From Brazil: Hermeto Pascoal Big Band
Sat 8th May 2004 8pm Vicar Street
"One of the most important musicians on the planet" - Miles Davis
Composer, flute, keyboards, bandoneon, miscellaneous instruments
Jovino Santos Neto
keyboards, Musical Director
Henry Lowther - trumpet Chris Batchelor - trumpet
Claude Deppa - trumpet Kevin Robinson - trumpet
Pete Beachill - trombone Roland Bates - trombone
Fayyez Virji - trombone Richard Henry - trombone
Dave Stuart - trombone Phil Todd - saxophones
Jason Yarde - saxophones Julian Arguelles - saxophones
Chris Biscoe - saxophones Iain Ballamy - saxophones
Stuart Hall - guitar/violin Michael Mondesir - bass
Mark Mondesir - drums Fabio Pascoal - percussion
O Bruxo, they call him in Brazil. It means the sorcerer, and its an apt description for the charismatic, wayward, once in a lifetime genius of Hermeto Pascoal. This unique artist makes a rare trip to Europe and rarer still, he does so in the company of twenty of the UK's finest players, assembled to play compositions from his vast repertoire of music that defies category, classification or genre.
Call it Hermeto music, equal parts eccentric and virtuoso, unmistakeably Brazilian in its dexterity and momentum, yet happy to detour into jazz, chamber music, free improvisation, pop and rock. Far from being a contrivance, this wilful eclecticism is borne of this self taught musician's deep affinity with the natural world, inspired by the rainforest cacophony of his native Lagoa da Canoa in north-eastern Brazil.
His prolific output as a composer is matched only by his savant like ability with any instrument, and Pascoal wields keyboards, woodwinds, accordions and guitars with an amazing facility. He's just as likely to fashion music from a kettle, a plastic toy, a balloon pump, even the cadence of human speech, or som da aura as Hermeto calls it. Its further evidence that Hermeto is a conduit for a ceaseless creativity from some enigmatic source, and it shows no sign of abating as he ushers in his seventh decade. Recent projects have included a book of songs for every day of the year, as a birthday gift from Hermeto to each of his fellow citizens.
Many of today's Brazilian stars acknowledge his influence, from Tom Ze to Caetano Veloso and Airto Moreira who called him "a genius, the most complete musician I have ever met." If he is loved in Brazil, he has long been a source of fascination in the jazz world, where musicians were drawn to the pioneering spirit of recordings like Festa Dos Deuses, Slaves Mass and Musica Livre. His greatest champion was Miles Davis, with whom Hermeto collaborated on 1970's Live Evil.
Three decades on, Pascoal is joined by a twenty piece jazz orchestra drawn from the highest echelons of UK jazz for this unmissable concert. In what is a stellar supporting cast, Julian Arguelles, Henry Lowther and brothers Mark and Michael Mondesir are all luminaries in their own right, but tonight, all this talent lies at the service of one person only, the jovial figure with the flowing white beard, the crazy instruments and the unforgettable music.