Originally from the Brazilian village of Santa Cruz, Luiz Bonfa was recognized as a prodigy at a young age, and began his studies with renowned teacher Isaias Savio. Luiz’s early years as a professional were spent working in the clubs and casinos around Rio de Janeiro. In 1946, he was discovered by Brazil's largest radio network, Radio Nacional, and his reputation as an instrumentalist and composer grew rapidly.
Luiz went to New York in 1957 where he made his home until 1970. During this time, he made more than 30 records and was featured with jazz greats such as Stan Getz, Bobby Scott, Ron Carter, Stanley Clarke and Antonio Carlos Jobim.
But perhaps the most important event in Bonfa's career took place when French Director Marcel Camus approached Luiz to score the film Black Orpheus. Bonfa’s composition “Manha de Carnival” became the film’s theme song. One year later, Black Orpheus won first prize at the Cannes Film Festival, (it later won the Academy Award for "Best Picture"), and "Manha de Carnaval" was the number one most popular song worldwide (it remains the second most recorded song ever.)
Luiz's range of compositions includes "The Gentle Rain," a classic for the standard jazz repertoire, as well as a hit song he composed for Elvis Presley, "Almost In Love."
Luiz's release for Chesky Records, Non-Stop To Brazil, was his first recording in more than fifteen years. It is an intimate portrait. The uncomplicated instrumentation of guitar and percussion (with the exception of a few guitar duets) provides a showcase for Bonfa's subtle compositions and his breathtaking technical skill on guitar.