Dom Salvador is the legendary Brazilian jazz musician and composer considered to be one of the fathers of the samba-jazz movement. Besides his celebrated solo career, Salvador also has extensive international experience as accompanist of Brazilian popular music (MPB) acts such as Elis Regina, Quarteto em Cy, Jorge Ben, Edu Lobo, Rosinha de Valença, Sílvia Telles, and Elza Soares. His Rio 65 Trio, which had arguably the most important Brazilian drummer of all time, Edison Machado, recorded very influential albums, including one of them in Germany. His musical and political research also led him to be a precursor of the Black Rio movement, putting together the musicians who would later form the homonymous band.
At 12 Salvador was already playing in an orchestra in his hometown of Rio Claro. At 23 he was already making a name for himself and decided to move to São Paulo. He became the pianist of the Lancaster nightclub, the meeting point of the city's jazz musicians. Joining the Copa Trio, he moved to Rio and played in the famous jazz scene Beco Das Garrafas (Rio's 52nd Street), where he accompanied the then-novice artists Elis Regina, Quarteto em Cy, and Jorge Ben.
In 1965, he formed the Rio 65 Trio, with bassist Sérgio Barroso and drummer Edison Machado. The trio performed extensively, and recorded the album Rio 65 Trio in the same year. In 1966, the trio toured Europe, accompanying Edu Lobo, Rosinha de Valença, Silvia Telles, and Rubens Bassini through nine countries. The trio recorded an album in Germany that included Salvador's famous song "Meu Fraco é Café Forte." In the same year, Salvador played in the U.S., returning there again while accompanying Elza Soares.
But one of Salvador’s most significant career points actually came a few years later, while researching music and other different projects and collaborations. Salvador formed the group Abolição, which was composed only by black musicians, and that band was the core of the movement that combined black/soul music with funk and samba, and paved the way for many other groups that came after, such as the world-famous Banda Black Rio. The group Abolição recorded the seminal album Som, Sangue E Raça in 1971, still widely regarded as a classic recording.
In the mid-'70s, Salvador relocated to the U.S. and started many successful musical collaborations, including work as the musical director and pianist for Harry Belafonte. Salvador continued to record and perform his music under many different configurations.
Some of his recordings include My Family (1976); Puro Amor and Rio Claro Suite (1984); Romantic Interlude at the River Café, and Unconditional Love (2000); and Transition (1997). His most recent recording, The Art of Samba Jazz (2010) brings back the sound of the samba-jazz and gafieira styles, a samba-jazz that Salvador experienced firsthand, lived, and helped to create and develop, while also maintaining his uniqueness and originality. The recording features a sextet of some of the most in-demand musicians in the New York scene, playing through some of Salvador’s best and most beloved compositions.
Salvador has also participated on recent jazz festivals both in Brazil and the U.S. with his group. Some of his notable performances included the Chivas Jazz Festival Brazil in 2003 and an emotional return to the legendary Copacabana Palace hotel in Rio de Janeiro after 45 years, to perform at the CopaFest festival 2010 with his sextet. In 2012, Salvador is reunited with the group Abolição and also with Brazilian singer Tony Tornado on a series of shows throughout Brazil, besides leading his quartet/sextet both in the U.S. and Brazil. Salvador also regularly serenades his fans at the prestigious River Café in Brookyln, New York, and for his long engagement with this world famous venue (35-plus years) he is bound to be included on the Guinness Book of Records.