Tell us how you began your career?Well, I began in Fortaleza in Northeast Brasil, the city in which I was born. My mother played organ in the local Presbyterian Church and my older sister studied classical piano. Logically, in our house we had an old and very well made German piano. But I didn't play anything…wouldn't even cross the room to sit at the piano! However, one day I saw Rhapsody in Blue at the movies - the life story of George Gershwin and that was it! I rushed home and sat down at the piano in my pyjamas just like Robert Alda in the movie and scribbled musical notes on stave paper that I took from my sister. I must have driven her mad with my questions about music, but… In a few days I was 'torturing' some popular songs. I remember I even bought the sheet music to Ary Barroso's Brazil which was a big success at the time. In a short while I was a regular at the Ceara Radio Club where one of my cousins was a musician. We ended up forming a trio (piano, guitar and bass) and we played on the weekly programme on Radio Iracema which had just started broadcasting. I must have been around 16 at the time. At the same time, I was the sports editor of the newspaper Diario de Povo. At 18 I wanted to study architecture but as there was no way to do this in Ceara, I went to Rio to try my luck. Once I arrived some friends managed to get me playing each midday on Radio Roquete Pinto which still exists. My musical career really began with this, because this is where I met Luizinho Eça, Johnny Alf, Geraldo Vandré, Sergio Ricardo (who in those days played piano like Carmen Cavallero) and others - amongst whom was Juquinha, a great drummer, who insisted that I meet Tom Jobim who was a great friend of his, and had just began his career as an arranger. In the 50s you played bass with Luiz Bonfa and Donato, and those guys…Not exactly. My time playing bass came about like this. At Radio Roquete Pinto, Johnny Alf, who played at the Plaza Bar, asked Luiz Eça who was going to São Paulo to see if he didn't want to form a trio with him. Luiz said yes right away, then called me and said - "We're forming a trio with Alf - you're on bass!" I was like, what? I've never played bass! He said, "Don't worry, you play the piano right? So you're used to playing 5, 6, 7 notes at the same time, playing chords? Then you shouldn't have any difficulty playing just one note!" So off we went, signed the contract and with the advance I bought a bass… We had just one week to rehearse before we started to play. Well, at great personal cost - blisters and bleeding fingers, [and asking the guys to let me stick bits of tape onto the neck so I could remember where C was], I managed to play reasonably well to the point where I began to get called in for session work. I even recorded with Maestro Radames Gnattali Quintet and took part in the first bossa nova recording produced by Aloisio de Oliveira alonsgide Nara Leao, Carlos Lyra, Roberto Menescal and others. At the Plaza Bar we had real success! I made a lot of friends there, including a guitarist who I'd go and see whenever I had time off. He was with the Steve Bernard Orquestra at the Boite Plaza (the Plaza Hotel had a bar and a club) and we recorded the LP Uma Noite no Plaza for the Radio label. Then suddenly Luiz Eça told us that he'd got a grant to study at a conservetoire in Vienna and so we had no more trio. Zé Augusto the Plaza Bar owner suggested that I take over the piano chair as I'd been filling in between breaks anyway, and we form new trio. That's how the Hotel Plaza Trio started. So I called up my new guitarist friend and said "you've got to join us." That's how Baden Powell became part of my trio. He must have been all of 18 years old. He also suggested Luiz Marinho for the bass. So we rehearsed and rehearsed and rehearsed; then came one more last minute change to the line up. Zé Augusto wanted us to have a singer, so Baden suggested a girl who sang on Radio Mayrink Veiga who was billed as the 'Princess of the Baiao' - Claudette Soares. From our debut we were a great success… I got to know some great people like Silvia Telles, Carlos Lyra, Miele & Boscoli, Garoto, even the great Ary Barroso. But our little group of friends, with whom we stayed all night drinking and improvising Hi-Los style vocals - that was me, Joao Donato, Joao Gilberto, Tom Jobim and Milton Banana. It was around this time that Luiz Bonfa asked me to record with him and we did the LP Noite e Dia, Luiz Bonfa & Eduardo Lincoln on Continental. This was in 1956 and my name was still Eduardo Lincoln. I played on a number of Bonfa records but always as pianist. I don't remember having played bass with him. In fact, that LP was bootlegged as Passeio No Rio by Ed Lincoln & Luiz Bonfa As far as Donato goes, we were great friends but we only played together in one group put together by Maestro Copinha, the flautist, with me on piano, and Donato on accordion which, as you know, was his first instrument. How did you move from the piano to the organ?The story behind that it simple. In 1958 I was paying with Djalma Ferreira in the Drink Club - that was the hippest place in night-time Rio. One Friday afternoon, the day when the club would be jam-packed, I got a knock on my door and the Drink bar managers were standing there in an obvious panic. "Get dressed in this and come with us - Djalma's had a terrible accident and the club is full we need you to take his place." Once again, I was in at the deep end - this time to play the organ instead of the piano. We got to the bar where I met the band Miltinho (singer), Waltel Branco (bass), Edson Machado (drums), Araken Peixoto (trumpet), Lila (singer) and Américo (the Drink's other pianist). I didn't even know how to switch on that marvellous B3, with it's illuminated keys and so on. I practised from 5 in the afternoon till around 9pm, and if it hadn't been for the help of my new band mates and the extra 'help' from the barman, I would never have made it to sit down at midnight, switch the thing on and play out Djalma's theme tune. In the end, it went really well and the next day I'd made the headlines. Until Djalma Ferreira got well - he'd been shot in the stomach, by the way - I had a great honeymoon period with the B3 even though it wasn't mine! You always played a lot of American jazz selections on your early records - who were your main influences on organ?Jazz was always one of my passions. I think it began with that Rhapsody In Blue. Back in Ceara, when I was around 14 or so, I always tried to make friends with the rich kids - the ones who had hi-fi systems at home, which were rare in those days, and with them the records I wanted to hear, like Shorty Rogers, Gerry Mulligan, JJ Johnson & Kai Winding, Chet Baker & others. Here in Rio, when I was at the Radio Roquete Pinto, which was a state station, I was always pestering the technicians to play me the enormous acetates they got from the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC). My favourites were by a completely unknown pianist who when I first heard I went nuts over - this guy was Oscar Peterson. For me he was the best. What was your first Ed Lincoln record? There's another story here! When I was playing at Drink and it was such a success that friend of mine who had started his own small label, Helium, asked me to record with him. As there wasn't much of a budget so we did the record as a favour at the Radio Nacional studios in the afternoon of November 2 1958. I remember because it's the 'Day of the Dead' here in Brasil and a holiday. As Helium didn't have any money at all, let alone to do the cover art, they did a deal with the editor of a woman's magazine - this guy would supply the artwork in return for me writing a song and listing him as co-author, interesting huh? But it was worth it because it was due to this guy at Helium that I became Ed Lincoln - he thought that Eduardo Lincoln wasn't commercial enough and he changed the name - well he was right wasn't he? The cover featured a man and a woman and she's whispering into his ear. The title was Ao Teu Ouvido - literally In your Ear. It may seem strange, but this record can still be found today - I found one in Japan selling for $188! You soon started recording for Musidisc, but not just under your own name. What other names did you use and why did you record with pseudonyms?They were lots of names. Nilo Sergio the owner of Musidisc was very creative! He listened and travelled a lot. So he'd call me in and play me a record and ask me to do something similar. Obviously, that's what I did. Why not? I was stretching myself musically and discovering things I didn't know up till then. When Nilo Sergio decided to record Orqestra Nilo Sergio, a very grandiose project, he called me in and told me about the idea. There were to be six classic songs done in bolero time and orchestrated by Radames Gnattali and played by the Orquestra Sinfonica do Teatro Municipal do Rio de Janeiro. The other six songs would be by him and those would be orchestrated by me. I said 'yes' there and then, even though I'd never written for 12 violins, 4 violas and 4 cellos, plus all the rest. It reminded me of Djalma being shot. Still I thought I'd give it a go and left to call Tom Jobim who was writing very well for strings. I asked him for some advice and he said 'Lincoln, if you play it on the piano and it sounds beautiful, you just gotta do the same chords for the strings and it'll be even more beautiful.' And he was right. One of the songs Romantic Partners is still playing on the radios 40 years later! Some of the other names I used at Musidisc were The Lovers, Os 4 Cadillacs, Bob Fleming... quite a few others too. I still do this today. I recently recorded a 'bossa nova' CD for a company in São Paulo that was nominated for a Latin Grammy. The Brasilian newspapers are always writing about the London DJ scene and how artists from the 60s and 70s are big hits here. Your version of Cochise is perhaps the closest thing to a 'hit' since it was first played on British dancefloors in the early 90s - How did you hear about this?The first time was something I read in the society columns in the Globo newspaper. Then friends who were travelling would tell me the same things - Ed Motta, Marcos Valle, Alex Malheiros of Azymuth and other friends. Orlann Divo told us about your banda de bailes and how it was an influence on the samba soul movement- this band had a lot of important musicians pass through it didn't it?Yes we had Orlann Divo, Durval Ferreira, Rubens Bassini, it also helped to launch the careers of Claudio Roditi, Tony Tornado (now a telenovela star), Marcio Monterroyos, Silvio Cezar, who was the founder of the group, Emilio Santiago and Pedrinho Rodrigues another founder member and possessed of the most beautiful male voice I ever heard. Many people thought the same. When Sinatra died my wife said 'there goes the second most beautiful voice in the world'. On this LP (De Savoya SV-8001) you're recording on your own label for the first time. How did that come about and did you record other LPs?I started De Savoya really at the instigation of my right hand man Jorge Ramalhete. In fact he was sometimes my 'both hand man'! But I only recorded this LP and the De Savoya Combo, because soon after I went to the US where I met up with all my old colleagues, Sergio Mendes, Rubens Bassini, Donato, Dom Um and others. But I did record a couple of singles, one of them, Os Lobos, which was a big hit. You've followed pretty much all of the technical advances in the music business. In 89 you recorded and LP for Elenco with versions of your biggest hits using 'programmed' horns and percussion and then did a similar thing on the O Melhor dos Bailes LP on Polydor with Copa 7, Os Devaneios, Rio Show, etc. Today you're building your own website!That record in 89 was a watershed. I had just finished spending some months getting to grips with the computer, I was totally and completely taken over by this new contraption. I was so involved in working with computers that I guess I kind of misplaced the fact that…well; you know what I mean. With regard to this new technology I feel really happy to have been involved with the beginning of the 'Future'. I don't know how I survived before the Internet. And, yes, I am building my own site but I don't want to give out the address just yet before it's exactly what I want I to be. I don't want it end up like that Elenco LP! These days you are seen as one the progenitors of Brasilian music and you've guested on recordings by people like Ed Motta. Do you feel I any way vindicated for your work after so many years 'in the dark' in your own country?In any profession that deals with emotions this sort of thing happens. All the same, I never really felt 'in the dark' here in Brasil. I always found or was found by my admirers. This is a good thing. Also working a lot helps. And daring! Because without daring we end up doing nothing. Isn't that right? And we've got technology here to help. Finally what do you think about whatmusic.com re-issuing this LP in its official form?It's really good. It's very cool. Because, apart from being a way to secure the integrity of my work outside of Brasil, whatmusic.com seems to be run by people who really care about these records and amongst whom I'm certain to find new and good friends and with whom I'll be certain to work on further projects.
Muito obrigado Ed Lincoln!