At the age of eight years, he started to study acoustic guitar and, at the same time, was always playing in boxes, furniture, and anything that would produce any sound. When he was 12, electric bass interested him, playing in a band among his family.
His cousins would play the guitar and sing, his sister Ana was playing another guitar, and the drummer was Luiz Paulo, “the german”.
When “the German” missed some rehearsals, Kiko started filling out and by intuition was playing the drums. That was when his passion for his instrument started.
He started playing as a professional in 1987, after studying with Argus Montenegro and at the “Orquestra Sinfônica de Porto Alegre” school.
Kiko was always making researches and studying different techniques and drummers. On Brazilian drumming, Kiko listened e studied drummers like Milton Banana, Edison Machado, Robertinho Silva, Nenê, Carlos Bala, Pascoal Meirelles, Paulo Braga and many others.
In the 90´s, he was already one of the top drummers in Brazil, participating in many concerts, recording sessions, and workshops. He was invited to play with the great bass player Nico Assumpção to record his solo CD, and was recommended by Nico to play with many artists such as Michel Legrand, João Bosco, Hubert Laws, Frank Gambale, Jeff Richman, Ivan Lins and many others. Kiko Has also played with great musicians, such as Paulo Dorfman, John Patitucci, John Beasley, China Moses, Magnus Lindgren, Peter Asplund, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Rafael Vernet, Paulo Russo, Jeff Andrews, Cliff Korman, Armando Marçal, Luiz Avellar, Nelson Faria, Karolina Vucidolac, Daniel Turano, Edsel Gomez, Nivaldo Ornellas, Ricardo Silveira, Widor Santiago, Idriss Boudriua, Rafael Vernet, Frank Solari, Renato Borghetti, Jamil Joanes, Vítor Ramil, Paula Santoro, Ricardo Baumgarten, Julio Herrlein, Lula Galvão, Sérgio Galvão, Luiz Eça, Felipe Lamoglia, Nils Landgren, Vladyslav Sendecki, James Genus, Steve Grey and many others.
In 1996, he was invited by the piano player David Goldblatt to go to Los Angeles. There, Kiko had the opportunity to meet many great musicians and studied with Dave Weckl.
In Cuba, Kiko studied afro-Cuban rhythms with the great percussion player Changuito, and also played in the jazz scene of Havana.
As an educator, Kiko has been carrying out many workshops in Brazil and abroad in many Universities and Music Schools such as:
Conservatorium Von Amsterdam, University of Rotherdam, Göterborgs Universitet, Malmo Universitet, Stockholm Royal Academy of Music, University of Örebro, Columbus University, University Of Louisville (KY – USA), Hamburg Music School, among many others.
Have played in many great jazz festivals, like: Schleswig-Holstein-Musik-Festival 2008 ,Salzau Jazz Festival, Montreaux Jazz Festival, Montreal Jazz Festival, Eldena Jazz Festival, Jazz Baltica, Internacionales Jazz Festival Bingen Swingt, Hamburg Jazz Open, Festival Internacional de Jazz de Granada, Ludwigshafen Enjoy Jazz, Jazz Classics Basel, Jazz Fest Sarajevo, Las Palmas Rrincón Jazz, Madrid Jazz Festival, Gijón Festival, All Blues Jazz Recitals, Istanbul Caz Jazz Festival, Kaunas Jazz Festival, Musiques Sur L’ile, Jazz Stars in Krakow, Skopje Jazz Festival, Toulouse Jazz Sur Son.
Kiko Freitas is endorsed by Paiste Cymbals, Pearl Drums, Vic Firth Drumsticks, Gavazzi Cases and Markdrum.
Kiko Freitas plays with João Bosco since 1999, touring all over the world.
“Kiko is an artist of the highest caliber. His knowledge, discipline and technique, second to none, but higher than the knowledge and technique is his magnificent and loving soul, intuition, creativity and musical benevolence – all of which are paramount in his artistry every time I hear this beautiful musician play.” Gary Husband
“I met Kiko Freitas in 1994 while on tour with the Frank Gambale band. I was playing keyboards with Frank, Alfonso Johnson on bass and Enzo Tedesco on drums. Kiko was playing on stage at the same venue as our band, and I was immediately stunned by this young maestro. We spoke and quickly became good friends and kept in touch. Kiko has the great passion of the rare artist who seeks the pinnacle of achievement in his or her chosen field. He called me to come visit the USA and meet Dave Weckl who I have played with and know pretty well. He wanted to take a lesson with Dave and see Los Angeles. Kiko stayed with me and my wife and two cats and it was a very special visit for all of us. To me, Kiko is quite a bit more than one of the greatest drummers/musicians on the planet. He is one of the greatest human beings I’ve ever had the honor of knowing for which I am deeply grateful.” David Goldblatt
“I met Kiko in Hamburg for the rehearsals with NDR Bigband and the program with Joao Bosco that we were to perform during our Brasil-Tour of 200?? ( Cant remeber what year). He came straight from the flight from Rio, sat down behind the drums and just kicked the shit out of everybody in the room from beat one. What a Drummer! We just looked at each othere and smiled from ear to ear. And I knew from that moment, thsi is the beginning of a great friendship, musical and personal. Upon arrival we hardly had time to get of the plane before Kiko offered to take us to the best Steaks and Cachasa, which we gladly accepted. There was many such nights to be had on that tour! But the main thing was the music. I played one set with my Funk music and then I took a seat in the trombone section for the second set with João. Just to be able to sit there, playing João´s music with himself playing gui tar and singing like a god. And then on top of that Kiko leading the band in directions the might never have known was possible to go. It was one of the best experiences of my life and much of it thanks to Kiko. Since then we have played many times and we enjoy each others company and playing, as well as a good steak and some cachasa. On my next Album, he even performs together with me and Joao, I cant wait til I can bring it out. Kiko, You’re the best. I am proud to have you as my friend! Love , Nils Landgren”
“Kiko Freitas is a beautiful musician. Not just a great drummer that plays with fantastic, clean technique, energy, swing and a strong groove. He is a warm and beautiful generous person. For me that is very important and inspiring. Would be fantastic and an honour to have Kiko Freitas playing my music.” Lars Jansson
“Kiko Freitas is an amazing drummer. More than that: he is a true musician. With him the NDR Bigband could explore new shores. We first met Kiko in 2007 when we prepared a trip to Brazil with the great João Bosco, followed by a recording session for a CD that will be released in 2010. It wasn’t only that Kiko was well familiar with Joao’s music – his mere breathtaking technical skills and his infinite creative energy inspired the whole band. Not to mention his warmhearted personality – he’s a real team player! With passion and patience he shaped the rhythmic parts, and thank’s to him a German Big Band turned into a steaming Samba band – at least for a couple of moments…! In Kiko’s playing the tradition of the Jazz drumming lives on and blends with the Afro-Samba heritage. As the American composer and arranger Maria Schneider once said: “Kiko is the only drummer I know, who can play at the same with one hand Bebop, and Samba with the other”. It is this cultural bridge work that makes his playing so unique. Kiko Freitas is one of the great artists of our time.” Stefan Gerdes/NDR
“I´ve had the pleasure of touring together with Kiko Freitas, João Bosco and the NDR Big Band in Brasil in 2007. Since I was just playing the first half of the concert I got the chance to listen to Kiko´s outstanding Grooves every night. His way of playing is very unique, inspiring and tasty all the time. He´s the kind of drummer who always plays what´s right for the song and he knows exactely what to do. Kiko has a warm sound on the drums and his touch is simply amazing. Kiko Freitas is one of the most musical drummers I know. I´m his biggest fan!” Wolfgang Haffner
“Even though I am probably known for more moderate statements; in this case regarding Kiko Freitas I have to renew the superlative, that for me he is the best drummer in the world.
After first meeting him in a Brasilian context as the drummer of João Bosco, where he already changed my view on drumming drastically, transcending all I knew about this music far beyond the horizon, I then had the opportunity to invite him to play some ambitious music productions for the Olympic Games in German public TV and finally my own artistic projects with the NDR Bigband and Symphony Orchestra as special featured drums soloists. His participation is still one of the most rewarding and most beautiful magical experiences of my professional musical life. He has always been the heart and soul of every project in which I had the pleasure to be working with him. I will always be grateful getting to know this giant of drums and exeptional world class musician that brings every music to rise to unknown levels and changed my view on drumming for ever.” Prof. Wolf Kerschek
“Kiko, I think you’e the greatest Drummer on the Planet. You have perfect technique, Traditional and matched grips, ambidextrous too. You swing so hard, it’s a pleasure to see the clips you post. I think any Drummer would be really fortunate to study with you.I would come to a class if I could, you’re never too old to study from the Master. I mean everything I said. You are my hero! The best of wishes for you my friend from me and Michele.” Colin Bailey
“Kiko’s aplications of brazilian rhythms to drumset are only a matter of pure musicianship….yet if they are full of tecnical dificulties is only to the service of music…..so this is not another braziliam rhythms drum book, this is a book about brazilian music from the drum set made by one of it’s modern most advanced innovator.” Horacio El Negro Hernandez
“Pra ser inteiramente sincero, NUNCA vi um baterista melhor do que você. Você é, sem favor algum, o melhor batera do MUNDO!!!
Aldir” Aldir Blanc
“Era final dos anos 90 quando o baixista Nico Assumpção me disse sobre uma gravação que faríamos dentro de alguns dias: eu conheço um baterista de Porto Alegre. Você precisa conhecê-lo. Vamos convidá-lo para essa gravação?
Lá se vão 19 anos desde o nosso primeiro encontro. Já viajamos juntos o mundo inteiro e ainda há muito que viajar… O que me impressiona em Kiko Freitas é a facilidade que ele tem de traduzir as situações rítmicas mais complexas que surgem na execução de um tema. Ele nos faz sentir mais inteligentes quando toca pois temos a sensação de estarmos compreendendo tudo pois nos revela detalhes de suas preciosas conquistas por ser o grande baterista que é . Generoso , para mim ele é uma espécie de reencarnação de Joe Morello, baterista do Dave Brubeck Quartet que atuava dessa mesma forma. Assim como Paul Desmond compôs Take Five “apenas como um pretexto para um solo de bateria de Morello”, venho experimentando alguns temas apenas como pretexto para solos de bateria de Kiko Freitas.
A boa nova é que ele está lançando esse livro didático sobre as adaptações dos nossos ritmos brasileiros. O livro traz explicações e partituras que vão enriquecer a todos e certamente , ao final, seremos mais inteligentes.” João Bosco