Friday, May 30, 2008

Hermeto Pascoal

All About Jazz Bio by Nick Catalano

In the past few months I've been quite busy writing program notes and preview pieces for the gala opening of the new home for Jazz at Lincoln Center. Opening night (see related article ) was October 18th and the early reaction to the new facility, its ambience and its acoustics is a cavalcade of praise and excitement from audiences, critics and media folk. After arduous work and deadlines I am finally able to focus on the performers and, thus far, the shows have been spectacular. But to my mind the most significant production coup of the 3-week opening festival has been the opportunity to see and hear the legendary Hermeto Pascoal in his first visit to Gotham in many years.

Known as O Bruxo (The Sorcerer) because of his uncanny ability to make music out of stones, bottles, pots, plastic toys and other objects, Pascoal has also composed traditional scores for small groups and collaborated with symphony orchestras. At a time when musicians and composers in the jazz world and their counterparts in classical, folk, operatic, and pop music are all searching for originality in their creations, Pascoal stands as an unequaled model with his innovative harmonies, complex melodies and instrumental oddities. His musical colors are conspicuously individual, his sound is completely unique and his music possesses a depth and intrigue that will earn him a high place in the pantheon of great contemporary musical figures.

Born in 1936 in Lagoa da Canoa, Alagoas, a small town in northeastern Brazil, Pascoal moved to Rio in the 50's and began an important association with percussionist Airto Moreira. By the time their group “Quarteto Novo” disbanded in 1969, Pascoal had met Miles Davis who immediately recognized his talent and asked him to contribute music to the album Live-Evil a memorable affair released in 1970. During the following years Pascoal performed with Gil Evans, Cal Tjader, John McLaughlin and Antonio Carlos Jobim in addition to appearances with the Berlin and Copenhagen Symphony orchestras. He has performed with countless Brazilian luminaries many of whom (along with Pascoal himself ) remain relatively unknown to American audiences.

I first came across Pascoal when he performed at Town Hall in 1990 in a two-night concert series that went unnoticed in the New York press. I previewed the show with an interview piece (I spoke to Pascoal while he was appearing in Innsbruck Austria) and wondered what indeed would be my reaction when I heard him live on March 10 and 11.

It is difficult to overstate the excitement I felt upon hearing and seeing this “wild albino” (a term used by Miles Davis) and marveling over his astounding originality. After this wild incursion, Pascoal disappeared into his mystical existence unperturbed by his virtual anonymity and continually inspired to pursue his quest for musical idiosyncrasy.

In the Lincoln Center performances on Oct. 29 and 30 Pascoal unveiled his latest creations. Although the parade of toys, rocks and plumbing fixtures used during the show was familiar, the compositions were quite different from those I recall from the Town Hall events so many years ago. However, the impact of Pascoal's indomitable originality was as powerful as ever. All of this coupled with the spectacular sound and amazing ambiance of The Allen Room (one of three concert spaces at the new facility) made the events among the most memorable in my recollection


Hermeto Pascoal e Grupo - Música da Lagoa
Hermeto and O Grupo playing the music of the heavens with flutes and bottles in a lake. Part of the Hermeto/PETAR special - Sinfonia Alto da Ribeira (Itiberê Zwarg, Márcio Bahia, Carlinhos Malta, Jovino Santos Neto, Pernambuco):

Live at Montreux Jazz Festival (1979):


As leader:

(As Conjunto Som 4) Conjunto Som 4 (1964)
(As Sambrasa Trio with Airto Moreira and Humberto Clayber) Sambrasa Trio Em Som Maior (1966)
(As Quarteto Novo with Airto Moreira, Theo de Barros, and Heraldo do Monte) Quarteto Novo (1967)
"Hermeto Pascoal" (1970, reissued on CD as "Brazilian Adventure")
A Música Livre De Hermeto Pascoal (1973)
Porco Na Festa // Rainha do Mar (single) (1975)
Slaves Mass (1976)
Zabumbê-Bum-Á (1979)
Ao Vivo Montreux Jazz Festival (1979)
Cérebro Magnético (1980)
Stone Alliance - Hermeto e Márcio Montarroyos (1980)
Hermeto Pascoal & Grupo (1982, reissued on CD as The Legendary Improviser)
Lagoa Da Canoa, Município De Arapiraca (1984)
Brasil Universo (1986)
Só Não Toca Quem Não Quer (1987)
Hermeto Solo - Por Diferentes Caminhos (1988)
Festa Dos Deuses (1992)
Instrumental No Ccbb - Renato Borghetti E Hermeto Pascoal (1993)
Eu E Eles (1999)
Mundo Verde Esperança (2004)
(With Aline Morena) Chimarrão com Rapadura (2006)

As contributor:

Pernambuco Do Pandeiro E Seu Regional, Batucando no Morro (ca. 1959)
Brazilian Octopus (1969)
Airto Moreira, Natural Feelings (1970) Buddah Records
Donald Byrd, Electric Byrd (1970)
Duke Pearson, It Could Only Happen With You (1970)
Miles Davis, Live-Evil (1970)
Airto Moreira, Seeds On The Ground (1971)
Di Melo (1975)
Flora Purim, Open Your Eyes You Can Fly (1976)
Raimundo Fagner, Orós (1977)
Robertinho de Recife, Robertinho no Passo (1978)
Sivuca, Sivuca (1979)
Elis Regina, Live in Montreux (1979)
Heraldo do Monte, Cordas Vivas (1983)
Nenê (Realcino Lima Filho), Ponto do Músicos (1984)
Eduardo Gudin, Balãozinho (1986)
Heraldo do Monte, Cordas Mágicas (1986)
Pau Brasil, Pindorama (1986)
Flavio Pantoja, Flávio Pantoja (1987)
Dharana, Dharana (1987)
Brasil Musical - Série Música Viva - Pau Brasil E Hermeto Pascoal (1996)
Aleuda, Oferenda (2000)
Mike Marshall and Jovino Santos Neto, The Music of Hermeto Pascoal (2003)
Jovino Santos Neto, Roda Carioca (2006)

Viagem (1984):

Frevo Em Maceio:

and last but not least:

Hermeto Pascoal Wikipedia Page


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