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Bola Sete

Bola Sete (born Djalma de Andrade) was a Brazilian guitarist born on July 16, 1923 in Rio de Janeiro and who died on February 14, 1987 in Greenbrae, California. Sete played jazz with Vince Guaraldi as well as with Dizzy Gillespie. His song "Bettina" was featured on the "Tribe Vibes" breakbeat compilation, as it had been sampled by the musical group A Tribe Called Quest.

Bola Sete's name means "Seven Ball". In Brazilian billiards, the seven ball is the only black ball on the table, and Bola got this nickname when he was the only black member of a small jazz group. He studied guitar at the Conservatory of Rio and he started performing with his own sextet and local samba groups while he was still a student. His early infuences were guitarists Django Reinhardt, Charlie Christian, Barney Kessel & Oscar Moore (of the Nat King Cole Trio), while he was also captured by the sound of the big bands that were touring South America at that time (Dizzy Gillespie, Tommy Dorsey, Woody Herman). His career started in Italy, where he played in various clubs & hotels for 4 years (1952-1956). Then, he returned to Brazil and started touring all of South America. That's when the manager of the Sheraton hotels noticed him and decided to bring him in the US to play in the hotels (1962). He played for a while in New York's Park Sheraton, and later he moved in San Francisco to play in the Sheraton Palace. Dizzy Gillespie was staying there at the time, so he was listening to Bola Sete playing every day. When Dizzy decided to bring his pianist Lalo Schifrin to the hotel, he discovered that Lalo & Bola had already met & played together in Argentina. That's how Dizzy met Bola, and this meeting was the beginning for Bola's success in the US. In the fall of 1962, Dizzy took the talented guitarist to the Ninth Annual Monterey Jazz Festival, where he enjoyed a huge success. After that, he toured for a while with Gillespie and finally he returned to San Francisco where he joined The Vince Guaraldi trio. Bola Sete was already well-known in the US, and his partnership with Vince was another huge success for both of them. After staying for a couple of years with Guaraldi, Bola Sete formed his own trio with his fellow Brazilians Sebastian Neto (bass) and Paulinho (drums).

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"Bola Sete is as significant as Jimi Hendrix and Segovia, in the sense of having wisdom, knowledge, soul and passion." — Carlos Santana



Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Bossa Nova at...

Liberation Hall


Samba in Seattle:...

Tompkins Square


Bossa Nova Guitar...

Verve Records






From: Samba in Seattle: Live at the...
By Bola Sete



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