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Hermeto Pascoal and his Grupo unveil an exclusive live recording from 1981

The Brazilian sorcerer has announced the release of Planetário Da Gávea, the recording of a magical concert held on a warm Rio night. 

Growing up on a farm in Brazil’s northeastern state of Alagoas, Hermeto has always been deeply in tune with his environment. In his youth, he would build scrap-metal instruments in his blacksmith grandfather’s forge, and sit for hours by the lake listening to the sounds of nature. On a balmy Brazilian night in February, 1981, together with his new band formation known simply as “O Grupo” (The Group), he gathered a crowd in Rio de Janeiro’s Gávea neighbourhood under the city’s Planetário (Planetarium). Alongside musicians like Helio Delmiro and Milton Nascimento (who were in the audience that night), the public was to see the great “Bruxo” (sorcerer) in action, a man who electrified and challenged Brazilian standards to a rare level. 

The series of concerts at the Planetário marked the birth of “O Grupo” which would last for the next eleven years (apart from Zé Eduardo Nazário). It was one of saxophonist/flautist Carlos Malta’s first gigs with the group, and the concert unusually featured two drummers, Zé Eduardo Nazário and Marcio Bahia. Acclaimed keyboard player Jovino Santos Neto was on keyboards, piano and organ, and the great Itiberê Zwarg (who remains in Hermeto’s band to this day), played bass. Rounding the group off was the percussionist Pernambuco. 

Across the recording of the Planetário concert, wild improvisation meets groovy, virtuosic vamping on progressive, extended psychedelic jams. Many compositions are unique to this album, including the wild “Homônimo Sintróvio”, “Vou Pra Lá e Pra Cá”, “Bombardino”, which features Hermeto’s wonderfully absurd call and response mouthpiece soliloquy, and the exaltant “Samba Do Belaqua”, already available. The powerfully delivered rhythms and wild solos are punctuated by Hermeto’s unpredictable, at times comical sonic antics. 

Planetário Da Gávea by Hermeto Pascoal, out on February 4, 2022 via Far out Recordings.

Hermeto Pascoal – Samba do Belaqua