Since the '70s, Marcos Ariel has dedicated himself to Brazilian instrumental music and jazz, reaching international status throughout the next decade. Ariel studied classical music in his childhood, being attracted to jazz later by the likes of Hermeto Pascoal and Chick Corea. He formed his first band, Grupo Usina, in 1978. His debut album, Bambu, was released in Brazil and France. In Brazil, it was awarded with the Chiquinha Gonzaga prize in 1983. In 1986, Ariel participated in São Paulo's Free Jazz Festival, and in the next year, along with his participation in Rio's edition of the same festival, he recorded the memorable Banda Zil with Ricardo Silveira, Zé Renato, and others. But it was Terra do Índio (1988) that projected him in the U.S., a country in which Ariel has been performing regularly ever since.