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Hermeto Pascoal, Doug deVries, James Macauley
Dança do Pajé
Hermeto Pascoal
Piano 1
Hermeto Pascoal
Hermeto Pascoal
Forró pela Manhã
Hermeto Pascoal
Para Thad Jones
Hermeto Pascoal
Nem um Talvez - Live at the Cellar Door, Washington, DC - December 1970
Miles Davis
Hermeto Pascoal
Viva o Gil Evans
Hermeto Pascoal & Big Band

Hermeto Pascoal

Known as O Bruxo (the Wizard), the white-bearded Brazilian composer and multi-instrumentalist is a cultural icon.

Hermeto Pascoal may not be the best-known Brazilian musician, but his spirit has earned him the status of a beloved curiosity from outer space. To spend an hour with him is to question one’s own understanding of creativity. Maybe you like music? For him, EVERYTHING is music! He hears it everywhere and plays it all the time. The result is a few comical sounds (the gurgling tunes performed with a teapot filled with water, for instance) and paradisiacal, confusing images, the most famous of which was created while Hermeto and his musicians played underwater in a lagoon.

But listener beware! Behind this autodidact who’s been improvising since childhood (I mean, we told you he’s a genius!) is a musician with brilliant intuition, described by Miles Davis (who called him ‘the crazy albino’) as ‘the most impressive musician in the world’. Little known, because he was never credited, the trumpeter had urged him to compose and play on the album Live-Evil (1971). Three pieces from this session are his ("Little Church", "Nem Um Talvez" and "Selim"). And so many more tunes remain to be discovered. In truth, hundreds – in the documentary about him he says he wrote a piece a day for a year, between June 1996 and June 1997.

Rather avant-garde, Hermeto Pascoal mostly switches between jazz (see the homage he pays to the jazz greats in this playlist), 70s grooves, and Brazilian traditions of the Nordeste, adapted as he pleases. In Brazil, Pascoal’s fame grew in during his time with the Quarteto Novo and Airto Moreir, and their modernised traditional music. He’s been nicknamed O bruxo (the sorcerer) or O mago (the magician). Like Sun Ra, Hermeto Pascoal is a guide for those around him, a clan leader and an inspiration.

Octogenarian and poly-instrumentalist – he plays the Rhodes electric keyboard, the bandoneon, the flute, percussion, and many more – he has redoubled his activity in recent years. In 2017 two new albums appeared, one big band (Natureza Universal), the other with a quintet (No Mundo dos Sons), as well as the previously unreleased Viajando Com O Som (from 1976) and, in 2018, Hermeto Pascoal e sua Original Visão do Forró (from 1999). With his friends, whom he set up as messengers of his vision, the Brazilian’s music continues to enliven those happy few who come across him playing live, and all those lucky enough to have him on their radar. Welcome to Hermeto, where happiness and music go hand in hand.