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.

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.


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

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.

Pianist David Drake from Brighton, England.