Artist picture of Tom Zé

Tom Zé

90 232 fans

Artist's Top Tracks

Roquenrol Bim-Bom Tom Zé 03:11
Tribunal do Feicebuqui Tom Zé, Emicida, Trupe Chá de Boldo, Tatá Aeroplano 02:57
Tropicalea Jacta Est Tom Zé, Mallu Magalhães, Tom Zé featuring Mallu Magalhães 05:56
Menina Jesus Tom Zé 03:35
Passagem de Som Tom Zé 03:30
Baião Velho Jose Miguel Wisnik, Tom Zé 05:08
Tom Zé 02:50
Hein? (Participação especial de Vicente Barreto) Tom Zé, Vicente Barreto 03:42
Guindaste À Rigor Tom Zé 02:46
Lá vem cuíca Tom Zé 02:35

Latest release

O Rock Ronca

by Tom Zé

10/14/2021

92 fans

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Biography

A key figure in Brazil’s tropicália movement Tom Zé thought he had concluded his music career by the time David Byrne of the Talking Heads came calling and rekindled interest in the experimental psychedelic musician, decades after his introduction. Born Antônio José Santana Martins on October 11, 1936 in Irara, in the Brazilian state of Bahia, Zé blended local folklore into his outside-the-box version of regional pop music, which resulted in several albums’ worth of complex music packed with details that reward repeated, dedicated listens.


After relocating to São Paulo in the 60s to begin his career in earnest, Zé found his way into the burgeoning tropicália scene, which was a melding of Brazilian musical traditions with British and American pop and psychedelic rock. In 1968, Zé appeared on one of the defining recordings of the era, Tropicália: ou Panis et Circencis, and performed one of his compositions alongside the other primary figures of the movement, Gilberto Gil, Caetano Veloso, Gal Costa, and Os Mutantes.


Zé delivered his first solo LP, Grande Liquidaçao, the same year, which displayed his proficiency within the established idioms, but only hinted at the experimental and progressive music he would later make. Once tropicália’s momentum died down, he focused on his own forward-thinking recordings, such as his take on the emerging samba style on 1976’s Estudando o Samba, and the adventurous Nave Maria from 1984, and often utilized homemade instruments and found sounds.


By the mid 80s, his enthusiasm for music had waned, and Zé retreated back to private life. But his career earned an unexpected second act when David Byrne came across one of his albums and made a point of seeking out more music from someone he saw as similarly audacious. Byrne signed Zé to his new Luaka Bop label, and released the compilation Brazil Classics, Vol. 4: The Best of Tom Zé – Massive Hits in 1990. 


The momentum carried over to a new album two years later, Brazil Classics, Vol. 5: The Hips of Tradition, and Zé was off and running with a new lease on his musical life. He found himself an in demand performer around the world, including appearances at the New York’s Museum of Modern Art and a performance in Central Park, and at the London International Festival of Theatre. He has continued to tour and record, detouring into bossa nova and pagode (an offshoot of samba), while retaining his unique spirit.