Hermeto Pascoal

08/11/2017The Lost '76 Vice-Versa Studio Sessions Out Now On Far Out Recordings

Specialising in Brazilian music, renowned UK-based imprint Far Out Recordings is making its 200th release (November 3, 2017) a big one, as it readies a previously unreleased album by the one and only Hermeto Pascoal and his Grupo Vice Versa. "Once described by Miles Davis as 'the most impressive musician in the world', there is good reason (beyond his Gandalf-like appearance) why he is known as 'O Bruxo' (the wizard)." As a matter of fact, "few musicians have ever reached his stature. A true maestro and a cultural icon, he represents the highest level of musical evolution; as a multi-instrumentalist, as a composer, and as an arranger".

According to the album bio, the recording in question dates back to 1976 and was recorded at Rogério Duprat's Vice Versa Studios in São Paulo in just two days. Participating in the sessions was a rhythm section composed of Zé Eduardo Nazario (drums), Zeca Assumpção (bass) and Lelo Nazario (electric piano), as well as saxophonists Mauro Senise, Raul Mascarenhas and Nivaldo Ornerlas, guitarist Toninho Horta and vocalist Aleuda Chaves. Apparently, that same group had played a show together shortly before and, after performing for hours on end, had achieved "an almost spiritual musical connection [...] as the music organically moved from structured compositions to ‘freer’ improvisational works".

Recognising the potential for his compositions to reach 'higher ground', Hermeto Pascoal and his group took to the studio. "Almost everything recorded on the first take ended up staying in the final mix. After the mixdown, Lelo Nazario would ask sound engineer Renato Viola to make him a copy of all the material, from machine to machine. As far as we know, the master tape eventually got lost over time, but Lelo kept his copy in his studio’s archives, where it stayed for over forty years." 

What we have here then, is no short of a musical miracle, "a forgotten moment in Brazilian history" and an indispensable document from what many consider "the golden age of Brazilian music"

Fueled by Hermeto Pascoal's revolutionary vision, "Hermeto Pascoal & Grupo Vice Versa: Viajando Com O Som (the lost ’76 Vice Versa Studio Sessions)" contains four tracks, one of which (Casinha Pequenina) lasts a whopping 26 minutes and 34 seconds. So if you enjoy the free spirit of jazz paired with Brazilian grooves and breathtaking musicality, you may want to hear this.

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom