- Voz E Vento
- A Gandaia Das Ondas / Pedra E Areia
- Maracuta Blue
- Os Guizos
- Alegria Do Vaqueiro
- Nem Um Talvez
- A Fala Da Paixao
- Aquela Coisa
- Bonus: Nas Quebradas
Erik Charlston JazzBrasil – Jazz Weekly
Lush and warm atmospheres are created by Erik Charlston, as he plays vibes, marimba and even sings a bit with a suave team of Ted Nash/fl-sax-cl, Mark Soskin/p, Jay Anderson/b, Rogerio Boccato/dr and Keita Ogawa/perc.
Tropical marimba veers into a rich salsa for Nash’s alto on the cool toned “Voz E Vento” with a post bop percussion simmering for Nash on “Maracatu Blue.” A coy “Fatima” combines wood blocks and clarinet with a lovely flute floating over the percussion on “Nem Um Talvez.” Charlston’s voice is earthy for the folk-themed “Alegria Do Vaqueiro” and emotive as the team saunters during “A Gandaia Das Ondas/Pedra E Area.” The team shows bop chops with good vibes on “Aquela Coisa” and a sensuous samba features the breezy melodica provided by Soskin during “A Fala Da Paixo.” Summer breezes!
New York City Jazz Record – Hermeto: Voice and Wind
Vibraphonist Erik Charlston is a versatile artist who has performed/recorded with Wynton Marsalis, Dave Brubeck, the New York Philharmonic, Tony Bennett, Metallica, Sting and Elton John, to name a few. Growing up in Chicago, he was exposed to classical, soul music and street drummers, which prepared him for a career in many genres. More than seven years ago he founded the sextet JazzBrasil, inspired by Brazilian composer Hermeto Pascoal’s way of combining different musical cultures, a fearless style nevertheless respectful of tradition. Its debut Essentially Hermeto from 2012 was critically acclaimed and won the sextet many fans.
Hermeto: Voice and Wind showcases interpretations of six of Pascoal’s compositions as well as works of guitarist Egberto Gismonti, singer-songwriter Lenine, a traditional tune and a Charlston original. The sextet is made up of excellent musicians: Ted Nash (saxophone, flute and clarinet), Mark Soskin (piano and melodica), Keita Ogawa (percussion), Rogério Boccato (drums and percussion) and Jay Anderson (bass). Charlston also plays marimba and sings in Portuguese on three tunes.
Listeners will find themselves captivated by the earthy traditional Brazilian rhythms and highly sophisticated jazz harmonies. There are many outstanding tracks: on “Nem Um Talvez”, first heard on Miles Davis’ Live/Evil, Nash’s flute leads the beautiful dreamy melody supported by marimba and bass; Charlston’s “Maracatu Blue” infuses Brazilian rhythms with the blues to astonishing effect; “Os Guizos” presents a harmonically expansive duet between vibraphone and piano; and in “A Fala Da Paixao” marimba makes room for an intimate conversation between melodica and clarinet. The most energetic and exuberant tune and percussion highlight is found on “Alegria do Vaqueiro”, a traditional cowboy song that evokes the sound and movement of herds across the plains. Try as you may, you will not find fault with this recording. You might just wish you could understand Portuguese and the lyrics.
Percussive Notes – Hermeto Voice And Wind
Hermeto: Voice and Wind is vibist Erik Charlston’s second recording featuring the music of Hermeto Pascoal, the inventive multi-instrumental icon from Brazil. The recording features his band, JazzBrasil, with Charlston on vibes, marimba, and voice with Ted Nash on reeds/winds, Mark Soskin on piano and melodica, Jay Anderson on bass, Rogério Boccato on drums and percussion, and Keita Ogawa on percussion.
One of the highlights for this listener is the jazz marimba playing of Charlston. His infectious rhythmic sense as a jazz soloist coupled with fine recording production put the marimba in a spotlight role when featured on this recording such as on the opening track, “Voz e Vento.” He is particularly complemented by the outstanding saxophone soloist Ted Nash on “Maracatu Blue.”
I found Charlston’s overall musicianship as both a jazz vibist and marimbist to bring up the most immediate shortlist pantheon of great jazz mallet players. Charlston’s name doesn’t typically come to mind, but it most assuredly should as he has the confidently endless flowing improvisational ability of a Mike Mainieri on the vibes as evidenced on “Os Guizos.” His impressive ma-rimba playing and flexibility is akin to that of the late Dave Samuels, and his ability to convincingly blend the mallet instruments across the entire recording as inventive accompaniment is Dave Friedman-esque! In a single performer there is so much variety and skilled musicianship as a mallet player that it’s easy to overlook his convincingly Brazilian sounding vocal ability.
The rhythm section of JazzBrasil is a tight and complementary unit with the always outstanding Japanese percussionist Keita Ogawa blending nicely throughout. Hermeto: Voice and Wind is so much more than an homage to the great Brazilian maestro. That Charlston and JazzBrasil know Pascoal’s music well is evident throughout, as the Brazilian authenticity of their performances goes hand in hand with their strong jazz sensibilities.
- – N. Scott Robinson