Tania Maria (born May 9, 1948) is a Brazilian artist, singer, composer, bandleader and piano player, singing mostly in Portuguese or English. Her Brazilian-style music is mostly vocal, sometimes pop, often jazzy, and includes samba, bossa, Afro-Latin, pop and jazz fusion.
Born in São Luís, Maranhão, northern Brazil, Tania Maria began playing the piano at the age of seven, became a leader at the age of 13, when her band of professional musicians, organized by her father, won first prize in a local music contest and went on to play for dances, in clubs and on the radio. Her father, a metal worker and a gifted guitarist and singer, had encouraged her to study piano so that she could play in his weekend jam sessions, where she first absorbed the rhythms and melodies of samba, jazz, pop music and Brazilian chorinho. Since then, she has never worked in anyone else's group. She has a degree in law, married early and had children.
Maria's first album, Apresentamos, was released in Brazil in 1969, followed by Olha Quem Chega in 1971, but it was a move to France in the late 1970s that exploded her onto the international scene. At a concert in Australia, her formidable musical precision and freewheeling spirit caught the attention of the late American guitarist, Charlie Byrd, who recommended her to the late Carl Jefferson, founder of Concord Records.
Maria has played virtually every important jazz festival in the world and has appeared on countless television and radio programmes. She has recorded more than 25 albums and in 1985 was nominated for a Grammy Award in the category "Best Jazz Vocal Performance, Female". She has performed at venues such as the Blue Note and festivals including the Monterey Jazz Festival in '81, '83 and '89, Saratoga Jazz Festival, JVC Jazz Fest 1991, Montreux Jazz Festival, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Puerto Rico Heineken Jazzfest 2001, Malta Jazz Festival 2003 at Maltese Islands, Novosadski Jazz Festival 2004, Belgium's Jazz Middelheim 2007. She performed at the annual North Sea Jazz Festival in The Hague in 1978 and has returned there at least 10 times. She has played with such greats as Steve Gadd, Anthony Jackson, Sammy Figueroa and Eddie Gómez.
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