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Artist’s Choice: Erik Charlston Revisits Hermeto Pascoal

The vibraphonist shines a spotlight on an artist Miles Davis called one of the most important on the planet

Erik Charlston on Hermeto Pascoal
Erik Charlston (photo: Richard Blinkoff)

Hermeto Pascoal is a genius, and to talk about his music is very humbling. After working together, Miles Davis called him “one of the most important musicians on the planet.” As a child in rural northeastern Brazil with very poor eyesight, needing to stay out of the sun due to his albino complexion, he spent a lot of time alone, listening. The sounds of his grandfather’s blacksmith shop, of his family’s farm animals, of leaves in the wind and water in a creek, just as much as the accordion his father taught him, became music. I chose these tracks with the hope of showing how broad Hermeto’s musical world is. (I would also be remiss if I didn’t thank Jovino Santos Neto, Hermeto’s keyboardist and probably the foremost authority on his music, for his generosity and help over the years.)

Listen to a Spotify playlist featuring some of the songs in this Artist’s Choice:

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Originally Published

Erik Charlston

Erik Charlston, a percussionist and jazz vibraphonist, has performed or recorded with Wynton Marsalis, Steve Coleman, James Carter, Orlando Puntilla Rios, Sam Rivers, Dave Brubeck, and Tony Bennett, among others. The latest album by his JazzBrasil sextet, Hermeto: Voice and Wind (Sunnyside), pays tribute to the music of Hermeto Pascoal.