Legendary pianist João Donato returns to LA after 40 years

Legendary Brazilian pianist, producer and arranger João Donato returns to L.A. to recreate his classic Brazilian jazz-funk album “A Bad Donato.” Presented as part of Pacific Standard Time:LA/LA, the show takes place on Saturday, Dec. 2nd at 8pm, at the Royce Hall, UCLA, and features guests Bixiga 70, Mateus Aleluia and Thalma de Freitas – highlighting the influence of Brazil’s music in Los Angeles and vice-versa.


The story between bossa nova icon and the city of Los Angeles starts back in 1970, when Donato worked temporarily in Los Angeles and recorded A Bad Donato, an album that would become a classic of Brazilian instrumental jazz-funk music. Alongside Brazilian musicians like Eumir Deodato and Dom Um Romao, the album also featured U.S. jazz great Bud Shank. Donato was one of many top Brazilian artists—Tom Jobim, Elis Regina, Airto Moreira, Flora Purim, Moacir Santos, Sergio Mendes, Paulinho da Costa, among others—who treated Los Angeles like a Brazilian musical suburb, recording their albums here, playing at clubs across the local Latin and jazz music scenes and collaborating with local bands and solo artists as session players and guest composers. The album was one of many culminations of the influence of bossa, samba and other Afro-Brazilian styles on the global circulation of Brazilian music through Hollywood films and L.A. record labels.

a bad donato

After his California sojourn, Donato went back to Brazil to produce and arrange hit recordings for the likes of Gilberto Gil, Gal Costa and Caetano Veloso. This extraordinary evening at Royce Hall features performances by João Donato backed by Bixiga 70, and Bahia-raised Mateus Aleluia with L.A.-based Brazilian singer Thalma de Freitas, highlighting the importance of Brazil’s influence on the music of L.A., as well as the impact of L.A. on Brazilian music.