Hermeto Pascoal | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Hermeto Pascoal

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So you've heard of Milton Nascimento, and maybe Djavan or Ivan Lins. Some of you may even have encountered the names of Wagner Tiso or Airto, or this guy that David Byrne sponsored for an American label, Tom Ze. But even with all the attention that's been focused lately on the music and musicians of Brazil, surprisingly few people can claim awareness of Hermeto Pascoal, the renaissance man of modern Brazilian jazz. Go figure. Hermeto--who cuts an imposing figure with his flowing albino-white hair and beard--plays a variety of instruments, including keyboards, saxophone, and accordion. But his greatest impact on Brazilian culture stems from his continually evolving prowess as a composer and bandleader (in much the way that Charles Mingus's writing and arranging came to overshadow his own bass playing). The few Hermeto albums that we got to hear in the 70s brimmed with bright, conclusive Brazilian jazz; in the 80s, though, Hermeto sought a deeper fusion of jazz ideas with traditional Brazilian song and dance forms, and he had the artistic maturity to carry it off. The resulting music--which should form the bulk of his septet's performance in Chicago--is startling, impressive, and ultimately indelible. Monday, 8 PM, Cubby Bear, 1059 W. Addison; 327-1662.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/BrunoKassel.

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