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

Hermeto: Voice And Wind

The new album, out now!