...multilayered rhythmic complexity...
Lara Bellini 2004
Hermeto Pascoal, the Brazilian multi-instrumentalist whose contribution to jazz is beyond measure ever since the short-lived Quarteto Novo and his collaboration with Miles Davison Live Evil, surrounds himself with a stellar line-up on this long awaited reissue. With an impressive ensemble including Weather Report's Chester Thompson and Alphonso Johnson, and with long-time friends Airto Moreira and Flora Purimas producers, Hermeto opts for a collective approach.
Pascoal's flamboyance is clearly recognisable on Slaves Mass, even if in embryonic form, along with his passion for turning everyday objects into musical instruments (amazingly Moreira is credited with 'Special Effects with Live Pigs' on the title-track). His improvisational phrasing draws on the rhythmic patterns of the spoken word and sounds of nature.
One can spot many an influence. Hermeto's soprano playing recalls Wayne Shorter's (with a flair for the experimental as in Weather Report's I Sing The Body Electric). On "Cannon", (dedicated to alto saxophonist Cannonball Adderley), Hermeto's speech-likeflute is the principal voice. Flora Purim enriches the already eclectic vocal brew with her plastic, magnificent voice. Airto, on the other hand is ever-present both on vocal and percussion, enhancing the multilayered rhythmic complexity of the writing.
There are many delights here; the baroque bossa of "Little Cry For Him" offers abig grin of carnival happiness, with speedy, high-pitched keyboards and flute engaging in mad child-like runs. Pascoal's piano on "Just Listen" is a gurgling, improvisational bonanza.
And don't miss the blissful joy of the bonus track "Open Field"...