70

Erik Charlston JazzBrasil: Essentially Hermeto

Matt Cibula By

Sign in to view read count
Erik Charlston JazzBrasil: Essentially Hermeto Erik Charlston is not shy about revealing his main influence. Not only did he title this album Essentially Hermeto after the Brazilian multi-instrumentalist/composer/mystic Hermeto Pascoal, he even starts the first track with the kind of rustling ambient sound that Pascoal loves so much. Unlike Pascoal himself, who might use that sound for a few minutes or an entire track, Charlston moves pretty quickly into "Vale de Ribeira"—like most of the selections on the album, a Hermeto Pascoal song. A straightforward Brazilian jazz tune, it features Charlston's precise tone on vibes, Ted Nash's winding solo work, and a solid beat structure laid down by percussionists Rogerio Boccato and Café.

Things get a little stranger on more ambitious tunes like "Rebuliço" (a great showcase for bassist Jay Anderson) and the frenetically paced "Essa Foi Demais." The latter features plenty of Pascoalesque percussive atmosphere at the beginning, before turning into a full-length sprint. The ensemble does well when it takes on non-Pascoal tunes; Egberto Gismonti's "Frevo Rasgado" is almost a two-hander, pitting Charlston's intricate vibe work against Mark Soskin's inventive piano lines.

The lengthy tone poem simply called "Hermeto" is particularly impressive. Here, the band stretches out significantly. Charlston uses reverb and long lines to build a mysterious atmosphere on both vibes and marimba for more than three minutes. Once the track kicks in, the ensemble establishes a sweet, if conventional, groove for Soskin and a lovely flute workout from Nash.

Is Essentially Hermeto anything to write home about? Most of the time, the music herein is just really good jazz—a fitting tribute to one of the least-understood geniuses in the world. But occasionally it touches brilliance: the full-on Carnival percussion break that winds up "Viva o Rio de Janeiro," Charlston's lovely vocal on "Paraiba," the twin explorations on "Frevo Rasgado." When this band stretches itself, there aren't many other groups that can touch it. Fortunately, Pascoal's back catalog is incredibly deep and rich—and largely unmined. It would be welcome if Erik Charlston and his group continue to work this territory for years to come.

Track Listing: Valle de Ribeira; Rebuliço; Santo Antonio; Essa Foi Demais; Hermeto; Paraiba; Frevo Rasgado; Viva O Rio De Janeiro.

Personnel: Erik Charlston: vibraphone, marimba, vocals (6); Ted Nash: saxophones, flute, clarinet; Mark Soskin: piano; Jay Anderson: bass; Rogério Boccato: drums, percussion; Café: percussion.

Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Sunnyside Records | Style: Beyond Jazz


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Nightfall CD/LP/Track Review Nightfall
by John Kelman
Published: May 22, 2017
Read Pekka CD/LP/Track Review Pekka
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 22, 2017
Read In the Still of the Night CD/LP/Track Review In the Still of the Night
by Nicholas F. Mondello
Published: May 22, 2017
Read Zea CD/LP/Track Review Zea
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 22, 2017
Read Asian Fields Variations CD/LP/Track Review Asian Fields Variations
by John Kelman
Published: May 21, 2017
Read Left Right Left CD/LP/Track Review Left Right Left
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 21, 2017
Read "Deeper Journey" CD/LP/Track Review Deeper Journey
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 25, 2016
Read "Hera" CD/LP/Track Review Hera
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 25, 2016
Read "Blind Curves and Box Canyons" CD/LP/Track Review Blind Curves and Box Canyons
by Karl Ackermann
Published: May 4, 2017
Read "Up and Coming" CD/LP/Track Review Up and Coming
by John Kelman
Published: January 6, 2017
Read "The Harry Warren Song Book" CD/LP/Track Review The Harry Warren Song Book
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 31, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Why wait?

Support All About Jazz and we'll deliver exclusive content, hide ads, and provide read access to our future articles.