Grooves & Samples is a weekly dive into old dusty crates of jazz, funk, soul and beyond.
This week’s feature is focused on one of the most legendary Brazilian musicians of all time, Hermeto Pascoal. Hermeto is an enigmatic bearded albino virtuoso who has collaborated and influenced nearly every significant Brazilian recording artist over the years.
The larger than life personality of Pascoal is still touring the world and will be playing shows and festivals in Italy, Sweden, and Norway in the coming months. Last time I was crate digging in Brasil, I got into a big conversation with another western digger and the shop owner about the legend of Hermeto. Marcio of Tropicália Discos explained to us that Hermeto was a musician only rivaled by the genius of Johann Sebastian Bach. Hermeto is one of those rare forces of nature that is literally music personified. His improvisational skills are beyond comparison and it is said that he has composed thousands upon thousands of brilliant songs on a whim and then never transcribed them or played them ever again.
Some videos floating around Youtube attest to the mad brilliance of Hermeto, showing him jamming in a lagoon, improvising an ode to beer, seemingly stoned out of his mind and thinking music at the dentist, jamming with frogs and still more. Really this guy is something special, and if you ever get a chance to see him live or pick up some of his LPs from the 60s and 70s, don’t hesitate!
During his career Hermeto has been a part of Sambrasa Trio, Quarteto Novo, Brazilian Octopus and played with Miles Davis, Donald Byrd, Duke Pearson, Cal Tjader, Edu Lobo, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Sergio Mendes, Elis Regina and more.
So now let’s enjoy a tune from one of his earliest appearances on wax. With the Conjunto Som 4, Hermeto played piano and flute, and performed a very smooth and groovy rendition of Vinicius de Moraes and Baden Powell’s “Consolação”.