Viva Hermeto! 80th Birthday Concert / New School Brazilian Jazz Ensemble

Hermeto Pascoal is arguably the most important Brazilian musician-composer since the late 1960's. Insisting that his music is "universal music" (música universal) rather than Brazilian, his unparalleled genius and prolific output is a continual inspiration to musicians around the world of all stylistic persuasions.

Richard Boukas has studied, transcribed, performed and recorded works by Pascoal since the 1970's. His acclaimed duo collaboration with Pascoal's former pianist-composer Jovino Santos Neto (CD Balaio, 1998-2005) showcased Hermeto's works alongside their own.

Boukas founded the New School Brazilian Jazz Ensemble in New York City in 1995. The group's repertoire always gravitated towards Pascoal and Jovino, offering unprecedented technical and artistic challenges to his talented young musicians.

To celebrate the 80th birthday of the master, Boukas embarked on an ambitious concert project, Viva Hermeto! The majority of the repertoire dates from a 2006 collection as the composer was turning seventy. Other compositions include those by Jovino, longtime Pascoal bassist-composer Itiberê Zwarg and Boukas. This page is dedicated to that project.

Boukas selected a rich array of pieces, each showing a different facet of the composer. Starting with only a basic lead sheet of melody and chord changes (there are no written details about style or tempo), he surmised the genre, created introductions, codas and improvisational sections whose harmonies are distilled from the composition. The result is a fresh collection of Pascoal gems which hopefully will become classics alongside his better-known works.

For a comprehensive Boukas lecture on Pascoal's music, visit THE MUSIC OF HERMETO PASCOAL.

New School Brazilian Jazz Ensemble at the Glass Box Theater, College of Performing Arts.

New School Brazilian Jazz Ensemble at the Glass Box Theater, College of Performing Arts.

Hermeto Pascoal. CLICK PHOTO for a comprehensive Boukas lecture about his music.

Hermeto Pascoal. CLICK PHOTO for a comprehensive Boukas lecture about his music.

Boukas conducting the Viva Hermeto! concert presented by New School Brazilian Jazz Ensemble.

Boukas conducting the Viva Hermeto! concert presented by New School Brazilian Jazz Ensemble.

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DOWNLOAD THE CONCERT PROGRAM

In lieu of program notes, read INFO for each audio track below right.

Woodwinds (L-R): 
Samantha Marshall, Gabrielle Garo, Will Brown

Woodwinds (L-R): Samantha Marshall, Gabrielle Garo, Will Brown

Vocalist Arta Jekabsone from Latvia dazzles the audience with her scat singing of complex melodies and solos.

Vocalist Arta Jekabsone from Latvia dazzles the audience with her scat singing of complex melodies and solos.

Pianist David Drake from Brighton, England.

Pianist David Drake from Brighton, England.

L-R: Bassist Jonathan Livnate, Boukas, drummer David Jiménez, guitarist Kieran MacAuliffe.

L-R: Bassist Jonathan Livnate, Boukas, drummer David Jiménez, guitarist Kieran MacAuliffe.

BRAZILIAN JAZZ ENSEMBLE MEMBERS

Gabrielle Garo  alto saxophone / flute
Will Brown          soprano saxophone
Samantha Marshall         guest flutist
Arta Jekabsone       vocals
Kieran MacAuliffe    guitar
David Drake              piano
Jonathan Livnate     bass
David Jiménez          drums
Richard Boukas   vocals, director-arranger

New School Brazilian Jazz Ensemble performing "Mar" by Itiberê Zwarg.

New School Brazilian Jazz Ensemble performing "Mar" by Itiberê Zwarg.

Viva Hermeto! Complete Concert Audio

The debut concert of Viva Hermeto! was captured in an informal two-track recording which presents all fourteen pieces. The performance level of the musicians is consistently excellent, borne of their meticulous individual preparation and rigorous group rehearsals. All the more impressive is the fact that none of these student musicians had ever played any form of Brazilian music prior to this ensemble experience.

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  1. 1 Espantando As Galinhas_HP80 03:42 Info
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  2. 2 Peixe-Boi_HP80 02:54 Info
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  3. 3 Azulinhada_HP80 02:55 Info
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  4. 4 Homeopatia_HP80 06:28 Info
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  5. 5 Campinas_HP80 05:13 Info
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  6. 6 Cuia_HP80 03:21 Info
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  7. 7 Chorizinho_HP80 06:00 Info
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  8. 8 Forró da Terra de Baixo e de Cima_HP80 02:42 Info
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  9. 9 Xôte Pro Tatu Peba_HP80 03:24 Info
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  10. 10 Mar_HP80 04:39 Info
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  11. 11 Muito Natural_HP80 04:44 Info
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  12. 12 Confraternização Latina_HP80 06:30 Info
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  13. 13 Ventania Com Chuva_HP80 04:09 Info
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  14. 14 Viva o Rio de Janeiro_HP80 06:11 Info
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all photos by Madalena Sousa
courtesy Brazilian Music Foundation

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© 2018 Richard Boukas