Drummer, Percussionist, Composer and Educator
Drummer VANDERLEI PEREIRA is one of the most sought-after musicians on the contemporary Brazilian jazz scene. Combining a prodigious knowledge of Brazilian rhythms with dazzling technique and a distinctive touch, Vanderlei has captivated audiences with his unique and electrifying performances. He has appeared and recorded with numerous outstanding artists, including Toots Thielemans, Airto Moreira and Flora Purim, Rosa Passos, Leny Andrade, Tito Puente, Arturo O’Farrill’s Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra, Claudio Roditi, Romero Lubambo, Bebel Gilberto, Leila Pinheiro, Emílio Santiago, Sivuca, Nelson Faria, Luis Carlos Vinhas, Rildo Hora, Quarteto em Cy, Johnny Alf, Manfredo Fest, Hendrik Meurkens, Helio Alves, Dom Salvador, Weber Iago, Santi Debriano, Margareth Menezes, Beth Carvalho, Nei Lopes, Geraldo Azevedo, Amelinha, and Jamelão.
Vanderlei has performed at many top jazz clubs, concert halls and festivals (as both a sideman and as the leader of the Brazilian jazz group Blindfold Test) including Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, the Blue Note, Birdland, Iridium, the Jazz Standard, Sweet Rhythm, Smoke, B.B. King’s, SOB’s, the Zinc Bar, the Savannah Jazz Festival, the Hartford Jazz Festival, the Madrid Jazz Festival, the Taichung (Taiwan) Jazz Festival, the Syracuse Jazz Festival and the Village Gate, among others. He has also toured throughout Brazil, the United States, Russia and Canada.
Vanderlei has recorded extensively in both the U.S. and Brazil in a wide variety of styles (see discography below). He received high praise from Modern Drummer magazine for his performance on Nando Lauria’s Points of View (Narada): “Pereira’s . . . interpretation of Zydeco-like baião, the martial ciranda and more syncopated maracatú, and the driving, straight-ahead xote, offers glimpses of the richness of Brazil beyond Bossa, and demonstrate some great rhythmic ideas . . . ”
A respected educator, Vanderlei’s knowledge of harmony and theory (as well as his proficiency on bass, guitar and piano) has enabled him to teach Brazilian music to all musicians, regardless of their primary instrument. He has developed a highly original method of teaching Brazilian music performance principles in a classroom setting in addition to giving private instruction on drumset and percussion. Vanderlei is an adjunct faculty member at the City College of New York (CUNY) and the New School. He has also taught at the Drummers Collective and has given master classes at the Berklee College of Music, the New School, Rutgers University, University of the Arts (Philadelphia), and the University of Delaware. In addition, he has been a featured guest artist/instructor at the Escola de Música de Brasilia’s intensive summer program. Vanderlei is an official endorser of LP Percussion.
Vanderlei Pereira's proficiency on the drumset extends beyond his mastery of Brazilian rhythms. He received a Diploma in Jazz Studies from the Mannes College of Music in New York City, where he studied with the renowned jazz drummers John Riley and Vernel Fournier. In addition, Vanderlei has studied with the Latin jazz drum and percussion masters Ignacio Berroa, Bobby Sanabria and Johnny Almendra. He has incorporated these diverse influences into his playing and, as a result, has earned the respect of both straight-ahead and Latin jazz musicians on the demanding New York scene, where he is widely admired and respected for his musical versatility.
Vanderlei Pereira received a Diploma and Teaching Certificate from the Academia de Música Lorenzo Fernandes in Rio de Janeiro, with studies in theory, rhythm and sight singing. He was selected as a participant in the Instrumental Preparatory Course of the Orquestra Sinfônica Brasileira in Rio de Janeiro, where his studies included classical percussion, harmony, theory and style analysis. During this period, Vanderlei performed with the Orquestra Sinfônica Brasileira as well.