"The crystalline beauty of his arrangements is matched by the rare delicacy with which they are interpreted. Castro-Neves is incapable of creating a dull moment, but that is an understatement: He is only capable of generating rhythmic, harmonic and melodic joy." (Leonard Feather, jazz critic)
OSCAR CASTRO-NEVES was born May 15, 1940, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, one of triplets in a highly musical family. Along with Antonio Carlos Jobim, João Gilberto and a handful of other young composers, he emerged in the early 1960s as one of the founding figures of the musical movement that became known worldwide as Bossa Nova. At the age of sixteen Oscar's first recorded song, "Chora Tua Tristeza," became a national hit in Brazil, and generated over fifty recordings by various artists. In 1962, a year before "The Girl From Ipanema" became a Top 10 hit, twenty-two year old Oscar spearheaded the Bossa Nova invasion in the U.S., playing a central role as a performer at the historic debut Bossa Nova concert at Carnegie Hall.
Oscar then toured with his quartet in the company of the Dizzy Gillespie Quintet, the Stan Getz Quartet, and the Lalo Schifrin Trio. In 1971 he joined the Sergio Mendes' Brazil '66 group as the featured guitarist, musical director and vocal coach. When he left the group in 1981, he had recorded more than 15 albums with Mendes, several of which he co-produced.
Oscar’s guitar artistry has been featured on countless jazz and pop star’s albums, including Ella Fitzgerald, Michael Jackson, Barbara Streisand, Stevie Wonder, Barry Manilow, and Quincy Jones.
Among the many distinguished albums Oscar has produced are “Color and Light - Jazz Sketches on Sondheim”, chosen as one of the Top Jazz Albums of the year by Billboard Magazine and one of the Ten Best Albums of the year by Time Magazine; “Double Rainbow”, Joe Henderson's tribute to the music of Jobim, picked as one of the Top Jazz Albums of the year by Billboard and nominated for a Grammy Award; and “Soul of the Tango” by cellist Yo-Yo Ma, a Grammy winner for best cross-over album and a platinum album in Japan, Harry Belafonte's platinum-selling album, “The Tradition of Christmas”; jazz harmonica legend Toots Thieleman's critically acclaimed “Brasil Project I and II”, “João Gilberto in Mexico”; “Two Worlds” by Stan Getz; “Common Ground” and “Missa Gaia” with saxophonist Paul Winter.
His film scores include “Blame it on Rio”, featuring Michael Caine and Demi Moore. He arranged and orchestrated “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”, “L.A. Story”, “Sister Act II”, “House Sitter”, “Dunston Checks In”, “He Said, She Said”, “Getting Even with Dad”, and “Gabriella”. TV credits include the musical score for the Julia Louis-Dreyfus TV series “Watching Ellie”, and producing and starring in the television special “Reflections through a Brazilian Eye” for KCET, which was nominated for an Emmy Award. He is one of the featured artists on the PBS series, "Legends of Jazz".
As a musical director the list is long, from Carnegie Hall to the Hollywood Bowl, where for seven years Oscar performed a night of Brazilian music, that featured every top artist from Brazil. The globally broadcast television special and DVD “Jobim and Friends”, with Herbie Hancock, Shirley Horn, Gal Costa and other jazz greats was produced under Oscar's musical direction.
As a solo artist, Oscar recorded over a dozen albums, including “Maracujá”, “Playful Heart” and “All One”. Oscar has been touring the world with his all-star band, high-lighted by a concert in Sydney, Australia with over 100,000 in attendance.
Six decades of accomplishment and musical acclaim have demonstrated an inherent musical genius, that has made Oscar one of the world's most complete musicians of his generation. His native country, Brazil, honored Oscar with title of “Officer of the Order of Rio Branco”, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the dissemination of Brazilian culture and music around the world.