Beginning from 1967 he joined many artists" works as a percussionist. Among his many collaborations, he contributed to four Jon Hassell albums from 1976 to 1980 (including Possible Musics by Brian Eno and Hassell), and later to several Pat Metheny Group works and January Garbarek concerts from early 1980s to early 1990s. In 1984 he appeared on the Pierre Favre album Singing Drums along with Paul Motian.
He also appears on Arild Andersen"s album If You Look Far Enough with Ralph Towner.
He formed a group named Codona with Don Cherry and Collin Walcott, which released three albums in 1978, 1980 and 1982. In 1981 he performed at the Woodstock Jazz Festival, held in celebration of the tenth anniversary of the Creative Music Studio.
In 1998, Vasconcelos contributed "Luz De Candeeiro" to the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome benefit compilation album Onda Sonora: Red Hot + Lisbon produced by the Red Hot Organization. Vasconcelos was awarded the Best Percussionist Of The Year by the Down Beat Critics Poll for seven consecutive years, from 1984 to 1990.
He was also honored with eight Grammy Awards.
Vasconcelos was diagnosed with lung cancer in mid 2015. He died from the disease on 9 March 2016, in Recife.