Multi-instrumental percussionist born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Somewhere between the age of five and seven, he began experimenting with sounds and collecting percussive instruments, a collection that would eventually number in the 200s.
He emigrated to the States in 1973 and became a member of Sergio Mendes’s band, Brasil ’77, staying with them, appropriately, until 1977. During this time, he also embarked on what would become a mind-bogglingly prolific career as a session musician.
The litany of artists and groups with whom he has recorded is too long to list here, but includes Air Supply, Herb Alpert, Paul Anka, Patti Austin, Brothers Johnson, Phil Collins, George Duke, The Eagles, Aretha Franklin, The Gap Band, Stix Hooper, James Ingram, Elton John, B.B. King, Living In A Box, The Manhattan Transfer, Johnny Mathis, Michael McDonald, Stephanie Mills, Willie Nelson, Claus Ogerman, Jeffrey Osborne, Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers, Linda Ronstadt, Diana Ross, Carol Bayer Sager, Toto, Luther Vandross, Jody Watley, Deniece Williams , Yarbrough & Peoples, and Pia Zadora. Some of the high-profile records on which he has appeared include Lionel Richie’s “All Night Long”, Madonna’s “La Isla Bonita”, and Michael Jackson’s Thriller.
In addition to his myriad collaborations, he has also recorded a few solo albums, including Agora, Happy People, Real Love, Sunrise, and Toys of Men.
Paulinho plays about fifty different percussive instruments, including bar chimes, bell trees, bongos, castanets, chimes, claves, conga drums, cow bells, cymbals, gongs, kettle drums, maracas, rainmakers, samba whistle, shakers, snare drums, spoons, talking drums, tambourine, triangle, and wood blocks. He is considered to be one of the most recorded musicians in the last few decades.
You can hear his music in a number of films, as well, ranging from Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me to The Color Purple, in which he also made a cameo appearance as an African musician. He can also be seen in action in the concert DVD Diana Krall: Live in Paris.
Paulinho was honoured with the Most Valuable Player Award and Musicians Emeritus Award from the National Academy of Recording Artists.
Johnny Mathis & Deniece Williams recordings
Emotion (Barry Gibb/Robin Gibb)
S CBS 6164B (UK 45)
Here he is on percussion accompanying Lee Ritenour….