Arthur Maia (9 April 1962 – 15 December 2018) was a Latin Grammy Award winning Brazilian artist, producer, composer and multi-instrumentalist. Considered one of the best bass players in the world by professional critics, Maia played with many other major names in Brazil music, such as Djavan, Gilberto Gil, Marisa Monte, Lulu Santos, Ney Matogrosso, and Mart’nalia. His compositions range from jazz, funk, Samba and MPB to swing music, reggae and African music.
Arthur started his musical studies playing drums, when he was still a child. When he was 15 years old, he received a bass as a gift; and, influenced by his uncle Luizão Maia, a Brazilian bass player, Arthur began to master that instrument. Quickly, he became a professional bass player, playing with many famous Brazilian artists, such as Ivan Lins, Luiz Melodia and Márcio Montarroyos.
In 1985, he joined the band Cama de Gato, a Brazilian jazz group formed by Rique Pantoja (piano), Pascoal Meirelles (drums), Mário Senise (saxophone) and Maia (bass). With that group, he recorded five albums. Although Maia was no longer a member of the band, he was a special guest on Cama de Gato's sixth album. He later joined many other instrumental music bands, such as Pulsar, Banda Black Rio and Egotrip; all popular with music played on Brazilian radio in the 1980s. This continued into later years, when he joined the band El General Paz & La Triple Frontera (GP3F), a multicultural fusion band integrated by musicians from various countries.
During his career, Maia developed his own style of playing bass, mastering bass techniques and mixing several rhythms. His style made him famous and many artists invited him to record with them. In Brazil, he also played with Jorge Benjor, Gal Costa, Lulu Santos, Caetano Veloso, Roberto Carlos, Martinho da Vila, Djavan, Milton Nascimento, Marisa Monte, Fernanda Froes, Leila Pinheiro e César Camargo Mariano. And, internationally, he played with Ernie Watts, Sheila E., Pat Metheny, Carlos Santana, George Benson, Paquito de Rivera e Plácido Domingo.
Maia played in many festivals around the world, such as Free Jazz Festival, Heineken Concerts, Paris Jazz Festival, Montreaux Jazz Festival etc., and also headlined tours put together by various government entities.
In 1990, Maia recorded his first solo album, which won the Prêmio Sharp award one year later. In 1996, he recorded his second album, which was very well received by critics; and in 2002 recorded Planeta Música, with the participation of international stars such as Dennis Chambers and Mike Stern.
In 2005, Maia organized a tribute to his legendary uncle Luizão Maia, who had died that year. The show was staged at the famous Mistura Fina Pub, Rio de Janeiro, with the participation of the Brazilian singer Leny Andrade.
In his later years, Maia became an increasingly in-demand producer. Working almost around the clock, he produced and recorded with some of the most important projects in Brazilian music, including his star turns on our own “Alexandra Jackson: Legacy & Alchemy” as a producer, guest star and bassist.
An ever evolving spirit, Arthur was plotting his next chapters when he died from cardiac arrest on December 15, 2018. The Brazil music industry was shocked, and there has been an outpouring of emotion from literally thousands of people, whose lives he touched – from mega stars of Brazil such as Gilberto Gil, Ivan Lins and Djavan to music collaborators, proteges, and the many fans and admirers Arthur had earned over a 40 year career.
Legacy and Alchemy
Robert Hebert met Arthur in 2006; and from 2010 until literally this week of Arthur’s untimely passing ... Robert and Arthur collaborated on a shared vision of a future path for Brazil music. Hebert had asked Arthur to come to New York for the upcoming January 7th Alexandra Jackson “Brazil Concert” in NYC, and they were planning music repertoire and the music production itself.
Alexandra Jackson wrote:
“My heart has been heavy with the unexpected passing of my friend and brother, Arthur Maia. Arthur was not only considered one of Brazil’s greatest musicians of all time, but more humbly for me, he was a part of the Legacy & Alchemy family from Day 1. He welcomed me with open arms into his world. He was the first to bring me to his home in Niterói on my first trip to Rio 4 years ago, and fed me food and music for hours. His unwavering support, guidance and love is apparent in all he does and all whom he loved. We were actually in the process of bringing him over to the U.S. for my next show...and I was to book his plane ticket the day of the news. His last voicemail to me a few days ago ended with, “We are in this together. You are my sister and I love you. See you soon.” I know he will still be here, just in a new form, and will continue lighting the way for us with his heartful smile”.
All here in the U.S. that knew Arthur share the grief that all of his other friends in Brazil and around the world feel. Arthur was a truly singular person of heart, mind, soul and spirit ... a loving family man, a gifted musician, a great artist, and a dear friend.
A treasure of Brazil, and a real loss to the music world … the memory of this great artist, and unique spirit and soul will never be forgotten.
Arthur Maia left his mark. Well done.
Muito obrigado. Legacy and Alchemy dedicates our next steps to you.
God bless Arthur ...