Hermeto Pascoal

Hermeto Pascoal (born June 22, 1936) is a Brazilian composer, multi-instrumentalist, and bandleader who played with the samba-jazz combos Sambrasa Trio and Quarteto Nôvo during the mid-1960s. After a brief spell with Brazilian Octopus at the close of that decade, he released his first headlining album on Cobblestone in 1970. Since that time, he has issued more than 20 albums on assorted labels, including the popular Warner Bros. releases Slaves Mass (1977) and Zabumbê-bum-á (1979).

Pascoal was born on June 22, 1936, in Lagoa da Canoa, Alagoas, a part of Brazil without electricity at the time. He took up the accordion as a child and practiced for hours daily as his family worked the fields. As an albino, he was unable to partake in outdoor work. In 1958, he gained his first recorded credit on the album Batucando no Morro by Pernambuco do Pandeiro e Seu Regional. A then-clean-shaven Pascoal appears on the cover as part of the six-piece band.

In 1964, Pascoal arranged and played flute and piano on the Continental release Roteiro Noturno by Mauricy Moura. That same year, he formed Conjunto Som 4 with trumpeter Papudinho and contrabassist Azeitona. Their self-titled album appeared that year on Continental. It features 12 bossa nova standards, including compositions by Marcos Valle, Baden Powell, and Vinicius De Moraes.

In 1965, Pascoal replaced pianist Camargo Mariano in the Sambalanço Trio, which modified its name to the Sambrasa Trio for the album Em Som Maior on Som Maior. Also that year, he played on the RCA release Caminho by guitarist/songwriter Walter Santos. In 1966, he played flute on three tracks on the self-titled album by Trio Marayá. He then reteamed with Sambrasa percussionist Airto Moreira in Quarteto Nôvo, which cut an eponymous 1967 album on Odeon. The band folded when Moreira fled to the US with his wife, Flora Purim.

Pascoal co-wrote “De Serra, de Terra e de Mar,” recorded by singer Geraldo Vandré for his 1968 Odeon release Canto Geral. In 1969, Pascoal surfaced in the samba-psych Brazilian Octopus, named for its eight-man lineup. Their singular album appeared that year on Fermata with two Pascoal compositions, “Rhodosando” and “Chayê.” Concurrently, his song “O Ovo (The Egg)” was covered by pianist Manfredo Fest for a non-album A&M single.


  • Hermeto (1970 • Hermeto)
  • A música livre de Hermeto Paschoal (1973 • Hermeto Paschoal)
  • Slaves Mass (1977)
  • Zabumbê-bum-á (1979)
  • Ao vivo Montreux Jazz (live, 1979 • Hermeto Pascoal & Grupo)
  • Cérebro magnético (1980)
  • Hermeto Pascoal & Grupo (1982 • Hermeto Pascoal & Grupo)
  • Lagoa da Canoa, município de Arapiraca (1984 • Hermeto Pascoal & Grupo)
  • Brasil universo (1986 • Hermeto Pascoal e Grupo)
  • Só não toca quem não quer (1987 • Hermeto Pascoal & Grupo)
  • Por diferentes caminhos (1988)
  • Festa dos deuses (1992 • Hermeto Pascoal & Grupo)
  • Instrumental no CCBB (1993 • Renato Borghetti & Hermeto Pascoal)
  • Eu e eles (1999)
  • Solos do Brasil (2000 • Hermeto Pascoal, Sebastião Tapajós & Gilson Peranzzetta)
  • Mundo verde esperança (2003 • Hermeto Pascoal e Grupo )
  • Viajando com o som (The Lost ’76 Vice-Versa Studio Session) (2017, recorded 1976 • Hermeto Pascoal & Grupo Vice Versa)


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