Central America. I was inspired to write "Cenote" by stories of sacrifice, worship, and the central communal nature of these sacred wells that I visited in Yucatan. Ilana's voice and Claudio's guttural guitar solo paint the extremes of this culture."
— Frank Ferruci - Music for Film and Television, CD Jewel Eyes

“Impeccable taste, refinement in every detail, perfect technique never used in vain and a permanent good mood. Claudio Celso belongs to a high class of composers and guitarists. Join his fan club. I sure did.”
--- Maestro Nelson Ayres (Pau Brasil)

“A majestic work: delicate melodies upgraded by elegant and bold improvisations”.
--- Henrique Inglez de Souza (Guitar Player Magazine)

“Congratulations on your musicality, the happiness that you bring and the groove of the band with a unique taste as usual”.
--- Rubinho Barsotti (Zimbo Trio)

“Claudio Celso is a major guitarist and his music makes you daydream with waves, surf, moonlight, summer breeze, tanned skins, a smile, the promise of a kiss... The best jazz guitarist I’ve heard in decades... Perfect marriage of musical depth and good taste”.
--- Sérgio Dias (Mutantes)

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