"Jazz, classical, folk, world, those are all labels that music merchants use to put on bins at record stores. They should never be applied to a musician's brain."
"When you really learn music, you learn all music. Music is like the air and the water. It flows from here to there, changes its aspects, but its essence is timeless. It truly holds the world together."
During his 15 year tenure with Hermeto Pascoal and O Grupo, Jovino Santos Neto was endowed with an unparalleled musical language and philosophy that continues to awe the world's top musicians. An incredibly articulate musician whose gentle manner conceals his prowess, Santos Neto has made it his mission to dispatch the music of Hermeto Pascoal to the world. He has collected all of Hermeto's original manuscripts and created a file of over one thousand compositions.
Everything from orchestral and chamber settings to the pieces that were actually performed and recorded by O Grupo is being transcribed and notated so that other musicians will be able to read this unique repertoire. As a result of his tenacity, much of this vast body of work will soon be available through a German publisher. In addition, to celebrate Hermeto's 60th birthday, Santos Neto recorded a stunning CD of Hermeto's music for solo piano.
The pianist, flutist, and co-producer of most of Hermeto's albums juggles an impossible schedule that includes touring and recording with Fourth World (lead by two other Hermeto alumni, Airto Moreira and Flora Purim), teaching Jazz Ensemble at Cornish College of the Arts, in Seattle, freelancing as a session player and conductor, re-orchestrating Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, and performing and recording with his own group, The Jovino Santos Neto Quartet. Refreshingly, Jovino is as unpretentious a player as he is a formidable one. Our interview took place during a break in Fourth World's hectic touring schedule and touched on many aspects of his esteemed career beginning with his years as a member of O Grupo and with Hermeto Pascoal.
What was it like working with Hermeto?
The only thing we could be sure of when playing with Hermeto was that we would be rehearsing from Monday to Friday, from 2 to 8 p.m. There wasn't much chance of becoming bored, however, because every rehearsal was different. One day we worked on something that Hermeto composed. The next rehearsal was completely improvised. And the next day Hermeto would compose right in front of us. We were his apprentices and he made sure we developed our own styles. The first thing he taught us was to listen to ourselves. At times we would not play a gig for months, but we would be there preparing new music. Recording was always a rare event. Only a small fraction of Hermeto's vast output as a composer was recorded. We did a fair amount of touring, mostly in Europe and a couple of US tours. During the times when we would be working on recording a new album, we would sometimes spend a month in São Paulo in the studio for at least 12 hours a day.
Do you feel that Hermeto was your teacher as well as your band leader?
Yes, Hermeto has a natural gift for discovering the potential talent in a young musician, and he knows how to make that talent grow and mature. For example, he told me right after I joined his group that I could become a conductor. At first I thought this was nonsense, because I had no idea of what conducting was. But with time I began to take care of his scores for orchestras and big bands. Now I am a conductor. Hermeto also knows how to write music that is just beyond what you are capable of playing at the time, so that in the process of studying that particular piece you learn exactly that new skill that was lacking. In his arrangements, all the parts are given something challenging to play. He composed new music in front of us, so we could see the process taking place. Since the group's line-up was constant for so many years, he also could write with these musicians in mind. Now that I am working on my own compositions and arrangements, I see how important that factor is!
Did the other members of O Grupo also see Hermeto as their teacher?
Yes, as I said before, Hermeto knows which language to use with any specific musician, so that his ideas are felt and understood. That is why most of the musicians who came in contact with him speak so highly of "O Campeão" -- the Champ. That is what he called his co-workers, and in turn what they called him.
Can you describe a typical O Grupo rehearsal?
The rehearsals were where everything happened. There we would play a theme over and over, dissecting all of its parts. Sometimes we would work with only one or two parts then add the others one by one. The reason for this was that each of the musicians would get to know all the other parts and then be much better equipped to blend in his individual voice. It was a great exercise in concentration and focus. However, Hermeto knew well when to break the rehearsal and go into something totally different, such as composing a new theme on the spot or launching a jam session so that everyone could relax.
He would often sit at the drums, and that would be a sign that we would start something wild and free. We would spend a lot more time, however, reading music than improvising. We would often work for months on arrangements that we would rarely, if ever, play onstage. Hermeto said that this was to form the musical ideas in our minds, a way to increase our repertoire of ideas, so that when we would play a solo, at last, there would be a lot more inspiration to draw from. Now as I teach my students, I understand how important that time was in my formation as a musician. It is amazing how some remark that Hermeto or some other fellow musician from O Grupo made surfaces now in my mind, and I see exactly how that transformed my way of hearing and playing music.
You mentioned that Hermeto made sure each player developed his own style and repertoire of ideas. How did he do that?
During my first years with O Grupo, Hermeto was often there with us, coaching, guiding, and playing with us. As time passed, he would leave us playing by ourselves, until he would come upstairs to the rehearsal room with a new piece for us to play. In the last two or three years I spent there, he would not rehearse with us, not even before a major tour. We would prepare the themes, and he would improvise over them during our performances. When he was not in the room, he was downstairs practicing the cavaquinho (small four-string guitar) or the button accordion and listening to soccer games on the radio, one of his favorite pastimes.
How did Hermeto channel all the energy of O Grupo on stage, with respect to entries, dynamics, meter, and nuance? Were there ever conventional rehearsals for these details?
All of our stage dynamics, cues, and a lot of the music was done by Hermeto on the spot. The only thing we knew was that we had to keep all of our attention on him because he might change the structure of a piece at anytime. This kept us always on our toes, and when we were surprised by what we were doing, so was the audience. The band was so tight that it was very hard for a listener to tell when we were playing written scores or when we were improvising.
A live performance with Hermeto must be very different from the live performances with Fourth World?
The differences between performing with Hermeto and with Airto are many, but the most important thing is that I feel it is a privilege and an honor to have had the chance to play with two of the most important musicians of this century. I admire them both, and have learned a lot from both of them. There has never been a "typical" concert with Hermeto. Our repertoire was quite big (from 30 to 50 working songs at one time), but we never knew which ones we would perform until he would call them.
Besides, he would often create new themes on the stage, and we would join him. His ability to create new music almost instantly never ceased to amaze me. The open sections were always a surprise, and Hermeto would often invite other musicians onstage to play with us. The band was super tight, due to our routine of rehearsals, six hours a day, five days a week. This generated a kind of telepathy among the band members, so we could almost predict when Hermeto would cue us to stop one arrangement and start another.
Playing with Airto and Fourth World has given me a whole new set of challenges. Airto is a fantastic drummer and percussionist. He is incredibly sensitive and intuitive in his playing. Up until the time I joined Fourth World, I was mainly a pianist. Suddenly I became a keyboardist as well. For me, this was like learning a totally new instrument. Airto has helped me a lot in discovering new sounds and ways to incorporate them in our sets. Even though our song lists are more structured with Fourth World, there are always free sections where we create fresh music in every performance. Airto has the power to conjure up energy and focus it on the audience. It is great to see how the public reacts to his pandeiro (tambourine) solo, no matter where in the world we might be. Both Airto and Flora Purim have played with the greatest musicians of the world, and their experience is reflected in the way they perform.
How is a pianist's approach and a keyboardist's different?
What I mean by being a keyboardist is that there are things that you can do on a keyboard that you could never do on the piano and vice-versa. I have been learning how to explore these possibilities. They include the use of samples, pads, blending sounds to create new colors, the use of pedals, aftertouch, and effects. I still need to go daily to the piano, however, and work on all those things that you can never do on keyboards.
There were some rather unusual O Grupo performances. Do any in particular stand out?
In one instance, in 1983 at a concert in Itabira, Minas Gerais, Hermeto collected all of our music folders two minutes before the show and told us that on that day no one was going to read anything. Instead, he composed all of the music we played onstage. He started on the piano then cued us in until the themes were in full swing. No one in the audience noticed what was going on. At other times, some spontaneous idea was so good that we would incorporate it in the next shows.
That was the case of the "Bandinhas." Once, in 1982, while playing at the IBAM theater in Rio, we started to leave the stage with piccolo, two saxes, tuba, and percussion and go out of the theater to the streets playing some themes that Hermeto had written for that line-up. The audience followed us outside. We paraded for a while and then went back in to finish the show. That proved to be such a hit that we ended up doing it at a great number of concerts all over the world. This created some extremely funny situations, such as our climbing aboard city buses, entering bars, and sometimes going miles away from the venue. At times we had literally thousands of people dancing behind us through the streets. The Pied Pipers...
So the "Bandinhas" were a group within the group?
The "Bandinhas" were like a portable version of our group. Instead of piano, bass, and drums we would play tuba (Itiberê), flute/piccolo (me), saxes (Hermeto and Carlos), and percussion (Márcio, Pernambuco, and Fábio). That line-up enabled us to actually march out of whatever venue we might be playing, go into the streets, and play while the crowds were following us. Hermeto penned a whole lot of compositions just for this formation. Some are like traditional maxixes and marches, others are like contemporary chamber music pieces. I transcribed a couple and played them with the Campinas Symphony Orchestra in 1993.
Jovino, there have been times when I'd be listening to a recording by another artist and all of a sudden....I'd be grinning ear to ear and swear I was hearing O Grupo. For example, didn't you guys play on Maria Bethânia's 1990 disc Canto do Pajé?
Yes, the whole Grupo played on the cut "Tomara," on the Bethânia CD. Hermeto wrote the arrangement, and I played piano and conducted the string section. I am also featured on Hermeto's arrangements of "Arrastão" by Edu Lobo and Vinícius de Moraes, "Modinha" by Jobim and Vinícius (available on the Songbook series on the Lumiar label from Brazil) and on "Marina" by Dorival Caymmi (on the Caymmi series, same label).
Hermeto's concept of The Sound of the Aura is hard for many listeners to grasp. Can you break it down a little?
Hermeto has broken down the barriers that define what music is and what it is not. His sensitive ears hear music in people's speech, in bird songs, in traffic noises, in industrial sounds. The curious thing is that once people hear what he does with these sounds, they too can only hear them as music. The Sound of the Aura is still in its beginning stages; there is so much that can be done with it. Can you imagine a film where the actors' dialogue is also the soundtrack? I am still preparing myself to be able to do more of this. It requires an ear sharp as a razor and intense concentration. Even though some other people have tried to do something similar, in my opinion, only Hermeto has succeeded in capturing the musical essence of speech.
Why is Hermeto recognized as one of the 20th century's most important composers in Europe but known only to a select audience -- primarily musicians -- in the United States?
Well, you know that in this country you are only considered to be someone in the music business if your CDs are in every store, and how many of them you sell, and if your video plays on MTV. Even though we made a lot of records with O Grupo, they are poorly distributed here and hard to find. Besides that, Hermeto never really got along well with record companies. They tend to consider his music something for the elite only and never promoted it like they should have. We played live to audiences all over the world, and we could see how the music touched people, no matter where we were. A lot of his music is actually stuff you can dance to, happy and with a lot of swing. When I produced Festa dos Deuses, it was meant to be distributed by Polygram in the US. But then Polygram said that the American public was not ready for this kind of music. Do you agree with that?
When is the American public ever ready? I believe there is a tremendous lag time between the first performance of serious new music (Cage, Stravinsky, Pascoal) and the American public's acceptance, let alone appreciation of it. Americans are too dependent on the record companies to tell them what's OK.
Jovino, about three years ago you made Seattle your home. It was a dramatic climatic shift from Rio. What besides your studies of conducting prompted your move to the Pacific Northwest?
I cannot really explain the reasons that led me to move to Seattle. It was a very intuitive decision. I felt good when I played here with Hermeto in 1990 and even better when we returned one year later. I considered going to New York, Boston, Los Angeles, London, or Zurich. After visiting many schools, I realized that I could never teach or study in an institution where music is separated into categories such as "classical," "jazz," etc., not after what I had been exposed to with Hermeto. It was then, in 1993, that I got in touch with Julian Priester, the great trombonist and a teacher at Cornish. He told me how much they would like me to come here. Cornish is a school where the walls that separate musical styles are very thin, and I collaborate frequently with players and composers from every department. This is a very advanced place and has been the creative home of people like John Cage and Imogen Cunningham.
I came with my wife and two children, and I am very happy to live here. Of course, I travel a lot all over the world, and I get to meet a lot of interesting musicians, but I love my home base here. My study of conducting was never pursued with the intention of obtaining a degree or achieving fame as a "maestro." I wanted to learn the language of the orchestra, so that I could translate to a wider circle of musicians the musical concepts that I learned with Hermeto. I feel that I am now able to communicate with any musician, regardless of whether he is classically trained or does not read a note of music. As with everything else, this is an ongoing process and by getting involved in projects like The Rite of Spring, I expand my knowledge and fulfill my mission of making music a truly universal tool for growth.
Tell me about your re-orchestration of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring. Will you be conducting?
Since I first heard Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, I was impressed by its rhythmic richness. What I am trying to do is imagine that Igor is alive today and realizes how the resources available to a composer have evolved and that he can add these resources to the original ideas of the piece. For instance, when he wrote it in 1911, the only way you could have big sounds with an orchestra was by using a lot of brass and the usual symphonic percussion instruments. Now the concept of percussion has been brought to a new level by people like Airto Moreira. By using keyboards, we can get huge sounds that do not sound heavy and cumbersome. Today we also have more musicians who have been exposed to a wider variety of rhythms and who can retrieve the original grooves in The Rite.
It's incredible how the piece starts to sound now that I am playing it in my home on my sequencer. My idea is to create a performing core unit of up to 10 musicians who will tour and perform with local symphony orchestras. I'll be using the strings and some woodwinds from the original arrangement and working with dance companies and multimedia artists to generate the visual part. It is a big project, and it might take a while, but I am getting ready to do it. I know that this might stir up some "purists" who believe that a piece of music is made of concrete and should not be touched, but in my mind I can see old Igor smiling at the idea. Controversy is what his piece created when it was first performed. Maybe I should call it The Riot of Spring.
Which 20th century conductors have influenced you?
I cannot really tell you which conductors have influenced me, apart from Roger Nelson, my conducting professor at Cornish College in Seattle. I actually do not look at all at conductors when I hear orchestras playing. I try to hear how the music is being performed. For me, the best conductor is the one that does his job so well that he is almost transparent, becoming one with the music. When I studied conducting, I learned from a variety of sources about the techniques employed, but the core of my concept of music was formed during my years in Jabour, Rio, playing Hermeto's music.
That has prepared me to face any musical situation, in any kind of style or setting. I am not saying that I know everything -- that would be ridiculous and arrogant. What I am saying is that I have learned to see and hear music as one infinite field of possibilities without any walls or divisions between what people commonly call popular, or jazz, classical, folk, world, etc. Those are labels that music merchants use to put on bins at record stores. They should never be applied to a musician's brain. When you really learn music, you learn all music. In Hermeto's words, "Music is like the air and the water. It flows from here to there, changes its aspects, but its essence is timeless." It truly holds the world together.
Your students at Cornish College of the Arts must really appreciate a teacher with a professional career in progress. How does your touring with Fourth World and performing with The Jovino Santos Neto Quartet impact your students at the college? How do you like academia?
For me, it is a great opportunity to be able to teach and share my experiences with younger musicians. It brings to my mind all the remarks Hermeto and the other musicians in O Grupo would make way back when I was learning the basics. When you can see yourself in the two positions, teacher and pupil, at the same time, it gives you a great feeling. I only teach a few hours each week. Most of my time is spent composing, arranging, and practicing on my instruments. I often go on the road, performing mostly with Airto or as a solo pianist, and I play with my quartet here around Seattle. This is also a good source of inspiration for my students, since I speak about the reality of life as a touring and performing musician instead of only theory.
Are students at Cornish College hungry to learn Brazilian music? How do you structure your class?
I teach Latin Jazz Ensemble at the undergraduate level. Basically, I use this class to explore a variety of rhythms, and since it is a good size, I can try out all sorts of arrangements and orchestrations. It is very rewarding to see people who were not born in Brazil begin to understand and feel Brazilian rhythms such as baião, samba, maracatu, and frevo and be able to incorporate these patterns into their everyday playing. We are all excited about an upcoming performance in December at the College. I also teach students on a private basis, and here I go into other areas such as composition, arranging, and the basic concepts about being a musician.
Your philosophy of music and its role as a tool for transformation reminds me of the 1+1 theory of language acquisition.
When you are able to see music as a tool for transformation, you can put yourself on a never-ending path of evolution. I study music every day, and every day I find new aspects of it I had not seen before. Hermeto was a real inspiration for this path, because he wrote music for us to play that was just beyond what we were capable of at the moment. In the process of learning that particular piece, you developed a skill that you did not have before, and you added another item to your repertoire of musical ideas. After you convince yourself that music is a universal language, you realize that every musician is on his or her path of evolution. It does not really matter how far you are on that path. It is more important to feel that there is such a way and that you can improve your own skills through concentration and discipline.
The Stepping on White Sand CD (pieces for solo piano) really drew my attention to Hermeto's extraordinary harmonies. They are so beautifully exposed in this setting. When I tried to describe them to another musician, I was hard pressed. Eventually, I said that they were a cross between Charles Mingus and Igor Stravinsky.
It's always hard to explain Hermeto's harmonic concepts, even to other musicians. When asked how he developed his harmonic sense, Hermeto said that he used to hang around as a kid at his grandfather's blacksmith shop. There he used to pick up pieces of iron and hit them, and then he tried to emulate all the harmonics he had heard on his little button accordion. Remember that this was a place with no radio or even electricity. I believe that this fact shows how sensitive to sound his ears became. Because he does not follow the usual chord progressions in his music, it always sounds fresh and unexpected.
The other interesting thing about his chords is that even though they are quite elaborate, they are mostly composed of simple triads (three-note chords) stacked over each other. This approach is radically different from the one taught at most music schools. It offers a way to create music that does not use scales and modes. I have been showing this concept to my students here at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, and it is amazing to see how they react when they discover that simple chords can create complex harmonies.
There are so many works to choose from. How did you select the pieces for the Stepping on White Sand project?
I basically decided to record those pieces that have become favorites of mine, music that I have been playing over the years. Some of them are actually just the piano part of an O Grupo arrangement. Hermeto always said that in his arrangements each individual part could be played as a solo, so I did just that. There are a lot more than those pieces. I play his compositions every day, and I am always surprised at how much beautiful music there is to be played. I am working now with Hermeto on a piano suite that he wrote in 1987, and which he is now re-working. It should last over 20 minutes when ready.
You don't record material that Hermeto has already recorded. I find that really interesting.
The reason I do not feel like recording music that Hermeto has already done is that there is so much that has not been done. Even so, I re-recorded the piece "Spock na Escada" (originally on Lagoa da Canoa, Município de Arapiraca, from 1984) with Mike Marshall, the mandolin player from California, on a CD that will be released on the Earth Beat label. We had a lot of fun doing that piece. We also did "Desencontro Certo." It also interests me to show Hermeto's other sides, as a composer for flute quartets, string quartets, big bands, and chamber ensembles, as well as music for solo instruments.
Will we ever have the opportunity to experience more than a fraction of Hermeto's musical treasures?
Since I left Hermeto's Group, in 1993, I made it one of my priorities to make his music available to musicians all over the world. I have always been a sort of librarian for his manuscripts, filing and organizing them. When I moved to Seattle, I started to prepare computer scores of some pieces. Now we are getting close to publishing a book with some of his solo piano music. This should be followed by some flute ensembles, string quartets, orchestral works, big band charts, and, of course, some of the arrangements from our group. I have over one thousand pieces on file, so this will take a lot of effort. I am, however, the one responsible for this, and I regard it as my mission to make sure that this amazing body of music gets passed on and heard. I am working closely with Hermeto on this project. We hope to have the first book out quite soon.
The Jovino Santos Neto Quartet is getting ready to release their first CD. What sorts of things can we look forward to? What will the disc be titled?
We are now in the pre-production stage of my first CD as a group leader. We were in the studio at the end of November and are planning a spring release on Liquid City Records -- a Seattle-based label with national and international distribution. For this first work I am preparing a batch of new compositions featuring Hans Teuber on flutes and saxophones, Chuck Deardorf on acoustic and electric basses, and Mark Ivester on drums and percussion, as well as myself on piano, flute, and keyboards. These guys are among the best musicians here in the Pacific Northwest. They have been playing my music for almost three years, and I am very pleased with our sound. We will record mostly my compositions and arrangements, but I want to include at least one piece by Hermeto. The record is not yet titled.
You're a superb flautist. How did you get involved with playing the instrument?
Having heard Hermeto's flute playing, I became very interested in learning the instrument. He helped me a lot, by giving me music to play that was so challenging that I am still learning every day from pieces he wrote over 15 years ago. It was also very inspiring to see him learning to play a new instrument. He did it with electronic keyboards, trumpet, drums, trombone, guitar, and a whole lot of other instruments he created himself. Playing several instruments is not about how many; it's about understanding the nature of each one and bringing that nature out as music.
I'm happy to hear you'll be playing flute on the quartet's disc. I've always been blown away by your flute playing with O Grupo.
Yes, I will be playing flute on this recording. There is one tune inspired by the Bandas de Pífanos of the Brazilian Northeast called "Utopinga" in which we do a flute duet with bass and percussion. I will also have some surprise guests. I believe that the timing is good for such a release.
Airto will be playing some percussion and will also be involved with the sound and production of the project.
What are Bandas de Pífanos?
Banda de Pífanos could be translated as a fife band. These were ensembles with two bamboo flutes, zabumba, snare, and cymbals that were very popular in the Brazilian Northeast for a long time.
Can you describe some of the music on the quartet's new recording?
The music is the result of all the influences I have received in my life. Of course, there is the accent from the school where I studied (Hermeto's Group), but I have also been very inspired by the atmosphere I found here in Seattle and the willingness of the guys in the quartet to embrace the concepts I brought when I moved here. They are all great players and improvisers. I want to create something unique and very special. There are sambas, maracatus, frevos, chorinhos, marcha-ranchos, and many other rhythms in my compositions, and I keep writing more....
1996 Fourth World -- Encounters of the Fourth World (B&W Music)
1995 Jovino Santos Neto -- Stepping on White Sand *
1995 Flora Purim -- Speed of Light (B&W Music)
1993 Jovino Santos Neto -- The Curumim's Journey **
1992 Hermeto e Grupo -- Festa dos Deuses (Polygram,England)
1992 Sergio Mendes -- Brasileiro (Elektra)
1990 Various Artists -- One World, One Voice (Virgin)
1990 Maria Bethânia -- 25 Anos (Polygram)
1989 Hermeto e Grupo -- Mundo Verde Esperança ***
1987 Hermeto e Grupo -- Só Não Toca Quem Não Quer (Som da Gente)
1985 Hermeto e Grupo -- Brasil Universo (Som da Gente)
1984 Hermeto e Grupo -- Lagoa da Canoa, Município de Arapiraca (Som da Gente)
1984 Nene -- Ponto dos Músicos (Paris)
1982 Hermeto e Grupo -- Hermeto Pascoal e Grupo (Som da Gente)
1980 Hermeto e Grupo -- Cérebro Magnético (WEA Brasil)
1979 Hermeto e Grupo -- Ao Vivo em Montreux (WEA Brasil)
1978 Hermeto e Grupo -- Zabumbê-bum-á (WEA Brasil)
*Stepping on White Sand will be released pending label negotiations.
**The Curumim's Journey started as a soundtrack for a theater play back in Rio in 1993. Jovino plays keyboards, creating all sorts of musical landscapes, from orchestral to very rhythmic grooves with the help of Fábio Pascoal (Hermeto's son) on percussion.
***Mundo Verde Esperanca was supposed to be released in 1989 by Som da Gente. However, Hermeto got upset with them and walked out of the studio when the project was 80% mixed. It has never been released. Polygram wanted to release it in 1992, but could not get the master from Som da Gente. This is a beautiful record, with added strings and guest musicians. Maybe it will come out one day.
You can check out Fourth World's concert itinerary on the web at: http://www.onri.go.jp/musica/af/tour.html
Prior to my interview with Jovino, I spoke with mandolin virtuoso Mike Marshall, a musician known for his work with Stephane Grappelli, the David Grisman Quartet, Bela Fleck, and many others. Marshall recently finished recording a duet project with Jovino and had this to say about the versatile multi-instrumentalist:
What an amazing musician and a gold mine of musical inspiration. His work with Hermeto and all the guys in that group was some of the most inspiring music that I've ever come in contact with in any genre. What dedication to this creative genius those musicians had. A perfect moment in musical history where a brilliant mind is surrounded by young, eager talent and where the elements all came together to make these incredible artistic statements that will last forever.
For me to get as close as I have to Hermeto's music through Jovino is something that I will be eternally grateful for. His enthusiasm for the music seems to be boundless. It is as if even he had just discovered this music yesterday. He is completely willing to play this music with anyone at any time, to share the work and teach the music at whatever pace you can grasp it.
As for Jovino's own music, I really see it as a natural outgrowth of this incredibly fertile environment that he was a part of for so many years. His own music uses some of the same musical concepts as Hermeto's, but within this framework, he has found his own voice and is creating some truly unique work with his own beautiful signature.
To be able to play these duets with Jovino for my recording was an incredible inspiration. His enthusiasm is so contagious. We hit it off from the first notes that we played together. I would say that we hit it off even before that. Just talking with him on the phone before meeting I felt this kinship, this brotherhood that developed very early on and continues to deepen each time we are together, fueled by this incredible amount of mutual respect and love for the music. I only hope that more musicians and scholars will understand the importance of the gift that Jovino has to offer in terms of sharing his experiences with having worked with one of the true living geniuses of our time. It is really something to be around.
Bruce Gilman plays cuíca for Mocidade Independente Los Angeles, received his MA from California Institute of the Arts, and teaches English and ESL in Long Beach, California. You can reach him through his E-mail: email@example.com
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