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Claudio Celso

Claudio Celso (born August 4, 1955) is a Brazilian guitaristcomposer and arranger. His work includes jazzbossa nova and Brazilian popular music. He was considered in 2000 one of the best jazz contemporary musicians by South Florida "New Times" magazine and listed in the world´s top 100 guitarists by Brazil´s Guitar Player magazine in 2006.

Claudio is known for his impeccable technique and deep jazz roots and for his breadth of experience. 


Claudio Celso was born in São PauloBrazil. He began playing guitar at the age of four. He initially studied classical guitar and then learned bossa nova and jazz with guitarist/composer Paulinho Nogueira and also with his father, Nilson M. Celso, who was an early electric guitarist in Brazil.


Initially his career included touring with the Brazilian instrumental ensemble Zimbo Trio along with Argentinian saxophonist Héctor Costita for over two years. He also accompanied major popular artists with the Tupi Television Orchestra while in his hometown, São Paulo. 

From 1978 until 1985 he was based in New York City and worked with jazz producers Teo Macero, Creed Taylor, Roy Cicala and Eumir Deodato, and musicians Jaco Pastorius, Eddie Gomez, Randy Brecker, Chet Baker, Roberta Flack, Dexter Gordon, Kenny Kirkland, Larry Willis, Cecil McBee, Frank Colon, Naná Vasconcellos, Bebel Gilberto, Edison Machado, Richie Morales, Manolo Badrena, Will Lee, Tim Capello, Steve Thorton, Ted Bass, Dennis Irwin, Wayne Dockery,  Shunzo Ono, Terumasa Hino, Frank Ferrucci, Claudio Roditi, Lloyd McNeil,  Lester Chambers, Calvin Hill, Buddy Williams, Paquito d’Rivera, Clifford Adam and Dom Um Romão.

He played at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1979 and at the Cool Jazz Festival in 1980, both in New York City, with saxophonist Charlie Rouse and pianist Don Salvador.

As studio musician, he participated in the recording of Claudio Roditi's “Red on Red” (Greene St Records), Guanabara´s “The Brazilian Beat of Guanabara” (Baystate Records), Frank Ferrucci's “Jewel Eyes” (Wren Records) and Lloyd McNeil's “Elegia” (Baobab Records).

From 1986 to 1989 he played with internationally renowned Brazilian trombonist Raul de Souza, touring throughout Brazil.

In 1989 he spent some time in San Francisco, leading the "Rain Forest" band. They performed at the Monterey Jazz Festival and, in 1990, at the "EarthDay Concert" in New York.

In 1991 he signed a contract as recording artist with Sony Music in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He also recorded three albums with Brazilian popular singers Sandra de Sa, Alceu Valenca and Lobao, and a music video with Marisa Monte.

In March 1995 while in Austin, Texas, he recorded a music video with American singer Evelyn Thomas with a special appearance of American country musician Willie Nelson.

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"What do the Jazz legends Jaco Pastorius, Chet Baker and drummer Billy Hart have in common?

Answer: all of them have had the sophisticated musical help from Brazilian guitarist Claudio Celso. Claudio lived in the US for 25 years where he built his career and forged his style, a perfect fusion of impecable technique and deep jazz roots with a musical brain connected to all world music tendencies and sounds of Brazil. His CD Swell has all this and much more. Claudio´s enlightened original compositions and his version of classic pieces get real close to perfection indeed. The title song "Swell" plus the track "Tudo Azul em Monicaland" present subtle bossa nova elements, "Bye Bye Brasil" by Chico Buarque gained a fabulous be-bop version. Another Swell's nice surprise is the track "Hades" with a mysterious atmosphere and linear melody emphasizing the melodic lines of Claudio´s guitar."

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Primary Instrument



Sao Paulo

Willing to teach

Intermediate to advanced



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