Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Franco, Mario (Gabriel)

Franco, Mario (Gabriel), doublebass player and composer, dancer; b. Lisbon, Portugal, 20 October 1965. His mother, Carlota Franco, is a ballet teacher and sister Susana Franco (b. Lisbon, Portugal 23 December 1969) is a pianist who completed in 1999 her Master in Music (Piano Performance) in Central Michigan University and is currently completing her Doctor of Musical Arts in Piano Performance and Pedagogy in the University of Iowa.
Mario started music lessons at the age of 4 in Centro de Estudos Gregorianos, where he remained until 1978. After one year in Lisbon Conservatory where he studied harp, singing and music theory he went on to Academia de Amadores de Msica, where he continued his studies in music theory, and started double bass lessons with Fernando Flores, and composition with Pedro Rocha as well as studying chamber music.

At the same time he became interested in jazz, and is a member of the Lisbon Hot Club since 1982 where he began taking lessons with David Gausden and playing in jam sessions; also took part in workshops with Rufus Reid, Niels Henning, Orsted Pederson, Eberhard Weber, etc.

In 1986-87, he attended double-bass courses given by Ludwig Streicher in Estoril and in 1988 won 1st prize in the Prmio Jovens Msicos (Young Musicians Competition; later became a member of Orquestra Sinfnica Juvenil where he worked on classical repertory with conductor Christopher Bochmann.

Since 1984, he plays jazz and improvised music in Portugal and abroad with musicians such as Antnio Pinho Vargas, Mario Laginha, Joo Paulo Esteves de Silva, Bernardo Sasseti, Carlos Martins, Toms Pimentel, Jos Peixoto, Jarmo Savolainen, Jim Leff, Ralph Peterson Jr., Paolo Fresu, Andy Sheppard, Peter Epstein, among others.

He has participated in some of Portugals most important jazz festivals such as Jazz na Cidade 88, 90; Jazz em Agosto (Gulbenkian Foundation)  87, 88, 90, 95; Seixal Jazz Festival in 98, Lisboa em Jazz 90, Festival de Msica dos Capuchos 85, Encontros de Jazz do Algarve 91, Festival Internacional de Faro (Algarve) in 99, Musicalidades 2001,  as well as performing  outside Portugal for instance in Armentires ( Nuit du Jazz Europenne) in 92, in Japan  at the Harmony Hall, Matsumoto City in 97, at Session Haus Underground Studio, Tokyo the same year during a tour of Macau and Japan.

In 1990, he presented his first project based on original compositions and was awarded 1st prize for his group and 2nd prize for composition in the competition "A Juventude e a Msica" (Young People and Music).

Antnio Pinho Vargas Quintet and Carlos Martins Quartet: Lisboa em Jazz (1991); Joo Paulo Esteves da Silva Quartet: Serra sem Fim (1993); Toms Pimentel Septet: Descolagem (1994); Luz Destino (1996); Jos Peixoto (Duet): O Que Me Diz o Espelho d1 gua (2000), A Tempo (2001)

Unissued recordings :
1988: about one hour unissued recordings of original themes by Mario Franco and pianist Jos Castro in a joint project.
1992: 180 minutes private tapes (audio and video) from performance of Mario Franco Septet in Lisbon Hot Club.
Private video recording of the 16 Encontros Gulbenkian de Msica Contempornea (Contemporary Music Festival in 1992), performing Antnio Pinho Vargas "Explicit Drama" for jazz trio and orchestra with conductor Michel Swierczewski.
1993: private tape from Toms Pimentel Sextet live concert in Loures.
1996; as composer and sideman - private tape from a live concert in Lisbon Hot Club of a Quintet  formed by Portuguese musicians  with the intention of playing only original Portuguese Jazz themes.
2001: private CD recording of a live concert in Centro Cultural de Belm in duet with the guitar player Jos Peixoto.
2002: as sideman - private CD recording of live concert at the Lisbon Hot Club with Jarmo Savolainen Quartet.

Radio and television appearances:
(RTP) in 1986 with Mario Laginha trio with Jos Salgueiro (drums) on a program by Lus Villas-Boas and Duarte Mendona 3 Jazz para Todos2. 1993; Live radio broadcast of Toms Pimentel Sextet on RDP.

Has an entry of his own in a book by musicologist Jorge Lima Barreto, "Musa Lusa," Hugin 1997, Lisboa.
Is mentioned for his work with Toms Pimentel in the bilingual quarterly journal The Rle of Jazz written by Jos Duarte, edited by Edies Cotovia, Lda. Lisboa, 1998.

Has composed music for theatre and for dance of which his most important works are Nine Dancers Facing a Mirror and Frida Kahlo, both in 99.

Contact information:
Mario Franco
Rua Manuel Soares Guedes N4 - 1
1170 - 207  Lisboa
Telefone - 21 8120200
Telefone  mvel - 96 3028492 (mobile)
E-mail - mariofranco@mail.telepac.pt
Companhia Nacional de Bailado
Rua Victor Cordon n 20 -1200 Lisboa

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