César Cristóvão Vasco Cardoso
Saxphone player, arranger and composer.
Born in 1982, in Leiria, soon dedicated his time to studying music, with only 7 years old.
In 1995 César Cardoso enrolled at Escola de Música do Orfeão de Leiria (EMOL), where he completed
the conservatory in classical saxophone with Alberto Roque, in 2003. Throughout those years, he
participated in several master classes, where he had the opportunity to work with Hugo Gaito, José
António Lopes, Mário Marques, Jean-Marie Londeix and other musicians.
From 2004 to 2008 he studied at Hot Clube de Portugal’s Jazz School, where he had lessons with
Jorge Reis and Pedro Moreira and started to distinguish himself as a jazz musician: in 2007 he was
part of José Luís Peixoto’s play “Quando o Inverno Chegar”, with musical direction by Pedro Moreira;
in December of that year he played in the Main Auditorium of Centro Cultural de Belém, representing
the school in the festival “Portugal Jazz Itinerante”; and in May 2008 he was the only Portuguese
selected to join the European Colours Jazz Orchestra.
In 2008 he enrolled at Escola Superior de Música de Lisboa, where he continued to work with Jorge
Reis e Pedro Moreira, having completed the Jazz Bachelor Degree in saxophone performance. During
his academic years, he participated in numerous workshops in which he contacted with tremendous
musicians in the national and international jazz scene, such as Pedro Madaleno, João Moreira,
Ricardo Pinheiro, Afonso Pais, Bruno Santos, José Menezes, Bernardo Moreira, Dave Schnitter, Jesse
Davis, David Binney, John Taylor, Perico Sambeat, Chris Cheek, John Ellis and others.
César is a member of the dixieland group Desbundixie, with whom he recorded “Kick’n Blow” (in
2007) e “Up 2 Nine” (in 2009), this last one with Maria João in vocals and Filipe Melo at the piano as
He is the mentor and artistic director of Orquestra Jazz de Leiria, a big band which gathers Leiria’s
jazz community and has given a set of concerts with Portuguese artists as special guests, such as
Vânia Fernandes, David Fonseca, Maria João, Herman José, Luísa Sobral, Áurea, Tiago Bettencourt,
Pedro Abrunhosa and Ana Bacalhau.
It should further be mentioned that he has played with Orquestra do Herman José, Lisbon Swingers,
Big Band Reunion, Claus Nymark Big Band, Hot Clube de Portugal’s Septette, Rodrigo Gonçalves’s
Quintet, Nelson Cascais’s Quintet, Xutos e Pontapés and also Orquestra de Jazz do Hot Clube de
In 2010, César recorded his first debut CD, “Half Step”, with the musicians Bruno Santos, Filipe Melo,
Demian Cabaud and Bruno Pedroso, his quintet at that time. The album also features Pedro Moreira
as special guest and was presented at Marinha Grande’s Jazz Festival.
His second album, “Bottom Shelf”, was released in 2015, in Hot Clube de Portugal, and also features
original music by César, specifically written for the members of his quartet – Bruno Santos, Demian
Cabaud and André Sousa Machado, some of the best Portuguese jazz musicians.
He also played with many other great jazz musicians, such as João Moreira, Jorge Reis, Claus Nymark,
Alexandre Frazão, Bernardo Moreira, Lars Arens, Afonso Pais, Nelson Cascais, João Paulo Esteves da
Silva, Julian Arguëlles, Maria João, Mário Laginha, Bernardo Sassetti, Zé Eduardo, Perico Sambeat,
Rosario Giuliani, Stacey Kent, Benny Golson, John Ellis, Miguel Zenón, Joe Lovane and others.
In 2016 César published the book “Teoria do Jazz” (“Jazz Theory”), with Chiado Editora, the first
book ever written in Portuguese about the theoretical bases of Jazz, thought through to serve as
handbook for Jazz students.
His passion for composing for Big Bands has led him to write as much as 80 arranges, originally
composed for Orquestra Jazz de Leiria (including themes of the guest artists) or for Orquestra do Hot
Clube de Portugal, who has recently released the album “Dança dos Pássaros”, featuring music of
António Pinho Vargas, 3 of which arranged by César. A considerable amount for such a young
composer and arranger.
César is currently teaching saxophone, theory, combo and Big Band at Hot Clube de Portugal’s Jazz