Rico Baldacci, a Brazilian singer/guitarist, is renowned for his talent in swing jazz. His repertoire consists of gems from the American Songbook, which he skillfully translates into renewed jazz performances alongside his drumless trio, paying homage to his idols Nat King Cole and John Pizzarelli.
After over a decade working as a marketing consultant and university professor, Baldacci chose to entertain audiences and bring the delicacy and joy of a seemingly lost era into his music.
Swing, which reached its peak in the 1930s and 1940s, was originally conceived as entertainment music, often performed by large orchestras. Baldacci draws inspiration from this motivation and adapts the powerful swing of big bands to the drumless trio format.
Referred to as the “Swing Jazz reference in Brazil” by A Tarde newspaper in Salvador, Bahia, Baldacci has accumulated memorable performances throughout his career. At the packed Made In New York Jazz Festival in the United States, held at the Tribecca Arts Center, he played alongside legends Lenny White and Randy Brecker. His performance was met with standing ovations twice at the prestigious International Jazz Festival in Asunción, Paraguay. In Sweden, during the 30th anniversary of the Herrang Dance Camp Festival (the largest and most traditional Lindy Hop dance festival), Baldacci won the Swing Battle award by entertaining a dancing audience, one of his passions. In Brazil, he was chosen by Radio Eldorado to pay tribute to Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra, performed a series of shows at SESC and SESI networks, participated in various festivals like Virada Cultural, I Love Jazz, Rio Santos Jazz Fest, and was a featured act at Blue Note, Bourbon Street, and JazzB venues.
In 2022 and 2023, Rico Baldacci embarked on three tours as a singer and guitarist for the legendary Martin Pizzarelli, accompanied by Larry Fuller and Bob Albanese, touring Buenos Aires, Santos, Curitiba, Porto Alegre, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Brasília, and Itaipava with the Spot on Swing project, an extension of their joint album recorded in 2017. In the same year, leading the Rico Baldacci Trio, with an extensive schedule of performances, he solidified a repertoire of traditional composers such as George Gershwin, Johnny Mercer, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, and Duke Ellington, as a resident artist at Barletta Ristorante.
The years 2020 and 2021 marked a new facet of the musician’s work as the leader of the Rico Baldacci Trio with the release of the Foxtrot na Música Brasileira project within PROAC. In this project, the singer/guitarist showcases the Brazilian music influenced by jazz. With an ambitious repertoire of almost 60 songs, the endeavor encompasses national songs and versions made by samba and choro musicians of classics from the Great American Songbook, with a focus (but not exclusively) on the unexpected years between 1920 and 1960. The names of interpreters like Francisco Alves, Orlando Silva, Nelson Gonçalves blend with Ivete Sangalo and Caetano Veloso, and composers like Noel Rosa, Lamartine Babo, and Braguinha meet those of advertising executive Theo de Barros and modern artist Arthur Nestrovsky.
In 2017, Rico Baldacci visited the Trading 8s Studio in Paramus, NJ, to record a jam session with Martin Pizzarelli (former member of the John Pizzarelli Trio) on bass and Larry Fuller (former member of Ray Brown’s band) on piano. This material became the album Spot on Swing (Tratore 2018), which was mostly recorded on video. It features an improvisational selection of carefully chosen songs from Nat King Cole’s repertoire, with mixing and mastering by Grammy winner Bill Moss.
Recorded in Queens, NY, in 2015, the spontaneous album Brothers in Swing (Tratore 2016) is a tribute to the Pizzarelli family. Baldacci is accompanied by a “dream team” consisting of the late legend Bucky Pizzarelli on guitar, his son Martin Pizzarelli on double bass, and the virtuoso Australian pianist Konrad Paszkudzki. The album exudes camaraderie and showcases rhythm as its trademark.
In May 2014, Rico Baldacci received an invitation from drummer Lenny White (Chick Corea, Return to Forever) and performed at the Made In New York Jazz Festival in the United States. He was introduced by the local press (Brazilian American Chamber of Commerce Journal) as a “fabulous talent in the jazz world” and “one of the brightest stars on the scene.”
In the second half of 2013, he released his first nationally and internationally distributed album, “Tain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do it,” with the participation of the Swedish vocal trio, The Hebbe Sisters. In this CD, the singer/guitarist summed up his recent performances, featuring classics and original compositions. The album includes the award-winning pianist Hercules Gomes and Ricardo Ramos on double bass. It received mentions and positive reviews in several publications, including O Globo (Rio de Janeiro, RJ), A Tarde (Salvador, BA), and Hoje em Dia (Belo Horizonte, MG) newspapers.
In a busy 2012, the Rico Baldacci Trio performed in Sweden under the artistic direction of the esteemed Carling Family in Herrang. The singer/guitarist also established himself within the international Lindy Hop community by participating in LHAIF 2013 (International Lindy Hop Festival in Argentina) and BSOE (Brazil Swing Out Extravaganza).
Rico Baldacci has also recorded or shared the stage with artists such as Howard Alden, Ken Peplowski, Tony Tedesco, Swami Jr., and Hector Costita.