Composer of more than 1,000 titles, many of them consecrated as important songs of the Golden Age of Song in Brazil, José Maria has been recorded by many top interpreters, having also had a noted career as professional musician.
Son of a conductor who played almost all instruments, José Maria began his musical studies very early. In 1922, Maria already was the first trumpet of his school band, having written then the anthem of the school. In 1926, Maria began to play trumpet, violin, and then piano at the local cinema (Itapetininga SP). In the next year, he substituted as the conductor of the Otília Amorim revue company. He moved to São Paulo SP in 1928 and was employed as a pianist by Casas Sotero Gaó and Di Franco. Worked as conductor in the Teatro Boa Vista. From that year on, his early compositions began to be recorded by Januário de Oliveira, Paraguaçu, and even Francisco Alves ("Recordando," "Viver Sem Amar Alguém"). In 1933, Maria moved to Rio, winning the newspaper A Noite's contest with "Promessa." The song was recorded by Gastão Formenti. Hired as pianist by Rádio Mayrink Veiga in 1933, continued in the job for five years. In 1934, he wrote the operetta "Sonho Azul." This year marked his association with Francisco Matoso, which would create many important songs. In 1938, he became the pianist of Rádio Clube. In 1948, Maria began another fruitful collaboration, with Jair Amorim, which produced, among other fine songs, "Um Cantinho e Você," "Ponto Final," "Alguém Como Tu," all recorded with great success by Dick Farney.