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Hermeto Pascoal - Slaves Mass CD (album) cover

SLAVES MASS

Hermeto Pascoal

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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Matthew T
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Released in 1976 and produced by Flora Purim who also provides vocals on 2 compositions and Airto Moreira ( Drums on all except Melting Pot ( Tacho) as well as doing the live pigs for Slaves Mass) Sounds strange but not as you would think for the use of the sounds of nature are a component in Hermeto Pascoals compositions and every one was composed by him on this Jazz masterpiece . Avante Garde at times but not in an extreme manner and with the use of his own native Brazilian music in the structures makes this one quite different and enjoyable fusion album.

Hermeto plays Acoustic Piano,Fender Rhodes,Recorder,Clavinet,Soprano Sax,Flutes and Acoustic Guitar. Multi instumentalist and good at them all. Ron Carter provides bass on all except Melting Pot and as mentioned above Flora Purim and Airto Moreira do their parts as well with Raul De Souza (Trombone) and David Amaro on Guitars of any variety.Track one, Melting Pot does not have Ron or Airto but they are replaced with Alphonso Johnson and Chester Thompson.

Mixing Pot is a fairly rapid composition and is driven along with a Fender Rhodes current. Hermeto lets go with the Flute for a solo but what is different as with most of the tracks is the use of voices which could be described as Scat but with Brazilian influence and really does give the album such variation and a wonderful atmosphere. Now for Slaves Mass, track two with the the pigs and to be honest if I did not mention them you would not realise what they are. The track is beautiful and begins with an accoustic guitar introduction and interspersed you will hear them. Voices again are used and the track begins what is like an ascent with the guitar riding the tune and then another change and simply wonderful use of the human voice. Track 4, Cannon is dedicated to Cannonball Adderley and Flute and Voices are major components and this is one of the most interesting Jazz compositions you could wish to hear. All up there are seven tracks on the original album and with the cd that I have there are three Bonus tracks. Track eight is one and Open Field with a sound just like it is titled and with a Brazilian rythmn and it just rolls along.with Hermeto's voice singing scat right through out,soprano sax,trombone,guitars and of course Airto Moreira's fantastic drumming from this album. There is not a poor track on this album.

If you like your Jazz original and different you would be hard pressed to go past this wonderful and distinct album. Masterpiece you betcha and one that has its own notch in Jazz.

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Send comments to Matthew T (BETA) | Report this review (#291051)
Posted Monday, July 19, 2010 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This is multi-instrumentalist Hermeto Pascoal's third studio album released in 1977. He's from Brazil and to say he's very talented would be an understatement. The Brazilian husband and wife team of Flora Purim (vocals) and Airto Moreira (drums) are here and might be known to some for being on RETURN TO FOREVER's debut. Airto would play with Miles Davis and many others. For me the shock was seeing that the legendary Ron Carter is playing bass here making this a formidable rhythm section on all but the opening track. Who's playing bass and drums on the other track ? It's the opening song by the way. None other then Chester Thompson on drums and Alphonso Johnson on bass. What ?! Johnson was in WEATHER REPORT and played with Cobham, McLaughlin and many more. And we all know Chester. The music is for sure Jazz / Fusion but the Avant vibe is quite strong.

"Mixing Pot" is led by a beat early as the keyboards join in. It kicks in before 1 1/2 minutes with flute, guitar and bass. It's jazzy after 2 1/2 minutes with percussion and electric piano joining in. The horns are crazy late. "Slaves Mass" opens with gentle guitar then we can hear pig noises (haha). Percussion and bass join in then the tempo picks up with vocals. Solemn stuff. It turns experimental before 3 1/2 minutes. So much going on including laughter. "Little Cry For Him" is uptempo with piano, drums and bass leading. This is upbeat and reminds me of Zappa. "Cannon (Dedictaed To Cannonball Adderley)" opens with melancholic flute as these chipmunk-like spoken words can be heard pretty much throughout. Weird but funny especially when you consider this is supposed to be a dedication (haha). There are mumbled words too.

"Just Listen" is piano only throughout but man this is impressive especially after 2 minutes when he becomes a little insane. Check it out 5 1/2 minutes in. Fast paced is the word. Vocals and expressions arrive before 6 minutes along with yelling etc. "That Waltz" is jazzy with horns, bass and drums. The tempo picks up a minute in and we get vocal sounds after 2 minutes. "Cherry Jam" opens with electric piano, atmosphere and more. Dissonant horns join in. Horns, bass and drums start to lead in a relaxed manner. It picks up before 2 1/2 minutes and the electric piano replaces the horn. The horn is back. Distorted keys along with bass lead 4 1/2 minutes in. Horn replaces the keys. The electric piano is back 7 1/2 minutes in. The horn is intense almost Elton Dean-like around 9 minutes to the end.

That was different ! Just a really interesting album with top notch players. Highly recommended.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#812931)
Posted Friday, August 31, 2012 | Review Permalink
2 stars This is 25% wonderful and 75% terrible album by an extremely talented and distinctive musician "Who Couldn't Care Less About What People Might Think".

There is no denying Pai Hermeto enjoyed - at least on Slaves Mass - rather exhaustive freedom of artistic expression. I hope he got an ocean of joy out of playing and recording the album; I certainly didn't from listening to much of it.

The album begins with a succulent, florid and delightfully long fusion track Mixing Pot. Just brilliant.

But then the charm slips away and some unbridled weirdness ensues in track #2. I had to endure disturbing and unnecessarily lengthy pig sounds, and some human moaning against the backdrop of a rather less-than-graceful general cacophony. This 4-minute track seems to drags on for 10-15 minutes, and not in a good sense (time dilation?).

Track #3, despite its shortness (2 minutes and a bit) provides a much-needed respite after the shock, induced by the #2. A very good, elegant, thoroughly enjoyable piece.

Track #4 is supposed to have something to do with with the excellent late Mr. Adderley; but it's just a collection of unpleasant and disjointed sounds, lingering for 5 minutes (which, likewise the track #2, feel like half an hour).

Flip the LP and you will be welcomed to the Side 2 by a lengthy piece of sonic abuse, titled Just Listen. For the first 2 minutes it's actually OK, being an eccentric piano solo .. nothing wrong with that. You'd hope, though, the pianist would get enough of himself, and the track would eventually blossom into some grandiose ELP-like piece of pompous prog, but this one just won't. Pai Hermeto keeps on punching, whacking, shoving and slapping the piano keys for another endless 5 minutes, taking short breaks once in a while (to air a false hope that the nuisance over, I suppose?). At one point the "music" begins to sound like a dozen over-caffeinated woodpeckers relentlessly poking the keyboard with the determination of a maniac and the speed of machine gun.

The remainder of the album is also a mixture of a couple of very good moment, diluted in about 1:4 ratio by complete nonsense.

With all due respect to the previous reviewers, it's two stars only and an automatic "no-buy" flag on the rest of senhor Pascoal discography (unless I bump into him in the $1 bin at our flea market).

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Send comments to Argonaught (BETA) | Report this review (#945012)
Posted Tuesday, April 16, 2013 | Review Permalink

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