The Experimental Music of Hermeto Pascoal and Group, 1981-1993

The Experimental Music of Hermeto Pascoal and Group, 1981-1993

Conception and Language

Luiz Costa-Lima Neto


Pendragon Press



The Brazilian multi-instrumentalist, composer, and bandleader Hermeto Pascoal produces music that is unmistakably individual, drawing on a kaleidoscopic variety of influences, including contemporary jazz and the popular musical styles of the Northeast of Brazil, such cocos, emboladas and repentes, as well as baião, frevo and choro, with results verging on contemporary art music. His complex compositions are highly demanding of the performer, with use of dissonant harmonies, polyrhythms, unconventional timbres, atonal improvisations, aleatory techniques and more. He became known to American musicians and music-lovers through a brief period working with the late Miles Davis, and through a remarkable series of recordings for Warner and the Brazilian label Som Da Gente. Luiz Costa-Lima Neto's book is the first publication in English focusing on the work of this musical genius, looking at music produced between 1981 and 1993. During this period Hermeto worked with a group of five musicians in an ensemble that was called "Hermeto Pascoal e Grupo". Working with Hermeto were Itibere Luis Zwarg (electric bass, tuba and bombardon), Jovino Santos Neto (piano, keyboard, flutes), Antonio Luis Santana ("Pernambuco") - (percussion), Carlos Daltro Malta (saxophones, flutes, piccolo) and Marcio Villa Bahia (drum kit and percussion). Luiz Costa-Lima Neto explores the sources of Hermeto's experimental music, their development and characteristics, and describes how these were transformed into a musical system. He reconstructs the processes of creation and music-making by the group, with analysis of a selection of the ensemble's pieces, and demonstrates the innovative role played by Hermeto Pascoal in the history of popular music in Brazil, fusing regional, national, and international elements to create a universal music which continues to affirm it roots.

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November 2015
244 pages
9x6 in
Lives in Music
ISBN: 9781576472248
Format: Paperback
Pendragon Press
BISAC MUS025000, MUS000000
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[T]he author suggests that Hermeto Pascoal's music occupies a place within serious, modernist compositional techniques, and invites us to re-think his stylistic inclusion in Brazilian popular music and to consider him to be an important and interesting exception within popular music. The analysis of the elements of environmental and unconventional sources found in the traditional-cosmopolitan elements of Hermeto's music is used to place it within modern experimental music." [MUSIC REFERENCE QUARTERLY]