Special Recording Projects
"Tudo de Bom"
Hermeto Pascoal's Calendário do Som
The featured project here is Tudo de Bom, an ambitious rendering of fourteen Hermeto Pascoal compositions selected from the Brazilian composer's landmark composer collection known as the Calendário do Som (calendar of sound). Upon reaching sixty years of age in summer of 1996, Pascoal pursued idea of writing one small tune a day for the entire year, so everyone would have their own birthday song.
To view a brief commentary by Hermeto with subtitles, visit:
Once the Calendário became available in print through Itaú Cultural in Brazil around 1999, I immediately secured a copy and began playing through these amazing one-page compositions. The idea to produce a project dedicated solely to the Calendário was already very real in concept. This was the same period when Jovino Santos Neto and I began recording tracks for our duo ensemble CD, Balaio. In 2002 I presented the idea to flutist and executive producer Mark Weinstein, who was keenly interested. From the handfuls of pieces that I had read through, we chose fourteen to comprise the project. I then called top Brazilian jazz musicians to join us: Nilson Matta on bass, Paulo Braga on drums and Vanderlei Pereira on percussion. After two rehearsals and just one live concert, we went into the studio and recorded the basic tracks. As I was soon to find out, that was only the beginning of this amazing creative journey.
On Tudo de Bom I played nylon and steel string acoustic guitars, electric and synthesizer guitars, mandolin, mandola, cavaquinho, tenor guitar and banjo, sang all lead and group vocals and played percussion.
Along with audio excerpts, I'll discuss my arranging and production approaches for select compositions.
The recording is available on Mark Weinstein's I-Tunes page:
To order Tudo de Bom, CLICK
Boukas on producing Tudo de Bom
When interpreting or adapting any great composer's music, there is an artistic mandate to represent it faithfully, to be sure that the creative spirit of the composer governs each and every musical choice. One of the great gifts and challenges of this project was that in the Calendário, Hermeto wrote few if any details in his scores: no tempo indications, performance instructions, or labeling the piece by genre such as samba, choro, etc.– only the notes, his idiosyncratic chord symbol notation and brief inspirational comments at the bottom of each piece, capturing his feelings in the moment of creation. Among the most common were as "Viva o Som" (long live sound), "Tudo de Bom" (everything's fine, which became the title for the recording).
The freedom this offered me as a player, arranger and producer was vast, but along with that freedom came great responsibility. In some cases, the genre and tempo range was fairly clear- this could be gleaned from the meter (ex. a waltz in 3/4); core melodic characteristics (ex. choro with continuous sixteenth notes), how slowly or quickly the harmonies moved, and any specific rhythmic accents to be played (by the rhythm section). In other cases, the choices of interpretation were far less obvious. It was in such cases that I felt compelled to experiment with different tempos, grooves/genres, and in some cases, even change the meter. Such modifications, especially when multiplied, resulted in a transformative production. All the musicians handled these significant adaptations quite intuitively, playing them almost as if they were the original recorded versions of the piece by Hermeto himself.
VIEW BOUKAS EDUCATOR LECTURE ON
THE MUSIC OF HERMETO PASCOAL