Bola Sete

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Bola Sete
Bola Sete 1967.jpg
Background information
Birth name Djalma de Andrade
Born (1923-07-16)July 16, 1923
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Died February 14, 1987(1987-02-14) (aged 63)
Genres Bossa nova, samba, jazz
Occupation(s) Musician, composer
Instruments Guitar
Years active 1952–1987
Labels Fantasy, Takoma, Puchito
Associated acts Vince Guaraldi, John Fahey

Bola Sete (born Djalma de Andrade) (July 16, 1923 – February 14, 1987) was a Brazilian guitarist. Sete played jazz with Vince Guaraldi as well as with Dizzy Gillespie. His song "Bettina" was featured on the "Tribe Vibes" breakbeat compilation, as it had been sampled by the musical group A Tribe Called Quest.


Born in Rio de Janeiro, Bola Sete's name means "Seven Ball". In Brazilian billiards, the seven ball is the only black ball on the table, and Bola got this nickname when he was the only black member of a small jazz group.[1]

Sete studied guitar at the Conservatory of Rio and started performing with his own sextet and local samba groups while he was still a student. His early influences were guitarists Django Reinhardt, Charlie Christian, Barney Kessel, George Van Eps, and Oscar Moore (of the Nat King Cole Trio). He also admired the big bands that were touring South America at that time: Dizzy Gillespie, Tommy Dorsey, Woody Herman.

His career started in 1952 when he played clubs and hotels in Italy for four years. Then he returned to Brazil and started touring all of South America, during which time the manager of Sheraton Hotels noticed him and decided to bring him to the US to play in the hotels. He played for New York's Park Sheraton, then moved to San Francisco to play in the Sheraton Palace. Dizzy Gillespie was staying there at the time and listening to Sete playing every day. When Gillespie decided to bring his pianist, Lalo Schifrin, to the hotel, he discovered that Schifrin and Sete had already played together in Argentina. This meeting was the beginning of Sete's success in the US. In the fall of 1962, Gillespie took Sete to the Monterey Jazz Festival, where he enjoyed a huge success.[1]

He toured with Gillespie, then returned to San Francisco, where he joined the Vince Guaraldi trio. Sete was well known in the US, and his partnership with Guaraldi yielded several well-received recordings. After staying for a couple of years with Guaraldi, Sete formed his own trio with his fellow Brazilians Sebastião Neto (bass) and Paulinho da Costa (drums). With this trio, he appeared at the Monterey Jazz Festival in 1966 and released an album of his performance, which peaked at No. 20 on the Billboard Jazz chart]].[2]

In the 1970s, Sete became friends with guitarist John Fahey, who had been an admirer.[3] In 1975, Fahey used his Takoma label to release Ocean, which comprises recording sessions from 1972. The album is now seen as one of Sete's greatest accomplishments.


During the eighties, Sete suffered from lung cancer, which he attempted to counter with yoga and meditation. On February 14, 1987, Bola Sete died at Marin General Hospital in Greenbrae, California of complications caused by pneumonia and cancer.[4] The compositions he recorded shortly before his death were compiled and released as Windspell in 2008.[5]

Partial discography[edit]


  1. ^ a b Neder, Alvaro. "Bola Sete: Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 21 September 2011. 
  2. ^ "Bola Sete at the Monterey Jazz Festival - Awards". Allmusic. Retrieved October 14, 2012. 
  3. ^ John Fahey (February 1975). "Bola Sete, the nature of infinity, and John Fahey". Guitar Player. 
  4. ^ "Guitarist Bola Sete Dies at Age 63". Associated Press. February 15, 1987. Retrieved October 14, 2012. 
  5. ^ Meyer, Bill (April 8, 2009). "Bola Sete - Windspell". Dusted Magazine. Retrieved October 14, 2012. 

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