Erik Charlston JazzBrasil, Essentially Hermeto (Sunnyside)  On his Sunnyside debut, vibes/marimba player Erik Charlston pays tribute to composer Hermeto Pascoal, who rose to prominence in the ’60s in his native Brazil with the group Quarteto Novo (which also included percussionist Airto Moreira). Charlston and his New York-based group JazzBrasil energetically interpret six Pascoal compositions, as well as Egberto Gismonti’s “Frevo Rasgado” and Luiz Gonzaga and Humberto Teixeira’s “Paraíba.” The latter tune is the only vocal cut on this brilliant album, which was recorded in a single day—an incredible fact to ponder when one considers how intellectual and complex these arrangements are. A serpentine, grin-inducing version of “Rebuliço” features a marimba solo that is as wildly entertaining as anything heard on the soundtrack to a Carl Stalling cartoon. “Santo Antonio” opens with whistling sounds that evoke birds in a rainforest, and Ted Nash’s lovely flute solo gives the song a dreamy, cinematic feel. The adventurous, nine-minute track “Hermeto” is spiced by a propulsive piano solo from Mark Soskin along with Nash’s dynamic flute work. Warning: If you’re reading this review in a town where there is snow on the ground, one listen to the samba “Viva o Rio de Janeiro” will make you yearn for an immediate trip to Brazil. Charlston is a humble leader, and when he steps into the spotlight, as he does with an 82-second vibraphone solo on the aforementioned “Viva,” it’s for good reason. This album serves as a symbol of the collaborative spirit, wondrously illustrating the fireworks that can happen when a leader finds the right material and the right musicians to help execute his vision.

Hermeto: Voice And Wind

The new album, out now!