Erik Charlston Jazzbrazil: Essentially Hermeto

Vibraphonist Erik Charlston was wise to recruit native Brazilians for this tribute to the great, enigmatic composer Hermeto Pascoal. Drummer Rogerio Boccato and percussionist Café both hail from Sao Paolo, and Boccato has also worked with Pascoal; together they provide the spark that ignites this effervescent, soulful project. From the opening bouncy baiao “Vale Da Ribeira,” which showcases Ted Nash’s soaring alto sax along with Mark Soskin’s forceful comping and glistening piano solo, to the closing samba “Viva O Rio De Janeiro,” this session oozes authenticity. The ebullient choro “Rebulico” features Nash on clarinet doubling the cascading melody alongside Charlston’s marimba, before each turns in exhilarating solo work. The stirring ballad “Santo Antonio” pairs Nash’s flute and Charlston’s vibes on the frontline, and the Afro-Brazilian meracatu number “Essa Foi Demais,” introduced by Café’s solo on the berimbau, a one-stringed, bow-like Brazilian instrument, finds the leader stretching out on marimba over a mesmerizing modal groove. Charlston and Soskin also turn in a bristling duet rendition of Egberto Gismonti’s rhythmically charged “Frevo Rasgado.”