Hermeto Pascoal (b. June 22, 1936) is a Brazilian composer and multi-instrumentalist born in Arapiraca, area of Alagoas, Brazil.
Known as o bruxo (the sorcerer), Hermeto often makes music with unconventional objects such as teapots, children's toys, and animals, as well as keyboards, button accordion, melodica, saxophone, guitar, flute, voice, various brass and folkloric instruments. Perhaps due to his growing up in the countryside, he uses nature as a basis for his compositions, as in his Música da Lagoa, where the musicians burble water and play flutes while immersed in a lagoon: a Brazilian television broadcast from 1999 showed him soloing at one point by singing into a cup with his mouth partially submerged in water. The folk musics of rural Brazil are another important influence on his work. Pascoal comes from a remote corner of northeast Brazil, an area that when he was born had no electricity. He learnt the accordion from his father and practised for hours in the shade as, being an albino, he was incapable of working in the fields with the rest of his family.
Hermeto's career began in 1964 with appearances on several Brazilian recordings with relatively small groups. These now-classic albums and the musicians involved (Edu Lobo, Airto Moreira, Elis Regina, Cesar Camargo Mariano and others) established widely influential new directions in post-bossa Brazilian Jazz. After joining Moreira in his Sambrasa Trio in 1966, the two went on to form Quarteto Novo and release an album which would do much to launch the careers of Pascoal and Moreira. Pascoal would then go on to join the multi-faceted Brazilian Octopus, to play on Airto's recordings and then to recording in his own right.
He initially came to the international public's attention through an appearance on Miles Davis' 1971 album Live/Evil, which featured Pascoal on several pieces (which he also composed). Davis has said that Pascoal was "the most impressive musician in the world". Later collaborations involved fellow Brazilian musicians Airto Moreira and Flora Purim. From the late 1970s on he has mostly led his own groups, playing at many prestigious venues, such as the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1979. Other members of the group have included bassist Itibere Zwarg, pianist Jovino Santos-Neto and percussionists Nene (his colleague from Quarteto Novo in the 1960s), Pernambuco and Zabele.
Hermeto is a prolific composer, famous for his project Calendário do Som, in which he composed a song every day for a year so that everyone would have a song for his or her birthday (Wikipedia).
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