One of the most important names in the choro genre, Abel Ferreira had a noted career at the prestigious Rádio Nacional after playing in the orchestras of Vicente Paiva and Bené Nunes. At Rádio Nacional, he became widely known with the Turma do Sereno and the Escola de Danças. Between the '50s and the mid-'60s, he accumulated a good deal of international experience. Throughout that period, the choro genre showed a decrease of interest from audiences, but Ferreira managed to keep himself in good shape, ready to profit on the revival of choro in the '70s as one of the most important names. An excellent improviser, Ferreira had his best moments in recordings with the Cinco Companheiros (where he played with Pixinguinha, among others). His most successful compositions are the choros "Chorando Baixinho" and "Acariciando."
His musical studies began when he was around 12, on the clarinet. At 17, he moved to Belo Horizonte and included the alto and tenor saxes in his playing, starting to perform at Rádio Guarani. In 1935, he moved again, this time to São Paulo SP, where he joined the Maurício Cascapera Orchestra. He moved again to Uberaba MG, where he became the artistic director of a local radio station. In Poços de Caldas MG, he accompanied the sisters Aurora Miranda and Carmen Miranda in a show. Returning to Belo Horizonte, he played with J. França e sua Banda until 1937. In 1940, he performed in São Paulo SP, at the Rádio Tupi, playing later on the same outing with Pinheirinho e seu Regional. In 1941, he moved to Rio de Janeiro RJ, joining the Ferreira Filho e sua Orquestra, who used to play at the sophisticated Cassino da Urca. In the next year, he recorded his choro "Chorando Baixinho" and his valse "Vânia" for Columbia. In 1944, he recorded another version of his two first compositions with Claudionor Cruz e seu Regional. In 1945 and 1946 he played in the orchestras of Bené Nunes and Vicente Paiva. With these orchestras and his own group, formed in 1947, he accompanied the important singers of that period. In 1949, he was hired for Rádio Nacional as the leader of the Turma do Sereno, the name of the show (dedicated to an ancient repertory of modinhas, maxixes, valses, xotes, and polkas) and the group formed by virtuosi Irany Pinto (violin), João de Deus (flute), Sandoval Dias (clarone), Carlos Lentini, Rubem Bergman (violões, or acoustic guitars), and Waldemar de Melo (cavaquinho). In the same year, he played with the Rui Rei e sua Orquestra and recorded his choro "Acariciando" (with Lourival Faisal) for Todamérica. With Paulo Tapajós, he formed the Escola de Ritmos in 1952, who toured throughout Brazil. In 1954, he recorded the LP Jantar Dançante (Copacabana) and, in 1955, No Tempo do Cabaré. He toured Portugal in 1957, and in the following year, toured through several European countries and recorded the LP Os Brasileiros na Europa in the cultural mission that grouped himself alongside conductor Guio de Moraes, Sivuca, Trio Iraquitã, Dimas, and Pernambuco under the name Os Brasileiros. In 1960, he toured the U.S.A. with Bené Nunes, and, in the next year, toured Argentina with Waldir Azevedo. In 1964-1965, he toured Europe again, recording the album Abel Ferreira e Sua Turma. In 1968, he played in the then-U.S.S.R. and European countries. After the recording of Beth Carvalho's album Pra Seu Governo (Tapecar, 1970), he became the most requested accompanist for shows and recordings, also developing his own solo work in shows with trombonist Raul de Barros and clarinetist Copinha. ~ Alvaro Neder