Former founding member of the Som Imaginário -- which, along with its individual work, accompanied Milton Nascimento, Elis Regina, Gal Costa, Fafá de Belém, Sueli Costa, Carlinhos Vergueiro, and Jards Macalé in live performances and recordings -- in the 1980s Luís Alves also formed with Luís Eça and Robertinho Silva the O Triângulo trio. Alves has also performed with Tom Jobim, Chico Buarque, Dori Caymmi, Sivuca, Gal Costa, Nana Caymmi, and others.
At eight, Alves took up the guitar and, at 15, he formed the Trio Guanabara, performing at Rádio Mayrink Veiga. Having switched to the double bass in 1962, Alves performed at the famed club Sacha's (Rio) with Maestro Cipó, Abel Ferreira, and K-Chimbinho. In the '60s, he also worked with Paulo Moura and Egberto Gismonti. In 1970, he formed with Wagner Tiso, Zé Rodrix, Robertinho Silva, Laudir de Oliveira (later replaced by Naná Vasconcellos), and Tavito the Som Imaginário. Leaving the group in 1972, Alves went to Los Angeles, CA, where he performed with George Duke, Airto Moreira, and Hermeto Pascoal, among others. In 1978, he participated in the I Festival Internacional de Jazz de São Paulo (International Jazz Festival of São Paulo) and in the Free Jazz Festival, with João Donato.