Serenata is the beautifully sensitive new release by Mike Marshall and Jovino Santos Neto. It is a tribute to the internationally-renowned Brazilian multi-instrumentalist Hermeto Pascoal and consists entirely of his compositions.
Pascoal (now 65 years old) is a self-taught musician who began his study of music as a young child in his grandfather’s blacksmith shop, where he used to pick up pieces of iron and hit them in an attempt to create music. He held on to that organic approach to making music, having recorded and played concerts in which he has created music in a variety of unique ways, from banging on kettles and pans to sampling traffic sounds and pig noises. He also mastered a multitude of traditional instruments, including piano, guitar, flute, cavaquinho, trumpet, tuba, accordion and percussion. In addition to being a great instrumentalist, Pascoal is an extremely prolific and well-respected composer. He has written over 2,500 tunes (and counting), some of which have been recorded by such legends as Ron Carter, John McLaughlin, Duke Pearson, Gil Evans and the Berlin Symphony. In addition to 12 solo albums, he’s also recorded with, among others, Airto Moreira, Sergio Mendes, Alphonso Johnson, Cal Tjader, Sivuca and Miles Davis (he was featured on the ‘Live Evil’ album along with two of his compositions, "A Igrejinha" and "Nenhum Talvez").
On this album, Pascoal’s music is given new life by Marshall and Neto. Here Marshall plays mandolin, steel and nylon string guitars and bouzouki and Neto plays acoustic piano, harmonium and flutes. As a special bonus, Pascoal himself makes a guest appearance on bass flute and melodica, along with Aaron Johnston on drums and percussion (2 tracks), Brian Rice on Pandeiro (1 track), Michael Spiro on triangle (1 track) and John Santos on Surdo (1 track).
The music of Hermeto Pascoal, as it is presented here, is an equal mix of jazz, new age, classical and Brazilian folk. It ranges from somber minimalism to perky gregariousness. This is a soothing blend, with heavy emphasis on melody and acoustic textures. It is music that has the ability to pull you in to the point that time seems to stand still as the sounds and vibrations whisk you away to places unknown. This is fantastic music performed by fantastic musicians, sure to move even the most stubborn listener.