Born: October 20, 1965 Primary Instrument: Bass
Born: October 20, 1965 Mário Franco started music lessons at the age of 4 in Centro de Estudos Gregorianos. After one year in Lisbon Conservatory where he studied harp, singing and music theory he went on to Academia de Amadores de Música, where he continued his studies in music theory with Cristina Brito da Cruz, and started double bass lessons with Fernando Flores, and composition with Pedro Rocha as well as studying chamber music.
He subsequently became interested in jazz. and became a member of the Lisbon Hot Club. After having bass guitar lessons with António Ferro he began taking Double bass lessons with David Gausden and playing in jam sessions; also took part in workshops with Rufus Reid, Niels Henning, Orsted Pederson, Eberhard Weber, etc.
In 1986-87 attended double-bass courses given by Ludwig Streicher in Estoril and in 1988 won 1st prize in the Prémio Jovens Músicos (Young Musicians Competition); later became a member of Orquestra Sinfónica Juvenil where he worked on classical repertory with conductor Christopher Bochmann.
Also worked with conductors Silva Pereira, Miguel Graça Moura, Roberto Perez and Michel Swierczewski.
As from 1984 plays jazz and improvised music in Portugal and abroad with musicians such as António Pinho Vargas, Mário Laginha, João Paulo Esteves de Silva, Bernardo Sasseti, Benny Lackner; Carlos Martins, Tomás Pimentel, Maria João, Tommy Halferty, John Wadham, José Peixoto, Jarmo Savolainen, Jim Leff, Ralph Peterson Jr., Paolo Fresu, Andy Sheppard, David Binney, Peter Epstein, Ralph Towner, among others.
Appeared on TV and played live radio broadcasts in Portugal.
In 1990 presented his first project based on original compositions was awarded 1st prize for his group and 2nd prize for composition in the competition“ A Juventude e a Música“ (Young People and Music).
Has an entry of his own in a book by musicologist Jorge Lima Barreto, “Musa Lusa”, Hugin 1997, Lisboa.
Is mentioned for his work with Tomás Pimentel in the bilingual quarterly journal “The Rõle of Jazz” written by José Duarte, edited by Edições Cotovia, Lda. Lisboa, 1998.
Has performed outside Portugal for instance in Macau, Japan, Spain, France, Belgium, Norway…Has participated in some of Portugal's most important music festivals such as:
Festival de Música dos Capuchos 1985; Jazz na Cidade 88, 90; Lisboa em Jazz 90; Encontros de Jazz do Algarve 91; Festas de Lisboa 95, 96; Festa do Avante 90, 94, 96; Seixal Jazz Festival in 98, 05; Festival Internacional de Jazz de Faro in 99 “Jazz no Inverno”; Musicalidades 01; Jazz em Agosto (Gulbenkian Foundation) 87, 88, 90, 95 and 05; in 3º and 5º Maio Jazz Almodovar 05, 07; 4ª Festa do Jazz 06; Festival de Jazz de Estremoz 06, 08; International Film Festival IndieLisboa 07; 10º Festival de Jazz de Valado de Frades 07; 11º Matosinhos em Jazz 07; 1ºFestival de Jazz de Sines 07; Festival Y#5; 1º Ciclo de concertos “ O Som das Musas” Vila Flor 07; Mudas Jazz Sessions (Madeira) 08; 1ª Feira de Artes Performativas de Tavira 08 and Portugal Jazz 07, 09.
Mário Franco has worked also with the following singers: Uxia, Eugénia melo e Castro, Vitorino, Fernando Tordo, Lura, António Chainho.
He keeps working periodically with Pedro Caldeira Cabral, who explores the repertoire for Portuguese Guitar from XVI century until our days.
Also composes for Dance and Theatre.
His most important works are “Nine Dancers Facing a Mirror” with choreographer David Fielding (1999).
”Frida Khalo”* staged by Nuno Carinhas for “Cão Solteiro” theater company (1999).
“Para a Mónica” with musicians Bernardo Sassetti, Mário Delgado, André Sousa Machado, José Peixoto and Filipa Pais. (2002), a project composed and recorded as a tribute to choreographer Mónica Lapa.
“Nocturno Delirante”* also staged by Nuno Carinhas for “Cão Solteiro” theather company (2004).
*Both ”Frida Khalo” and “Nocturno Delirante” were considered by the critics to be in the top 10 best performances of their respective years.
In 2006 created two new pieces for Dance: “Bern nº49, Kramgasse” for choreographer Claúdia Nóvoa, and “Vent” for dancers Filipa Castro and Carlos Pinillos presented at XI International Ballet Festival of Miami.
In the same year Tone of a Pitch Records edited his first CD as a leader, “This Life”, with Jesse Chandler, André Fernandes, João Lencastre, João Gomes and includes NY based David Binney. This recording was considered, by the American magazine All About Jazz, one of the best CDs of 2006, as well as by the Portuguese newspapers Expresso, Público and the bimonthly magazine Jazz.pt. A group of national critics, in the JazzLogical site voted it the second best CD of that year.
2008 started with the recording of another piece for choreographer Claúdia Nóvoa “Olhos de Areia” presented at CCB (Centro Cultural de Belém) in January. In the same year he also worked as a dancer, musician and composer in the ballet “Come Together” by the choreographer Rui Horta for the National Ballet Company of Portugal (CNB). In December 2008 he composed the music of “Xirtam” a ballet by the choreographer Xavier Carmo for the company Quorum Ballet.
Mário Franco is also a dancer from the National Ballet Company of Portugal since 1986.
"This Life" Mário Franco Quintet with David Binney
Tone of a Pitch Records
Track listing: This Life; Herança; Errante; Tentativa; Eterno Imperfeito; Backstage Home; Web Woman; Chegada; Web Woman (reprise).
Personnel: Mário Franco: bass; David Binney: alto saxophone (1,6-8); Jesse Chandler: organ, piano, melodica; André Fernandes: guitar; João Gomes: Rhodes, sampler; João Lencastre: drums.
"Our Door" Mário Franco Trio
Tone of a Pitch Records
Track listing: Número 1; Paramour; Intro To Our Door; Our Door; Giant Steps; Os Velhos; Backyard; How my Heart Sings; Ballad for Bernt; Vine; Giant Steps (alternate take)
Personnel: Mário Franco: bass; Sérgio Pelágio: guitar; André Sousa Machado: drums.
As a Side Musician: (Selected CDs)
"Serra sem Fim"
Track listing: Samba sem Fim; Serra de Algures; Tambores da Terra; Valsa para o não parecer; Lua Cheia; Paisagem
Personnel: João Paulo: piano; Jorge Reis: alto saxophone; Mário Franco: bass; José Salgueiro: percussion
Track listing: Raiz; Três uma vez; Vince; Descolagem; A Ponte; Arde o Mar; Hino dos Enganos; Pastiche
Personnel: Alexandre Frazão: drums; Tomás Pimentel: Fliscorne; Jorge Reis: alto; Mário Franco: bass; António Pinto: guitars; Edgar Caramelo: tenor sax; João Paulo: piano "Luz Destino"
Ricardo Rocha; Maria Ana Bobone; João Paulo; Mário Franco "Luz Destino"
Ricardo Rocha; Maria Ana Bobone; João Paulo; Mário Franco
Track listing: Fado Cigano; Fado Azenha; Fado Correeiro; Dueto; Leve,Breve,Suave; Que Deus me Perdoe; Sabe-se Lá; Fim; Degrau; Fragmentação em ornamento; Fado Cravo; Três Bairros; Fado Não Sei Quem És; São Miguel; Frenesi; Improvisação.
Personnel: Ricardo Rocha: portuguese guitar; Maria Ana Bobone: voice; João Paulo: harpsichord; Mário Franco: contrabass.
"O que me diz o espelho d'água"
Track listing: O que não se vê; Como brilha; Afinal era só isto; Que sente uma nuvem sozinha no céu?; A memória contempla o reflexo; Expectativa; Palma; Alegre Outono; Outra luz diferente; O que me diz o espelho de água.
Personnel: José Peixoto: classical guitar; Mário Franco: acoustic bass
Track listing: Caixinha de Pandora; Furtivo; Mais uma tarde; Perto do Poente (a visita da Lua); Frágil como uma pétala; Espaços; Doce Crescente; Lua que tens?; Alguêm viu o Alex; Estranha a vida da medusa; Estio; Choveu e nem uma brisa.
Personnel: José Peixoto: 8 strings guitar; Mário Franco: acoustic bass; José Salgueiro: percussion; Mário Delgado: guitar; Quiné: percussion; Mário Barreiros percussion; Ralph Towner: guitar; Manuela Azevedo: voice; Filipa Pais: voice
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