Toninho Horta (born December 2, 1948) is an electric and nylon-string guitar player working in a style of jazz-influenced Brazilian music. Compositions in his personal style are marked by sophisticated harmonic progressions and complex melodies. In performed arrangements of his own pieces he often features driving, strummed guitar rhythms.
In addition to composing and performing his own work, Horta has worked for many years as and arranger or sideman for many important Brazilian artists, such as Elis Regina, Milton Nascimento, Maria Bethania, João Bosco, Airto Moreira, Edu Lobo, Nana Caymmi, Flora Purim, Gal Costa, Sérgio Mendes, Chico Buarque, Flávio Venturini, Joyce, Johnny Alf, Wagner Tiso, Francis Hime and Beto Guedes. He was an original member of the famous and highly influential Clube da Esquina musical collective in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais which included Milton Nascimento, Lô Borges, Fernando Brant, Márcio Borges, and Wagner Tiso, which recorded the legendary recording called Clube da Esquina.
His intricate compositions and original guitar playing have influenced a generation of musicians in Brazil and North America. Pat Metheny, who considers him to be “one of the world’s great ‘composers’ on nylon-string guitar (named violão in Brazil)”, comments, “He (Toninho) plays such great voicings with such a cool time feel… I’ve often described him to other musicians as the Herbie Hancock of Bossa-Nova guitarists ….. In short, Toninho Horta is an incredible musician, the rare guitarist who understands harmony in its most intimate ways…” (Pat Metheny's words on the booklet of Toninho’s Diamond Land). Pat’s strong admiration for Toninho’s music can be heard on many of his own compositions. Pat once said Toninho writes guitar chord progressions that "defy gravity".
Among Toninho's best-known compositions are Beijo Partido (Broken Kiss, on Diamond Land), Gershwin, Pedra da Lua and Manuel o Audaz (the last three on Moonstone. The last two appear with English titles consecutively Moonstone and Eternal Youth).