Mike Marshall and Jovino Santos Neto: Serenata - The Music of Hermeto Pascoal (2003)
This is the first CD entirely devoted to the music of Hermeto Pascoal, and it has a gentle misterioso feel to it. According to Andy Connell's liners Pascoal is variously known in his native Brazil as "the sorcerer," "the crazy albino," "the tropical forest gnome," "the bushy white- haired guy who plays pots and pans and children's squeeze toes, shovels and garden hoes, sewing machines and tea pots." He's known for writing and performing rather challenging music, but this CD contains some of his most beautiful melodies, most of which have never been recorded before.
Keyboardist Jovino Santos Neto was in Pascoal's band for 15 years before moving to Seattle in 1993. As his official archivist, he's been working on gathering and sharing Pascoal's oeuvre, which includes at least 2500 songs. Mike Marshall began his career in bluegrass, then became part of the Dave Grisman Quartet, and is now recognized as a versatile premier mandolinist.
It's mostly a combination of these two fine players, with some delicate, tasteful percussion here and there and a primal bass flute solo by Pascoal himself on "Quanto Mais Longe, Mais Perto." (This is the only selection that sounds familiar to me; I know I've noticed his tunes covered by other Brazilian artists, but which, where, and who escape me at the moment.) The music has a wistful quality, even the the up-tempo tunes, and the songs have a lovely flow and almost childlike innocence.
There's jazz in here, and definitely Brazil, though it's not the usual Rio bossa we're used to. This is less urban – closer to the earth – and it inspires peaceful reflection. Lovely stuff.
Track Listing: Sertao Alagoano, Quanto Mais Longe, Mais Perto (The further apart we are,the closer we get), Serenata, July 17, Saudades Do Brazil, Hino da Princesa Eterna (Hymn for the Eternal Princess), Os Guizos (The Bells), Tetulia, Joyce, Roseando, Sept. 1, Floresta, Santa Catarina
Personnel: Mike Marshall (mandolin, steel and nylon string guitar, bouzouki), Jovino Santos Neto (acoustic piano, harmonium, flutes), Hermeto Pascoal (bass flute, melodica), Aaron Johnston (percussion), Michael Spiro (triangle), John Santos (surdo)