A highly competent violão (acoustic guitar) player and guitar player, Zé Menezes also became famous for his compositions. From the '40s through the '50s he recorded and performed on the radio regularly with Radamés Gnattali, in the Quarteto Continental, and later with the Quinteto Radamés. Upon the founding of TV Globo, he became its producer, arranger, and composer of soundtracks. Zé Meneses began playing music as a child, and at eight he was invited by conductor Arlindo Cruz to play at cinemas as a professional. That year he wrote his first composition, "Meus Oito Anos." At 11, after playing with Cruz's orchestra, he joined the Banda Municipal de Juazeiro. After 1938, he was hired by Ceará Rádio Club as violonista (acoustic guitarist), forming his own regional group, which played for four years in that incarnation. In 1943 he was hired for Rádio Mayrink Veiga (Rio) by radioman César Ladeira, who was visiting Fortaleza. There, Menezes had two weekly shows, where he solidified his career as a soloist. Menezes played at the Hotel Quitandinha (Petrópolis RJ) and, with the same group of people, in the group Milionários do Ritmo (in 1945). In the next year, he played at the Casablanca nightclub and was hired by Rádio Globo (Rio). Two years later, joined Rádio Nacional (until 1960), where he formed a duo with violonista Garoto. With Luís Bittencourt as his stable partner, he had his composition "Nova Ilusão" recorded by Os Cariocas in 1948 and adopted as their theme song. Along with his own recordings of his compositions, like the hit "De Papo pro Ar," they were also recorded by Nuno Roland ("Mais Uma Ilusão," 1949), Os Cariocas ("Comigo é Assim," 1950), César Ladeira and Heleninha Costa ("Não Interessa Não," 1951), Zezé Gonzaga ("Tudo Azul," 1951), Carmélia Alves ("Viola do Zé," 1951), Gilberto Milfont ("Castigo"), Ernâni Filho ("Cinzas"), flutist Ari Ferreira ("Caititu") and others. In 1959 Menezes formed the group Velhinhos Transviados, which recorded 13 LPs for RCA by 1971. He joined the exceptional Quinteto Radamés, which toured Europe in 1960. In 1995 he released the CD Chorinho in concert (CID).
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