Raised in Rio de Janeiro, the second largest Afro-Brazilian population in Brazil, Zé Maurício grew up immersed in the percussive traditions of his homeland.
Zé Maurício moved to NYC in 1994. Soon after, he met percussionist Cyro Baptista who became a mentor and a friend. Since then, Zé has performed and worked with names like Joanne Brackeen, Eddie Gomez, DK Dyson, Paquito D'Rivera, Nilson Matta, Hélio Alves, Romero Lubambo, Vic Juris, Hendrik Meurkens, Seu Jorge, and Naná Vasconcelos, Dionne Warwick, Harry Belafonte, and Arturo O'Farrill.
Zé is an original member of the acclaimed project, “Cyro Baptista's: Beat the Donkey” Band - a international percussion ensemble that tours the U.S.,Africa, and Europe. He is also the percussionist in Choro Ensemble, the only band dedicated to Choro music style in NYC. Choro Ensemble was elected the Best Weekly Jazz Gig in Manhattan by TimeOut Magazine in 2002 and has played at Carnegie Hall twice. Choro Ensemble has had 3 major successful tours in Brazil in 2005, 2006 & 2007 and were invited to play at the "Brazilian David Letterman" ‐ Jô Soares TV Show.
Since 2000, Zé has been playing at Cafe Wha? in one of the most famous Brazilian nights in the U.S. with a band that has been elected the most popular and accomplished Brazilian ensemble in the NYC scene, playing uninterrupted for over 15 years.
Some of the highlights of Zé's career in the United States has been performing with Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra in 2005 ("Carnival on Broadway - The Music of Brazil" concert series) and recording a Grammy Award winning CD with Yo-Yo Ma ("Obrigado Brazil!"). In 2006, Zé Maurício had the honor of joining the legendary trombonist, Slide Hampton, in his Tom Jobim Tribute Band.
In 2006 Zé Maurício signed on with Contemporânea as an endorsee in an all Brazilian Percussion line.