A composer who has had his songs recorded by Caetano Veloso (who had success in 1972 with "Barão Beleza"), Gal Costa (the hit "Passarinho," 1973), Tom Zé, Elza Soares, Fagner, Gereba, Jussara Silveira, and Osvaldinho do Acordeon, among others, Tuzé De Abreu also has worked intensively as an writer of soundtracks. As an instrumentalist, Abreu has performed in live shows and recordings for the Doces Bárbaros (and its individual members), Caetano Veloso, Gal Costa, Gilberto Gil, Maria Bethânia, Isaac Karabicheswsky, Rosinha de Valença, João Donato, Walter Smetak, Morais Moreira, Luís Melodia, Cauby Peixoto, Chico Buarque, and Carlinhos Brown, among others. He was the first saxophonist to perform as a soloist in "trios elétricos," having been the musical director of the "trios elétricos" Brilhaê and Panela. Abreu toured internationally with Quarto Crescente (traveling several times to Europe, Africa, and the Americas, also doing carnival performances in Canada and Lagos, Nigeria), the Balé Brasileiro da Bahia (as a musician and musical director), Os Ingênuos, and the folklore group Viva Bahia (later called Banda Afro Baiana do Pelô), having participated in the show Bahia de Todos os Sambas (Rome, Italy, 1983). As a solo artist he performed during a three week tour in New York and Washington. Abreu was also the musical director of the group that performed at the Stockholm Opera during the festivities for the 50th anniversary of Queen Silvia (a Brazilian).
His first recorded composition was "Meteorango Kid" on the single Justamente. His composition "Lá Vou Eu" (with Tom Zé) won second place at the Festival de Música Carnavalesca (Festival of Carnaval Music of Salvador, Bahia). Abreu also wrote soundtracks for theater plays (A Boa Alma Set-Suan by Bertolt Brecht, directed by Jorge Salomão; Suburra; Cordel; and Assis Valente), dance shows (Os Sertões [with Tom Zé], Choque Eletrônico, and Viagem de Coração), and films (Gamal, O Delírio do Sexo , A Lenda do Ubirajara [1974; winner of the first prize for its soundtrack in the Festival of Lage, Santa Catarina], and Tenda dos Milagres by Nelson Pereira dos Santos). His song "Meteorango Kid" inspired the film of the same name by André Luis de Oliveira. Abreu appears in Caetano Veloso's film O Cinema Falado, singing Walter Smetak's "Uibitu." In 2000, Abreu was the musical director of the group that opened Caetano Veloso and Maria Bethânia's show at the Atlântico auditorium at the Expo Park in Lisbon, Portugal, during the commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the finding of Brazil. In the next year, Fagner re-recorded his song "Você e Tu" (with Gereba) under the title "Eu e Tu." In the same year, Abreu did the musical direction for the group Barravento in Paris, France, and launched his first solo CD, Tuzé de Abreu.