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Brazilian Music of Hermeto Pascoal at Merkin Hall
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Brazilian Music of Hermeto Pascoal at Merkin Hall

- Jazz and Cabaret Corner

Kaufman Center and Adventure Music
Present “Masters Reimagined”
The Compositions of Hermeto Pascoal of Brazil
(Hermeto Pascoal Bio)

Starring: Jovino Santos Neto, Piano, Paquito D’Rivera, Clarinet,
Mike Marshall, Mandolin, Oscar Feldman, Alto Saxophone, and
Bobby Sanabria Big Band

At Merkin Concert Hall

Press: Kim Smith Public Relations

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
September 9, 2006


(Solo and Ensemble Format)
Certezo/Na Guaribada da Noite
Sertão Alagoano
Forró em Santo André
Nem Um Talvez
Lá na Casa da Madame Eu Vi
Quantó Mais Longe, Mais Perto

(Big Band Format)
Brasil Universo
Obrigado, Mestre
O Som do Sol
Viva o Gil Evans

Hermeto Pascoal, born in Northeastern Brazil in 1936, is known as a multi-instrumentalist, generating music from unusual instruments. He is also in command of the piano, flute, strings, saxophones, percussion, and more. He not only composes, but also arranges Brazilian classics, like Pixinguinha’s Carinhoso. In 1996, he began writing one new work/day for one year, and titled that collection, O Calendário do Som, with 366 titles, for leap year. Thus, everyone on earth could have a birthday song. He has recorded a solo CD, playing over 60 instruments, and Pascoal still records and travels on tour. (Program Notes).

The first two pieces, both waltzes, were elegantly played on solo piano by Jovino Santos Neto, a charismatic performer, not seen enough on New York concert stages. The romantic melodies soon became foreboding of the dissonant works to come, with driven chords, fragmented and fused. Mike Marshall joined Neto for the second, and the mandolin was both innocent and sensitive, lyrical and staccato. Roseando had an Argentine tinge, building to Brazilian samba, with texture and rhythm. The Forró brought a piano/sax duo, with Oscar Feldman (See a review of Oscar Feldman Quartet.), and this sprightly, mischievous piece exuded effervescence. Nem um Talvez was Paquito D’Rivera’s (See a tribute to Paquito D’Rivera.) first duo with Neto, and Paquito’s clarinet was classical, classy, and charismatic. Paquito remained in duo for the following piece, and his clarinet exploded, like a forest full of canaries, with Neto switching to flute for rare effect. The duo seemed to improvise here and there, before Neto’s piano ended the unique work.

Neto, Paquito, and Mike Marshall joined for Quantó Mais Longe, Mais Perto, a song about closeness in spite of distance, with the three instruments alternating leads, as Paquito soared to the highest register. Tertúlia was salsa-fused jazz, with Oscar Feldman joining the trio, while Marshall’s mandolin played a sultry, staccato version of Feldman’s sax theme. Jovino Santos Neto served as raconteur and host of the first half of tonight’s program, and Bobby Sanabria, bandleader and percussionist of the Bobby Sanabria Big Band, (See a review of Bobby Sanabria and his Afro-Cuban Orchestra.) was the ever-present host of the second half.

In the second half of tonight's vibrant and eclectic program, Bobby Sanabria took the stage with his youthful Big Band. Jovino Santos Neto remained at the piano. Brasil Universo built to repetitive, roaring rhythms, somewhat a Salsa à la Stravinsky, or a riotous, Rio traffic circle. Bobby Sanabria engages the audience at every possible moment, hopping about the stage to conduct a solo or instrumental grouping. The following few works included a duo with ethnicity and tones, harmony and structure, brassy trumpets, fullness of sound, and the energy and affect of a horror film. Neto took a triangle, and Sanabria seized his drums. The Latin infusions were assisted by the audience’s clavé clapping, thanks to Sanabria’s attentive cues. At one point, Sanabria chanted in Portuguese and Neto played flute with jungle effects.

Som de Sol, composed for UNICEF, was soft and singable, and Sanabria’s combo of conducting-percussion drove the ensuing dissonance, assisted by solo soprano sax. The music shifted to cacophonous trombone, piano, bass, sax, and piano. Viva o Gil Evans was a piano virtuoso, and Neto’s smooth jazz was successfully showcased, followed by atonal, driven bass and Sanabria’s percussion. Jegue, about a donkey, again featured jazz-infused, clavé salsa, with a Big Band sound. The refrains pulsated and pounded in the percussive mambo, and Neto and Sanabria were both well featured in daring duo format. The audience rose to its feet. Bebê brought the full cast back onstage - Neto, Big Band, Paquito, Feldman, and Marshall. They produced a fantastic musical frenzy, a Samba Carnivale, and Paquito was awarded extended solos, which he handled with aplomb. The encore, Brazil, drew everyone in, after a very long and eventful performance.

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at