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José Canha was born in Setúbal, Portugal and began his musical journey as a lead vocalist for various alternative-rock bands during his late teens. During this period he explored a range of musical instruments developing a strong affinity for those in the lowest register. Working with a diverse range of talented musicians, he gained an eclectic musical background, which ignited a growing passion for blues and jazz music.
After completing his army service, Canha abandoned his earlier academic intentions to dedicate himself to an in-depth study of his newfound passions: the bass and Black American music. He co-founded the blues band "Charlie & the BluesCats," which supported two B.B. King shows at the Lisbon and Porto coliseums, earning the band a reputation as one of Portugal's top blues acts and performing on several European jazz and blues festivals.
Although initially self-taught, José sought further instruction to help him unlock the most intricate musical complexities he faced when dealing with jazz and related music. He began his electric bass study with Yuri Daniel, the bassist for Jan Garbarek, and later progressed towards the double bass, initiating his classical studies under Miguel Leiria Pereira. He also studied at the Escola de Jazz do Barreiro where he would soon became a teacher. Next he obtained a Bachelor (Honours) degree from the Escola Superior de Música de Lisboa, followed by a Postgraduate Diploma Degree from the Universidade de Évora and later a Masters Degree from the London College of Music/University of West London.
Today, José is an accomplished jazz double bassist and has collaborated with a range of projects across various genres and styles, from Bossa Nova, Jazz, Blues, R&B, Manouche, Rock, Funk, and Fado, in ensembles ranging from duets to orchestras and theatre production sets. Before moving to the UK, Canha's work was mainly focused on popular and world music fusion, working closely with the pianist and composer Valter Rolo. Now based in the UK, he has been mostly focused on Jazz music and had the privilege of performing all over the country, sharing the stage with esteemed artists such as Greg Abate, Nigel Price, Jim Mullen, Quentin Collins, Simon Spillett, Julian Stringle, Art Themen, and many more."
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