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  • Writer's picturecissapaz

Influential Bassist Arthur Maia dies in Rio

My second post will be in honor of one of the greatest Brazilian Bassists of all time, Arthur Maia.  Sadly he passed away of a heart attack last Saturday, December 15th 2018.  This hit me close to home because he was supposed to be one of the two producers of my next album.  We had been talking for the last year, exchanging songs and ideas during that time, but since my album is delayed I never got the chance to work with him.

Arthur was only 56 yeas-old with so much left to live, but his heart just stopped beating last Saturday morning. News sources say he was rushed to the hospital in his hometown of Niterói, but doctors could not revive him.  My second producer Alberto Salgado was inconsolable when we found out.  Arthur has left a legacy of beautiful music and collaborations and was looked up to by many bassists who continue to learn from and be inspired by his virtuosity and pure talent. According to our mutual friends he was a total funny character always making people laugh with his eccentric way of living. He lived very intensely and joyfully, which serves as comfort for those left with memories of him.

Recognized throughout the world as one of the most influential Brazilian bassists, he accompanied performances and recordings of big names like Djavan, Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Gal Costa, Marisa Monte and many others.  Starting his career as a drummer, he quickly fell in love with the electric bass at age 17. He had the advantageous technical coaching of his uncle Luizão Maia, another master of the bass who played with Elis Regina and curiously also died at age 56.  Arthur was known for “solfeging” his melodies played on a fretless.  Check out this super famous and beautiful bass solo in Gil's song "Palco". He's not solfeging here but it makes me teary to watch this video:

Arthur’s special style drew the attention of many famous artists, even abroad, and he worked with Miles Davis, James Brown, Barbra Streisand, Burt Bacharach, Billy Joel, Paul Simon, Eric Clapton and even Placido Domingo!  Aside from being a virtuous bassist, he was also an accomplished arranger and music producer (cry!), through which avenue he produced albums for Marn’alia and Celso Fonseca.  He had a strong knowledge of jazz and funk, which had I hoped to take advantage of in my upcoming album. I was happy to know his little granddaughter is also named Cissa, who he was so proud and excited about.  Maybe she will get the bass gene and show us off when she grows up!

Here's a more recent video with the famous solfege charm:

Arthur was a great person and amazing musician and he will be missed.  Many thanks to him for his contributions in getting Brazilian music known throughout the world, which is the mission of so many of us Brazilian musicians living abroad.  A big salute and much respect to him, his family and his legacy!  Rest in power Arthur Maia! <3


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