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Jovino mission: to spread Hermeto Pascoal

Seattle-based Jovino Santos Neto has one mission: make
Hermeto Pascoal musical genius known to the world. He has collected Hermeto’s
original manuscripts and has a file of over one thousand of his compositions.
Maybe Jovino can help us solve the mystery why despite being considered
a genius in Europe Hermeto is all but unknown in the US.

Bruce Gilman

“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?

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….


Discography

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


Contagious enthusiasm

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.

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