We have heard a great deal of so-called Brazilian Jazz since the earliest visits to that country by Herbie Mann, Stan Getz and Bud Shank in the 1960s. The resulting flood of recordings has had a very varied relationship to authentic Brazilian forms, but no-one is more representative of the heart of this genre than Hermeto Pascoal. Pianist, flautist, guitarist, bassist, instrument builder, arranger and composer, Hermeto is regarded by many musicians as the great genius of Brazilian jazz and one of the most extraordinary musicians in the world, profoundly influencing artists such as Flora Purim, Airto Moreira, and Milton Nascimento. Indeed, it was Airto who stated that, "He is the most complete musician I ever met in my life. I consider him almost a genius."
In 1996, upon reaching the age of sixty, Pascoal decided to celebrate by composing one piece of music every day for the next year. Faithful to this resolution, he composed 366 musical vignettes that have been published, in manuscript form, under the title The Calendário so Som (Calender of Sound). This collection came to the attention of New York guitarist, vocalist, arranger and record producer Richard Boukas, who began to perform them with Weinstein, developing arrangements from the manuscripts. Finally a dozen or so pieces were selected for this recording.
The result holds the interest from beginning to end. As Weinstein writes, "Boukas' arrangements and use of timbres knit the musicians and the compositions into aseamless whole." His guitar and vocal work get to the heart of the music and, along with the excellent rhythm section, which includes Nilson Matta of Trio da Paz, provide the perfect support for Weinstein's highly imaginative and lucid flute. And the program is consistently interesting, with valsas, bossa novas, choros, a samba, etc. It is a lovely record and should be required listening for everyone who has an interest in Brazilian music or who would like to develop one. As Weinstein comments, "The commentary for the first song is; 'A vida só é linda porque estaos todos sempre juntos.' This could be the motto of the album: beautiful because we are always joined together.'"