Stoller and Vergueiro met while the latter was headlining a Hollywood club. The two formed a fast friendship, nurtured by their mutual love of Brazilian music. The writer of countless classic pop songs from “Jailhouse Rock” to “Is That All There Is?,” Stoller has long harbored a passion for Brazilian music, finally finding an outlet through his association with Guilherme. The two teamed up to produce Amazon Moon, with Guilherme performing and arranging the songs and assembling a world-class of musicians. The results are enthralling, but not surprising, given Guilherme’s peerless pedigree in Brazilian music.
Born on Sao Paulo, Guilherme was the grandson of an acclaimed Brazilian classical pianist who early on recognized the lad’s pianistic gift. “He trained me in the classics,” recalls Guilherme, “but my heart took me elsewhere.” Instead, he turned to samba and bossa nova (the music of his homeland) and jazz. As early as 1970, he was leading his own groups in Sao Paulo and Rio, playing with such Brazilian legends as Edison Machado, Agostinho dos Santos, and Leny Andrade.
In the mid 70’s, Guilherme moved to New York, serving as musical director at Cachca, the city’s only club specializing in Brazilian music. In 1980, he made his solo album debut, and from then on, he became one of the most in-demand arrangers, pianists, touring musicians, and headliners in the genre. Over the years, he has worked with such artists as Djavan, Don Menza, Chico Buarque and Hugh Masekela, and has toured with his own group, featuring as special guests such renowned artists as Ron Carter, Wayne Shorter, Robertino Silva, and Wallace Rooney. His musical career has taken him to many nations throughout the world including Denmark, Italy, Spain, France and of course the U.S. and Brazil.
He has continued to record as well, releasing five solo albums here and in Brazil. In 1995, he founded Brazil On Line Publishing, an internet site dedicated to the celebration of Brazilian culture. his own Mangotree Music Productions serves as his home base from which Guilherme oversees his varied musical endeavors.
I’m a lucky man,” says the artist. “I’ve been all over the world, and everywhere I go, the response to Brazilian music is marvelous. The music never lets me, or my audiences, down.” As for his special relationship with his instrument, his words are echoed in his extraordinary playing. “The piano is so wonderful,” notes Guilherme. “There’s always something new to discover. if you treat her right, the piano always gives something back.”
As the artistry on Amazon Moon makes evident, one can safely say the same about Guilherme Vergueiro himself.