Vanderlei Pereira

Drummer, Percussionist, Educator

One of the most sought–after musicians on the contemporary Brazilian jazz scene, Vanderlei Pereira combines a prodigious knowledge of Brazilian rhythms with impeccable technique and a distinctive touch. He has appeared and recorded with numerous outstanding artists including Toots Thielemans, Airto Moreira, Flora Purim, Tito Puente, Claudio Roditi, Romero Lubambo, Bebel Gilberto, Leila Pinheiro, Emílio Santiago, Luis Carlos Vinhas, Sivuca, Rildo Hora, Nelson Faria, Quarteto em Cy, Johnny Alf, Manfredo Fest, Hendrik Meurkens, Margareth Menezes, Dom Salvador, Santi Debriano, Beth Carvalho, Jamelão, Nei Lopes, Amelinha, Rosinha de Valença.

He has performed at top jazz clubs, concert halls and festivals, including Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, NJPAC, the Blue Note, SOB’s, the Village Gate, Birdland, Caviarteria, the Zinc Bar, The Ballroom, the Madrid Jazz Festival and the Syracuse Jazz Festival, among others. He has also toured throughout Brazil and Russia.

Vanderlei has recorded extensively in both the U.S. and Brazil in a wide variety of styles (see discography). He received high praise from Modern Drummer magazine for his performance on Nando Lauria’s “Points of View”: “Pereira’s . . . interpretation of Zydeco-like baião, the martial ciranda and more syncopated maracatú, and the driving, straight-ahead xote, offers glimpses of the richness of Brazil beyond Bossa, and demonstrate some great rhythmic ideas . . . ”

A respected educator, Vanderlei has taught at the Drummers Collective and has given master classes at the Berklee College of Music, the New School, Rutgers University, University of the Arts (Philadelphia), the University of Delaware and in Brasília. He is an official endorser of LP Percussion.

Vanderlei Pereira received a Diploma in Jazz Studies from the Mannes College of Music in New York City and a Diploma and Teaching Certificate from the Academia de Música Lorenzo Fernandes in Rio de Janeiro, with studies in theory, rhythm and sight singing. He was selected as a participant in the Instrumental Preparatory Course of the Orquestra Sinfônica Brasileira in Rio de Janeiro, Vanderlei And Blindfold Test where his studies included VanderleiAndBlindfoldTest theory and style analysis.

During this period, Vanderlei also performed with the Orquestra Sinfônica Brasileira under the direction of Isaac Karabtchevsky and Kurt Masur.

Vanderlei performs most often with his trio (piano, bass and drums), but he also enjoys working with his larger-format groups, which can include horns, vocals, or guitar.

A special note about Vanderlei Pereira:

People who hear him perform find this hard to believe, but Vanderlei Pereira is blind.

Very briefly, he was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa at the age of six, and was told at that time of the probability of his becoming blind later in life. While his vision progressively worsened, he did have the good fortune to be able to complete his studies before he totally lost his sight in 1986 at the age of 31. At that time, he was already performing and touring with important artists, and he says “I decided that I would not let my blindness interfere with my career and I have continued to perform, record and teach.”

And so he has!

Selected Discography:

Manfredo Fest, “Amazonas” (Concord Picante)
Hendrik Meurkens, “Poema Brasileiro” (Concord Picante)
Nando Lauria, “Points of View” (Narada)
Susannah McCorkle, “Hearts and Minds” (Concord Jazz)
Euforia, “Euforia” (Mapleshade)
Adriano Giffoni, “Caçula” (Perfil)
Luis Bonilla, “Escucha!” (Candid)
Laura Dreyer, “Mysterious Encounter” (Farenheit)
Kimson Plaut, “Ubatuba” (LPC)
Roberto Marques, “Trombone do Brasil” (Rob Digital)
Rildo Hora, “O Tocador de Realejo” (RCA)
String of Pearls, “S.O.P. New York-Brazil”, Vols. 1 and 2 (Alfa)
Hirth Martinez, “I’m Not Like I Was Before” (Pryaid)
Steve Sacks, “Primeiro Sonho” (AMJ)
Rogério Botter Maio, “Crescendo” (Gero)
Miguel Kertsman, “Gravity Tunnel” (Proxima)
Sue Maskaleris, “Unbreakable Heart” (Jazilian)
Dawn Thomson, “A Tribute to Antonio Carlos Jobim” (Alfa)
Minas, “Blueazul” (Blueazul)

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