Cyro Baptista is a Brazilian percussionist and composer whose vast experience and penchant for innovation has made him one of the most respected percussionists the world. Born in SSSÃo Paulo, Brazil, Cyro Baptista arrived in the U.S. in 1980 with a scholarship to the Woodstock-based Creative Music Studio, and has since emerged as one of the premier percussionists in the country. Coinciding with the rise in the public's interest of world music, Cyro has managed to record and tour with some of music's most popular names. His mastery of Brazilian percussion and the many instruments he creates himself, have catapulted him into world renown.
Cyro's talents led him to associations with a wide range of leading jazz, pop, classical, avant-garde and Brazilian artists including Herbie Hancock, Yo-Yo-Ma, Wynton Marsalis, Cassandra Wilson, Paul Simon, Laurie Anderson, John Zorn, Trey Anastasio (Phish), Milton Nascimento, Ivan Lins, Marisa Monte, Medeski Martin and Wood and Sting.
He was nominated for the 2005 Grammy Awards for his collaboration with Herbie Hancock and Trey Anastasio on the CD Possibilities.
He's performed on Grammy award winning albums by Yo-Yo-Ma, Cassandra Wilson, Toni Bennett, The Chieftains, Ivan Lins and Herbie Hancock.
Cyro has produced six CDs of his own. His newest project, BANQUET OF THE SPIRITS, was hailed as "provocative, powerful and deeply enjoyable listening experience."
With his phenomenal ensemble, BEAT THE DONKEY, Cyro gives free reign to his imagination, combining music and humor with dance and martial arts, mixing instruments from Brazil, America, Indonesia and Africa and unusual inventions of his own.
SUPERGENEROUS, a duo with Canadian guitarist Kevin Breit, has released two CDs, the first on Blue Note Records.
The ROBISON, LUBAMBO & BAPTISTA TRIO, a collaboration with acclaimed classical flutist Paula Robison and Brazilian guitarist Romero Lubambo, performs regularly in classical music festivals around the world, including Spoleto Festival.
Cyro was elected "2007 Percussionist of the Year" by the Jazz Journalists Association.
In the summer of 2008 Cyro performed in a Trio with Bobby McFerrin and Richard Bona at the North Sea Jazz Festival in Holland.
He has been a member of mostly all of John Zorn's ensembles and he was a special guest on Zorn's Masada at Marciac Festival 2008 in France. Besides recording with all these ensembles, he has also recorded over 25 soundtracks with Zorn.
For over two years, he toured with Paul Simon's "Rhythm of the Saints" tour and appears on his Concert in Central Park release. In 2008, he was a special guest on Paul Simon's retrospective in New York City.
In addition, Cyro toured with Sting in 2001.
In 2002, Cyro toured the world with Yo-Yo Ma's "Brazil" Project. He also recorded on the Obrigado Brazil album - winner of two Grammy awards.
He recorded and performed worldwide with Herbie Hancock's Grammy award winning "Gershwin's World." More recently, he recorded on Hancock's 2005 release, Possibilites. For his work on this album, Cyro was nominated for a Grammy Award for a composition with Hancock and Trey Anastasio (Phish).
Cyro has performed on six Grammy award winning albums: Yo-Yo Ma's Obrigado Brazil, Cassandra Wilson's Blue Light 'Til Dawn, The Chieftains' Santiago, Ivan Lins' A Love Affair, Herbie Hancock's Gershwin's World and on Tony Bennet's Duets - an American Classic.
Cyro collaborated with Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra producing Brazilian Carnival modern jazz concerts.
Cyro appeared in Nicolas Humbert and Werner Penzel's 1990 documentary film on Fred Frith, Step Across the Border. He has also been composing music for programs on the children's television network Nickelodeon.
Performing his unique blend of percussion with some of music's most popular artists has given Cyro remarkable credibility within the industry. Other musicians Cyro has collaborated with include: Laurie Anderson, David Byrne, Dave Brubeck, Derek Bailey, Kathleen Battle, Gato Barbieri, Dr. John, Brian Eno, Robert Palmer, Melissa Etheridge, James Taylor, Michael Tilson Thomas, Daniel Barenboim, Medeski Martin & Wood, Spyro Gyra, Trey Anastasio and Carlos Santana. He has also played with many respected Brazilian artists such as Milton Nascimento, Caetano Veloso, Ivan Lins, Marisa Monte, Badi Assad, and Nana Vasconcelos.
CYRO's OWN PROJECTS
For the past years, Cyro has concentrated on his own projects.
His first album, Villa Lobos/Vira Loucos, a heady mix of his own compositions with the work of the brilliant Brazilian composer Heitor Villa Lobos, has been acclaimed as "the most courageous, bright, funny, dramatic, and imaginative work in recent memory."
With BEAT THE DONKEY, Cyro recorded two CDs. A documentary on BEAT THE DONKEY was recorded by the prestigious WGBH-TV Boston program 'La Plaza.' It won 3 New England EMMY Awards in 2002. BEAT THE DONKEY is on permanent demand for the past ten years, and due to its openness in style, it performs in jazz, world music and rock'n'roll festivals and art centers.
Blue Note Records released Supergenerous, a duo CD recorded with guitarist Kevin Breit (KD Lang, Cassandra Wilson). Billboard called Supergenerous "pure aural pleasure" and the Washington Post noted it "a marvelous debut that manages to feel outside and intimate at the same time." In 2008 a new SUPERGENEROUS album was released, entitled SSSSSÃo Paulo Slim.
The ROBISON, LUBAMBO & BAPTISTA TRIO, a special collaboration with acclaimed classical flutist Paula Robison and Brazilian guitarist Romero Lubambo, performs regularly in classical music festivals around the world, including Spoleto Festival in Italy and USA and Cartagena Festival in Colombia.
Cyro was elected "2007 Percussionist of the Year" by the Jazz Journalists Association in the USA.
His latest project is BANQUET OF THE SPIRITS, a quartet with great young musicians from the New York City downtown music scene, was hailed as "provocative, powerful and deeply enjoyable listening experience."
Some quotes about the album:
"Delightful music from one of the world's greatest and most adventurous Brazilian musicians." - Djouls.com
"Banquet of the Spirits is world music in the most literal sense of the phraseeeeeeÃ?traveling from continent to continent in a single song and creating intriguing new lands in the process. If you like mind-bogglingly precise rhythms and instrumental tightness interspersed with free jazz freakouts, then Banquet of the Spirits is for you." - Matt Brockett, jambase.com
"Banquet of The Spirits is an example of superior contemporary world music, featuring a kaleidoscopic array of talent creating something completely new and thoroughly fun." - Jazziz, June 2008