Not strictly a jazz album in the strict sense, Slaves Mass has strong compositional themes among its seven tracks. The maestro Hermeto Pascoal plays everything from flutes, soprano saxophone, guitar, Fender Rhodes, acoustic piano and clavinet on this set, and enlists help from Ron Carter, Airto, Flora Purim, Raul DeSouza, David Maro and others. "Mixing Pot," is the opener and an anomaly in that it is a vanguard fusion tune where Pascoal really digs in and improvises. It also features the only appearance on this set of Alphonso Johnson on electric bass. In "Missa Dos Escravos," the title track, Pascoal's emblematic pig gives his first growls in a song dominated by Brazilian Indian references. Wonderfully and intricately composed, it centers around folk tropes. "Chorinho Para Ele" is a beautiful and modern choro with a somewhat challenging glissando bridge that really proposed new directions for the traditional genre.
"Aquela Valsa" is a beautiful six/eight theme that turns into a samba with a beautiful trombone solo by DeSouza. "Cannon" is an utterly improvisational piece that meanders and winds around Pascoal's flute solo. Atonalism dominates the piano solo in "Escuta Meu Piano," which also presents bits and pieces of different styles (like baião) and folk songs. Hot samba improvisation is found in "Geléia de Cereja," that slips and slides through a variety of schema and dynamic changes without much internal focus, but it is a compelling bit of creative anarchy nonetheless in that it displays Pascoal's full range of restless musical and textural impulses -- as well as a beautiful soprano solo. Thom Jurek/AMG
Jason Kennedy-The Ear.... October 2015
Pascoal is something of a Brazilian Zappa, a self-taught multi instrumentalist and composer who released his fist album in 1961. He gained an international audience in 1970 when he recorded with Donald Byrd and Miles Davis, among others, contributing three pieces to the latter's Live EVIL.
hI BREAKTHROUGH ALBUM Slaves Masses dates from 1977 and features highly regarded Brazilian musicians including Airto Moreira, Flora Purim, and Raul De Souza. It's an unusual fusion of Jazz, folk and experimental styles; one track features spoken word at normal and high speeds behind a rather fine flute solo, while another incorporates pig squeals (he was apparently keen on animal as well as water sounds at the time)
What pulls it back from the edge of mayhem is the avoidance of discord and the sheer intentness of the compositions. Offering high quality musicianship and some relatively easy listening with tracks like of Weather Report and other jazz rock zone.
Sound quality is about par for its age and orgins and PP has done a great job in pulling out the space and detail that makes it intelligible. JK
Recording 7/10 Music 8/10
Personnel: Drums, Airto Moreira / Flute, Hermeto Pascoal / Guitar, David Amaro / Keyboards, Hermeto Pascoal / Saxophone, Hermeto Pascoal / Trombone, Raul De Souza / Vocals, Flora Purim
Side A: 1 .Mixing Pot (Tacho) 2.Slaves Mass (Missa Dos Escravos)
3. Little Cry For Him (Chorinho Pra Ele) 4. Cannon (Dedicated to Cannonball Adderley)
Side B: 1. Just Listen (Escuta Meu Piano) 2. That Waltz (Aquela Valsa)
3.Cherry Jam (Geleia De Cereja)
Label: Warner Brothers
Cat No: PPAN BS2980
Format: 180 gram LP x 1 gatefold sleeve
Scheduled for release June 2015
Re-mastering by: Ray Staff at Air Mastering, Lyndhurst Hall, London
Produced by Airto Moreira & Flora Purim