Leo Gandelman
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Leo Gandelman

Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil | INDIE

Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil | INDIE
Band Jazz Classical


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Leo Gandelman @ Teatro Municipal De Niterói

Niterói, None, Brazil

Niterói, None, Brazil

Leo Gandelman @ Festival Vale do Café - Fazenda Cananéia

Vassouras, None, Brazil

Vassouras, None, Brazil



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. - Alvaro Neder - All Music Guide

“Leo Gandelman's eclectic saxophone was never played this classy like in the Sabe Você project./O sax eclético de Leo Gandelman nunca foi soprado com tanta classe como neste projeto Sabe Você.”
- Mauro Ferreira - O Dia

“Balm for the ears. (about Lounjazz album)/Bálsamo para os ouvidos (sobre o CD Lounjazz).” - Veja Rio

“In Brazilian music, a very few artists went through two decades uniting quality and acclaim. The music business, known for the enfasis in sales, carrers like Leo's are a pleasant surprise.”
- Mario Russo - Jornal do Commercio

"Composed for a documentary on the tragic life of the Brazilian footballing legend, Gandelman’s score assimilates the musical styles of Brazil on the '50s, '60s and '70s to perfectly mirror Manuel Francisco dos Santos path through life. Even if you knew nothing of Garrincha’s fortunes you'd be able to make a good guess as the soundtrack moves from joyous samba to wild drunken phantasmagorias." - Jenny Bulley - Mojo

"Leo Gandelman's soundtrack to a Brazilian biopic about the wayward winger Garrincha is full of seductive pieces" - Sunday Times

“From the song selection of ballads and sambas to the jazzy arrangements and the intimate interpretations, everything is perfect and great to hear./Da escolha do repertório de baladas e sambas aos arranjos jazzísticos e as interpretações intimistas, tudo é perfeito e ótimo de ouvir.”
- Isto É

“'Sabe Você' is a high quality product, was already born a classic and has the strenght to be enjoyed for the next decades./'Sabe Você' é um produto de alta qualidade, que nasceu clássico e que certamente tem fôlego para ser apreciado nas próximas décadas.”
- Guga Stroeter - Guia da Folha de Sao Paulo

“The DVD Sabe Você is a dream team of the Brazilian Music an so is the songs selection./O DVD Sabe Você é um time de sonhos da MPB e o repertório idem.”
- Antonio Carlos Miguel - O Globo

REVIEW: Leo Gandelman

Posted on November 5, 2007 11:57 AM

1st Brazilian Music Festival
Bolivar Hall
Leo Gandelman
3rd November 2007

Review by Paco

Leo Gandelman is probably one of the best (if not the best) Brazilian Jazz Saxophonists. He brings us a bridge between the traditional (MPB), and the best Brazilian Jazz composers, he is invention and atmosphere, in a very versatile and inventive way. He also has absolute and unlimited control of his instrument.

His new album, “Bossa Rara” is really promising and revisits the traditional Brazilian Popular Music (MPB), inspired by some of the best Brazilian Jazz composers (Ari Barroso, Vinicius de Moraes …amongst others). The two streams are miscellaneous by nature, which in essence have never strived for any kind of purity, but instead have become stronger due to the assimilation of different rhythms. On stage, he delighted us with freshness and unlimited energy, a pleasure for him… a pleasure for us.
The band:
Allen Pontes (drums): A young and talented drummer… keep an eye on him. At just 22 years old the best still to come.

David Feldman (keyboards): Based in Israel and New York, classic background, versatile, marvellous, sensitive and efficient, another talented young pianist to track.

Alberto Continentino (bass): Versatile and talented, another young Brazilian diamond. Everybody wants him, (Caetano Veloso between others) his talent has no limits.
All three indicate good health and future for Brazilian Jazz…talent, passion and tradition.

Support band
Tereza Pineschi & Pedro Lima

Tereza Pineschi is an experimental and versatile singer, her exquisite and sweet voice allows her to interpret a wide-ranging Brazilian “classic” repertoire. She is pure Samba.

Pedro Lima is an excellent Brazilian percussionist, pure samba tradition, formed at Samba schools of Rio de Janeiro. He played with prestigious Brazilian Popular Music groups.

THE VERDICT: A great night at Bolivar hall.

Did you see Leo Gandelman live? Tell us what you thought of the master of music in our comments section.

Bossa Rara is released on November 5th 2007. For more information, please see Leo Gandelman's official site. Please keep your eye out for our animated interview with Leo.
- Paco - Seatwave


Origens (2010) Saxsamba
Sabe Você | DVD & CD (2008) EMI
Radamés e o Sax (2006) Biscoito Fino
Lounjazz (2005) Rob Digital
Leo Gandelman Live | DVD & CD (2002) EMI
Brazilian Soul (1999) Dubas/Universal
Pérolas Negras (1997)
Made In Rio (1993) PolyGram
Visões (1991) PolyGram
Solar (1990) PolyGram
Western World (1989) PolyGram
Leo Gandelman (1987) PolyGram


Sem Limite (2001) Universal
Millenium - 20 Grandes Sucessos de Leo Gandelman (1999)
The Best Of Leo Gandelman (1998)
Personalidade (1994) PolyGram
Minha História - Sucessos de Leo Gandelman (1994) PolyGram

Special Projects

Centenário de Radamés Gnatalli - Orquestra Petrobrás Sinfônica - Isaac Karabtchevsky (2006) Radio MEC
Primeiro Brasil Sinfônico - Leo Gandelman & Silvio Barbato (1999)



Leo Gandelman has all but defined a style that, while unmistakably Brazilian at the core, masterfully blends carefully selected portions of jazz, funk, R&B and pop to create an effervescent new hybrid that shimmers with tropical passion as it burns with the urban energy of a new global music language. In a country famed for an abundance of world class musical talent, Gandelman has earned rare distinction for an instrumentalist, recording some of the best selling instrumental albums in the history of Brazilian popular culture. Voted Brazils Most Popular Instrumentalist for 15 years in a row by Jornal do Brasil, one of the most important newspapers in Brazil, his sense and feel for many different styles of music has led him to add his trademark sound to over 600 albums.

Saxophonist, producer, composer and arranger, music has always been present in Leo Gandelman's life. Son of a classic pianist and a conductor, at 15 years old he was already a Soloist with the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra. Besides having a solid classical training, he studied Jazz at Berklee College of Music in Boston, returning to Brazil in 1979 to start his professional career.

His music is inspired especially by MPB (Brazilian Popular Music) and Jazz, and always composed in a very versatile and inventive way.

Leo has already released 12 solo albums besides 7 compilations having already sold more than 500.000 records, and is today recognized as an Icon in his segment. His music was also released with great success in the United States, where Leo has lived and developed a prominent career within the last decade, including six sold out seasons at the Blue Note, in New York. During this period, he also joined the band “Masters of Groove”, formed by the legendaries Bernard Purdie, Grant Green and Rueben Wilson. Leo returned to his roots in classical music during his last three years in NY, participating as a soloist in the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra at the Lincoln Center and in Central Park in 2001. He also played as a soloist in the OSESP (São Paulo Symphony Orchestra) conducted by John Neschling, Ribeirão Preto Symphony Orchestra, and Bahia Symphony Orchestra among others, playing Villa Lobos' Fantasy to Soprano Sax and Orchestra as well as the Concertino to Alto Sax, by Radames Gnatalli.

In 2004 Leo was invited to play the Independence Day Concert to President Lula and authorities in Brasilia. Leo Gandelman was also host of the TV shows "Momento Jazz" (Jazz Moment), at Multishow channel - on Globosat/Net and The Free Jazz In Concert at Manchete TV. Since October 2009 Leo hosts a radio show called "Instrumental MPB" at MPB FM.

Recently Leo won two prices as best Film Score with the soundtrack of the movie “ Garrincha, A Estrela Solitária “. Producing soundtracks is another Leo’s passion in music.

In 2008 Leo released the DVD: “Sabe Você", with one of the best Brazilian artists as guests like Milton Nascimento, Chico Buarque, Caetano Veloso, Ney Matogrosso, Luis Melodia and Leila Pinheiro among others. The DVD is a tribute to Brazilian Ballads.

In 2009 Leo participated in the "Moscow City Jazz Festival" and was also in Caracas where under the Regency of Issac Karabitchevsky, he was a soloist for the "Young Orchestra of Caracas".

In 2010 Leo travelled around Spain with Pianist Maria Teresa Madeira and around Russia and Italy with his quartet, on top of participating in a lot of jazz festivals around Brazil.

At the moment Leo is dedicating himself to the release of his independent label "Saxsamba" and the parallel release of his new album "Origins" a Concert for Sax and Piano, which marks his return to his roots – classical music.


- All his albuns.
- "Virgem" - Marina Lima.
- "Jogo de Ilusões" - Nico Rezende.
- "Plural" - Gal Costa.
- "Berimbaum" - Paula Morelembaum.

Tv and Cinema

- Soundtrack of "O Engenho de Zé Lins" - Wladimir Carvalho.
- Soundtrack of "Vidas Opostas" - TV Record.
- Presenter of the tv show "Momento Jazz", Multishow (Globosat/Net).
- Soundtrack of the movie "Estrela Solitária", about the life of Garrincha – still working on it.
- Soundtrack of "Moacyr" - Walter Carvalho.
- Soundtrack of the TV series "Globo Ecologia".
- Interpreter of the theme song of the TV show Fantástico (Rede Globo).
- Movies soundtracks: Pure Juice, Rádio Pirata and Banana is my Business.
- Music themes for soap operas and series at Rede Globo.
- Presenter of the weekly show "Free Jazz In Concert", Rede Manchete.
- Soundtrack of the movie "Budapeste".

Main Festivals

- Londrina Festival.
- Goyaz Festival.
- Domingos Martins Festival.
- Guaramiranga Festival.
- Havana Jazz Festival.
- Montreaux Jazz Festival.
- Free Jazz Festival.
- Hollywood Rock Fest (Special guest at Living Colours show).
- Hollywood Rock Festival (Convidado especial de Rita Lee – show de abertura para os Rolling Stones).
- Several participations in different events, tours and seasons at theat