Paulinho Da Costa

A major percussionist who has been on countless jazz, Brazilian, and commercial recordings, Paulinho Da Costa (b. 1948) is an asset to every musical setting in which he appears.

Born in Rio de Janeiro, Da Costa began playing percussion when he was five. As a teenager he toured the world with a variety of Brazilian ensembles and over time he acquired over 200 instruments including bells, whistles, and very exotic percussion. After settling in the United States in 1973, he worked with Sergio Mendes and Brasil ’77 during 1973-1977 and since then has seemed to practically live in the recording studio. Among his credits are not only sessions with Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Freddie Hubbard, Joe Pass, and Milt Jackson but Madonna, Michael Jackson, Earth, Wind & Fire, Barbra Streisand, Aretha Franklin, Dolly Parton, Diana Ross, and Elton John, not to mention television commercials and motion picture soundtracks. Any time a touch of Brazil is needed, chances are that Paulinho Da Costa will get the call.

Da Costa’s first three albums as a leader were made for the Pablo label. 1976’s Agora has such notables in his group as trumpeter Steve Huffsteter, trombonist Frank Rosolino, and guitarist Lee Ritenour. Happy People (from 1979) utilizes a large ensemble and vocalists to play Da Costa’s brand of Brazilian fusion. 1984’s Sunrise features notable contributions from tenor saxophonist Ernie Watts and keyboardist Randy Waldman.
Paulinho Da Costa has remained quite busy up to the present time. His discography can stand by itself as a history of American music of the past 30 years. He was always there.