The white bearded and flowery shirted Hermeto Pascoal has a unique place in the mythology of the 1970s and Brazilian music. A kind of tropical Sun Ra, a whole galaxy all to himself, generating a whole host of satellites, the self-taught artist has created an unparalleled musical world. The disconcerting calligraphies he uses as sheet music show what a true extra-terrestrial he is. This original musician, through the grace of his mischievous poetry filled with emanations from nature, can use the sound of a kettle or transform the squeal of a pig into an ode to joy. Everything he touches turns to magic. Even when he moves towards more academic jazz, he achieves something quite different from an empty demonstration. The magician from Alagoas (Brazil) has always combined his uniqueness with the multiple skills of an ensemble converted to his iconoclastic visions. After his debuts in around 1960 (with Conjunto Som), this was especially the case in the 1970s, when, after a short electric adventure with Miles Davis, he released a series of ground-breaking albums, from A Música Livre (73) to Slaves Mass (77). This is also shown in unreleased recordings from 1976 produced by Rogerio Duprat and the recently rediscovered Hermeto Pascoal & Grupo Vice Versa Viajando Com O Som (2017). Now in his 80s, the old master is as inventive as ever, playing in a sextet and inventing a surreal language where the smallest tonic accent raises questions about the very nature of sound.
Line-up : Hermeto Pascoal (p, k, fl), Fabio Pascoal (perc), Itiberê Zwarg (b, voc),André Marques (p), Jota P (sax, fl), Ajurinã Zwarg (dms)
Photo : © Gabriel Quintão