"...When I see such a young man so far from America, playing the blues so well, I feel happy and proud that my mission in this life is done"
B.B. King - Dec. /98
When the average fan thinks of hotbeds of the blues, he or she thinks of cities like Chicago, Austin, and Memphis, and even such far-flung outposts as London and Paris. That's all set to change, however, as this red-hot Brazilian, guitarist Big Gilson a TopCat Records artist, is poised to put Rio de Janeiro on the blues map.
Big Gilson, was born in Rio in 1959, and plays guitar since the age of 15, when he first time listen to a Johnny Winters record, and decided what he wanted to do for the rest of his life.
A founding member of the wildly successful Brazilian blues-rock quintet Big Allanbik (Portuguese for "Big Whiskey Still") Gilson and Co. have released four CDs in their native country, and honed their chops the last ten years giging on their own (in Brazil, Argentina, Europe and America) and as the opening act for Steve Winwood on his Brazilian tour, Johnny Rivers (70.000 people audience), and master B.B. King on his most recent tour of Brazil. While touring America, and giging at such clubs as Miami's Tobacco Road, New York's Blue Note, and all over Chi-town, the band knocked out such blues gods as Duke Robillard, Lonnie Brooks, Magic Slim, Saffire, Walter "Wolfman" Washington and Buddy Guy, who extended the Boy from Brazil an open invitation to play his Legends Club anytime.
The most important venues where he played gigs:
BLUE NOTE - NY
BB KING'S - NY
BUDDY GUY`S LEGENDS - Chicago
KENNEDY CENTER - Washington DC
NATIONAL GALLERY OF ART - Washington DC
BBQUE BLUES BATTLE (50.000 pessoas) - Washington DC
BAMBOO ROOM - Florida
TOBACCO RD - Florida
BLUE CAT BLUES - Dallas, Texas
THE MUDDY WATERS - Dallas, Texas
VIII FESTIVAL DE BLUES CIUDAD DE CORDOBA - Córdoba, Espanha
SALA ARENA - Madrid, Espanha
GUITAR CLUB - Buenos Aires
Featured on TV on Washington News Channel 4, 6 o'clock news for "Blues from Brazil
CAB DRIVER BLUES was released the spring of 2000 in North America on the Dallas, Texas based blues label, the TopCat Records. LIVE AT THE BLUE NOTE - NY, recorded live at the greatest jazz club in the world. The club rarely opens its doors to the Blues, the exceptions being the likes of BB King, Ray Charles and Dr John is also released on the same label.The show is a milestone for BIG GILSON, as it is a testimony and a celebration of his solo career in the US. This all-star band and crew provide the proper foundation, which allows him to not only express, but overflow the feeling and adrenaline. A musical experience that can only be captured on a live album.
Now, he is currently releasing "PURO FEELING", a brand new CD with 11 originals that celebrates the 10th year of an international career that gave him the the opportunity to listen to and play with some very unique blues musicians whose influences strongly influenced and forged his unique style.
Songs such as "The One And Only One", "945 / 106 Blues" and "Dog Face Baby', have "that Texas feel". "Fechada Pra Mim" is a southern rock ballad sung in Portuguese. "Hey Now Baby" has the feel of the Mississipi Delta. The song "Puro Feeling", comes all the way from Chicago. You'll experience the British Blues Rock style on "Let Me Be Free". The tribute to the "Big Masters" are "Mr. Freeze" (Albert Collins), "Lully" (Dickey Betts(, and "Baby Please Don't Go" (the great Muddy Waters), the only cover song on this CD.
After hearing his CDs, and seeing him live, you'll know that this is some hot bluesman. Not hot Brazilian bluesman, mind you, but hot bluesman period. Stylistically, his performances range from gutbucket electric blues to blues-rock with stops in New Orleans and Memphis.
There are lots of bands out there, in America and around the world , who play the blues. They play the blues but you can tell they don't feel the blues. Big Gilson is most definitely not one of those bands. This boy may hail from Rio, but he plays like he was born and raised in South Oak Cliff, and there is no higher testament a native Texan and lifelong blues freak can give.
John Nova Lomax - Music Independent Magazine, Houston-Texas.
"...His slide playing is disturbingly vituosic..." - Tim Schuller - MET MUSIC - Texas - Dez. 99
..."This CD confirms Big Gilson as the best Brazilian blues guitarist" Jornal do Brasil - March / 99
"...Excellent guitar solos full of feelings and powerful slide playing. He's vibrato is super cool..." Guitar Player Magazine - February / 99
"... Good guitar work and nice slide..." Bruce Iglauer - Alligator Records - 96
"...The king of the slide guitar..." A Tarde- Salvador, Bahia - 2001
"...Big Gilson is an excellent guitarist as well as a splendid slide guitarist and a fine song writer in addition. He plays a scorching electric slide. Watch for great things to come in the future from this very fine artist..." Tom Branson (Bluesrockers - 2002)
"...The United States birthplace and home of the Blues has been invaded again by another bona fide "Blues Man" from a foreign shore: "Blues Man," not just a player of blues but a musician who demonstrates through his interpretation and musicianship that blues courses through his veins with every beat of his heart.. " The Delta Snake, by Michael Roberts - 2002)
"...You can't confine an artistic idiom, or creative spirit. Blues, the quintessential music form of the USA, reached across continents and seized Brazilian singer/guitarist Big Gilson. The music's good and so is the message. This is cross-culturalism of an inspiring form. A workingman's musical form from the USA found its way to South America where it was embraced by a dedicated, open-minded musician, who honed his skills in the face of naysayers, and presently enjoys respect from blues communities in two nations. In other words, barriers ceased to be, as art, artist, and folk met on an agreeable common ground. If we could accomplish such melding in other matters in this geopolitical era, we would be on far firmer ground as a species..." Tim Schuller - Dallas, Texas
Tim Schuller edited Music Hound Blues: The Essential Album Companion (Schirmer '02), and has written for Blues Access, Living Blues, Downbeat, the Dallas Observer, and other publications.
"...this guy knows what he is doing with the guitar..." (Elias Nogueira, Jornal das Gravadoras - 2004)