Born in Rio de Janeiro, Oliveira started out backing Sergio Mendes and Brazil ‘66 before moving to the U.S. in 1968. The first major hit on which he played was Joe Cocker's "Feelin' Alright", driving the song with his percussion playing.
In 1973, Laudir was asked to play on the album Chicago VI, setting the course for the next decade of his career. Chicago drummer Danny Seraphine said that their styles "fit together perfectly, creating a ‘layered and full sound’ that reinforced the strong Latin influence that had been building in our music."
Oliveira became a permanent member of Chicago in 1975 for the recording of Chicago VIII and played on every album through Chicago XIV (1980). He left the band in late 1981 when they moved to the Warner Brothers label and David Foster took over as record producer.
Laudir also worked as a percussionist on the side on albums such as the Jacksons' Destiny.
After leaving Chicago, he kept doing studio work in Los Angeles until 1987 when he returned full time to Brazil. There, he became the Cultural Director of the Universidade do Grande Rio.
Oliveira reunited with Chicago twice, in 2010 when they played in Rio de Janeiro and in 2016 after the group's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Pictured: Laudir de Oliveira (bottom row, second from left) with Chicago band mates (ca. 1976)
Laudir de Oliveira, who played percussion for the band CHICAGO from 1974-1981, died on 17 September 2017. He was 77. Oliveira was performing on stage in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, when he suffered a heart attack.