Mário Gaiotto was born in a small town called Tietê, in the State of São Paulo, Brazil. His mother came from a family of extremely poor Italian immigrants, but with an enormous musical culture. Due to this cultural heritage, it was very common to find her at home listening to Bach, Villa-Lobos, Dave Brubeck, Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra, Elis Regina, Tom Jobim, Milton Nascimento and so many other great names.
At the age of ten he managed to get a drumset from his father, even though his father tried to persuade him to exchange the drums for a toy car. After some months of learning he was admitted to one of the most important conservatories in Latin America, the Dr. Carlos de Campos Dramatic and Musical Conservatory - or simply Conservatory of Tatuí, as it is internationally known. At age 16, he decided to pursue a professional career, being accepted at three of the most important universities in Brazil – USP, UNESP and UNICAMP.
Gaiotto was a founder member of Mandu Sarará group, a quintet of Jazz and Brazilian instrumental music. With this group he recorded two albums, the first, produced by Swami Jr. (guitarist and arranger/Omara Portuondo) with special appearances by Nailor Proveta (clarinetist, composer and arranger/Mantiqueira band) and Hermeto Pascoal; the second with the participation of Danilo Caymmi (singer, composer, flutist/ Banda Nova de Antônio Carlos Jobim). The group performed national tours covering several cities in Brazil - one of these tours being curated by the most important jazz journalist in the country, Zuza Homem de Mello - and international tours in the United States and India.
He was a sideman for Antônio Nóbrega, one of the most respected artists in Brazilian music, especially concerning rhythms of the Northeast of Brazil, such as Frevo, Maracatu, Ciranda, Coco, Baião, etc. At this time, he established himself as an important drummer for Brazilian music, even being mentioned in drum books in Brazil. With Antônio Nóbrega he recorded the album and DVD of the show “Lunário Perpétuo”, the albums “Nove de Frevereiro volumes I & II and the DVD “Nove de Frevereiro”, in which he has the opportunity to act as drummer for the Spok Frevo Orquestra, a very famous Big Band in Brazil. Also with Antônio, he toured throughout Brazil for several years, performing mainly in large and traditional theaters in Brazilian state capitals. In some of these concerts there were special appearances by big names in Brazilian music, among them Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil and Paulinho da Viola. He also played in several editions of the Recife Carnival, which is the most traditional in Brazil, and toured Portugal, Russia and France.
At this stage of his career, Gaiotto had the opportunity to study with Professor Cláudio Leal Ferreira, considered by many to be one of the greatest teachers of Harmony and Arrangement in Brazil. The classes brought him a new understanding of the universe of chords and composition, allowing Gaiotto to finally achieve the desired results in his compositions. Although Gaiotto had always had the habit of listening to music from other countries, it was during this period that he became more interested in contemporary Jazz created around the world, which would give him the basis for composing using musical influences not only from Brazil, but also from other regions of the world.
In his more than 20-year career, Mario Gaiotto has occasionally worked with countless musicians and artists, especially in the field of Brazilian music, but also jazz and rock. Among them, some stand out, such as jazz pianist Benjamim Taubkin, with whom he had the opportunity to record a film score and play in various situations, one of them with the presence of Israeli percussionist Itamar Doari (Avishai Cohen, bass player); pianist Hércules Gomes, with whom he performed at the Jazz Plaza festival, in Cuba; clarinetist Nailor Proveta, leader of the Banda Mantiqueira; accordionist Toninho Ferragutti; the saxophonist Teco Cardoso; by the French singer-songwriter Nicolas Són.
He also worked playing at night in the city of São Paulo, in bars, restaurants and concert halls, playing samba, jazz, Brazilian music and rock. He was hired as drummer for some musical franchises, such as Rock in Rio, Shrek, Aida and We Will Rock You, the latter with part of the team coming from the original English show.
In 2018, shortly after his marriage, he spent six months with his wife in Portugal, on a kind of half-year sabbatical. He enrolled at the “Luiz Villas-Boas” Jazz School of the Hot Clube de Portugal and studied with the drummer Bruno Pedroso, the most requested drummer in the Portuguese jazz scene.
Upon returning to Brazil in 2019, he applied for a contest offered by the government of the State of São Paulo. He was awarded a tour of six shows across the state, where he would present his compositions in trio, but the pandemic prevented the shows from being held. The funds were redirected to recording a presentation in the studio, to be shown by ten municipalities in the state, through social media.