São Paulo-born Adriano Santos brings samba-influenced beats to clubs like the Zinc Bar and Miles Café, leading his Brazilian Trio and Quintet. He teaches at the Drummers Collective, focusing on Afro-Caribbean and Brazilian rhythms for drum set, and, in the footsteps of poly-rhythmical Brazilian percussionists like Airto Moreira and the late Dom “Um” Romao, is making an impression on musical New York.

Santos started drumming at age 12, attending his hometown’s well-respected Zimbo Trio samba school. He was a sideman for singer Gal Costa and saxophonist Leo Gandelman, among others, before coming to the states in 1995 to get a B.A. at Berklee College of Music in Boston, then a master’s degree at City College here. Settled in Astoria, he’s performed with cats as diverse as John Pizzarelli and Forro In The Dark. In Session, his debut recording, features renditions of songs by revered Brazilian artists, and one of his own.

Adrian Santos.

Adrian Santos.

To write his tunes, Santos begins with a rhythmical pattern. “I always carry a recordable portable device so at any moment I can record a fresh melody idea by singing into the microphone,” he explains. “When I find a rhythm that’s grooving hard and presents an interesting line, I try to come up with a melody that complements that rhythm.” Rhythm intrinsic: Brazilian style.