Born: March 17, 1958 Primary Instrument: Vocal
Maria Viana was born 17 March 1958, Lisbon, Portugal. She is the daughter of famous actor and painter, José Viana; and his first wife Jujú Baptista, a Brazilian singer and actress. 1979 was the anmus mirabilis for the young lady, as Jazz critic and missionary, José Carlos Monteiro Costa (who is no longer with us, but still occupies a very important place in Maria’s affections), wrote in Diário de Not�-cias:
‘One summer night was in the Lisbon Sheraton at the opening of a painting exhibition of a friend of mine. Descending afterwards to the bar for a beer I heard someone singing, It Had To Be You, with a voice that gripped me from just the first few bars. The beautiful tone was one of the best I’d ever heard. There was moreover a great feeling for tempo , balance , emotion. I asked who it was and was told that she was a Portuguese called Maria who loved to sing. Happily I was able to talk to her and later provided with standard material from Ella, Billie, Sarah, and Anita O’Day. The only thing I could do after that was to introduce her to the producers of Cascais Jazz Festival, Luis Villas-Boas and Duarte Mendonça who took an immediate interest in her, arranging for rehearsals and jam sessions.’
However, it would not be until 1983 that she could vigorsly pursue her professional ambitions in Jazz, because previously she had been an actress and a famous popsinger. She became the host-singer at semi-private jam sessions at Jazz bar, Drogaria Ideal, where with a rhythm section led by pianist Emilio Robalo, she presented dozens of soloists, amateur and professional alike; united, one and all, by their love of Jazz. Within months Maria Viana’s career progressed along lines which revealed unquestionable talent and abilities.
September 1983 Recorded her first TV programs, Clube de Jazz.
July 1984 Participated in, Soloists Cascais Jazz (XIV Cascais Festival ), together with Mario Laginha , David Gausden , Carlos Vieira , Fredo Mergner, Maria Joaõ, Artur Xavier and Tomáz Pimentel . Hosts T.V.show, Jazz to All, on national television.
1985 Participated in the first Lisbon Internacional Jazz Festival accompanied by Mário Laginha, Nana Sousa Dias, Pedro and Mário Barreiros .
1986-1987 Jazz on a Summers Day Festival, Estoril, Portugal. Recording of part of the CD, Just Friends / Entre Amigos, with Moreiras`s Jazztett.
1988 National attraction at Casino Estoril accompanied by the resident orchestra, and she records the other half of Just Friends / Entre Amigos, with English pianist John Horler`s trio.
1989 Jazz On A Summers Day Festival, with trombonist Al Grey, and Bernardo Sasseti trio.
1990 Tours with David Gausden’s trio and produces / features in Recceita de Vinicius, a tribute to Brazilian poet, Vinicius de Moraes.
1991 Travels to Angola for two concerts with Moreiras`s Jazztett. Featured in concert with N.Y.J.O. Orchestra at the Casino Estoril Auditorium.
1992 Creates the Maria Viana Quintet (Swing / Be-Bop), which tours the country for the National Secretary of Culture. Just Friends / Entre Amigos CD, is released by Timeless Records with international distribution. .
1993 Tours for National Secretary of Culture, and CD Just Friends / Entre Amigos, is released in Portugal.
1994 Scandinavian tour with Danish saxophonist Jens Sondergaard . Concert Summertime in Centro Cultural de Belém (Lisbon) with her quintet. Meets Blues pianist Alan Thomas and tours the country with his trio. Produces/features, Maria Sings Jobim, tribute to Brazilian composer António C. Jobim
1995 Produces / features in concert, Around the World, Around the Forties, for the celebration of fifty years since the Second World War ending; an initiative of C.M. de Cascais. Tours Portugal with her quintet, and tours with Bill Goodwin quintet.
1996 Maria’s work is rewarded with a Declaration of Manifest Cultural Value, by Minister of Culture, António Manuel Maria Carrilho; in concert she performs, Maria Sings Jobim, and Maria Viana with Alan Thomas trio.
1997 Produces / features in concert of Fado-Blues, a tribute to Fado singer Herm�-nia Silva, and Blues singer, Bessie Smith.
Guest star on CD of Spiritual group, African Voices, performing ‘Freedom,’ and ‘Swing Low Sweet Chariot’.
Tours the country with, Maria Sings Jobim, and Fado-Blues.
Produces a circle of African Music for C.M. Oeiras and nine concerts for C.M. Cascais.
1998 Concert, Blues and Boogie-Woogie, in C.C. Belém (100 days Festival /Expo 98) with Alan Thomas quartet.
National tour and beginning of recording of Blues CD, Spirit of Time.
Special guest star on several African Voices concerts, and makes four presentations of Fado-Blues.
1999-2000 Special guest in three concerts of the Phil Markowitz / Bernardo Moreira quintet.
Spirit of Time, Blues CD released on Megamusic, and tours the country with her various projects: Maria sings Jobim, Fado-Blues, Spirit of Time, and Promised Land.
2001-2002 Begins recording CD, I have a Dream / Promised Land.
Becomes Artistic Director for Hotels with Jazz, an initiative of Junta de Turismo, I.C.E.P., and Jazz on a Summers Day Festival, and Producer of Jazz na Casa da Guia, and Blues for Cascais, which benefites an ecological organization in Cascais; which featured Bluesman Chicago Beau as Special guest in 2002.
Through the years Maria Viana has been featured on over sixty national T.V. shows, and Still programs concerts for the stage “ 7 to 9 “ at the C.C. Belém.