The Mayan 6-8-2023 Words by Gabi Lima. Photos by Stevo Rood

This Thursday, June 8, a packed Mayan in downtown Los Angeles euphorically welcomed Hermeto Pascoal and his group, consisting of Itiberê Zwarg on bass and his son Ajurinã Zwarg on drums, André Marques on piano, Jota P on sax and flute, and Hermeto’s own son Fábio Pascoal at the percussion station, which in true Hermeto fashion, included a variety of traditional Brazilian percussive instruments as well as not so conventional objects, such as a rubber pig.

To the crowd’s delight, the band performed an energetic and impecable mix of Brazilian rhythms such as baião, forró, maracatu, chorinho and frevo, spicing up Hermeto’s musical melting pot with jazz variations. Although his faithful metal tea kettle sat next to him, Hermeto, who is known for turning anything into a musical instrument, including his beard, stuck to playing a Yamaha DX7, which he plays like no other, and engaged the audience in a cheerful call and response to his scat singing. While he often took breaks to sit down during the show, he energetically ran across the stage waving his hat and sat down at the piano to perform a solo. The Brazilian ’sound wizard’ (nicknamed ‘Bruxo’ in Portuguese) is now 86 years old, and the audience at the Mayan enthusiastically showed their appreciation for his music, chanting ‘mais um! mais um! mais um’ at the end – the Brazilian way of asking for ‘one more song’.

Check out the full gallery of photos of this night by A Rood Photography here.

The show was the last of Hermeto’s 2023 US tour, which included 6 other US cities and was preceded by a ceremony at the prestigious Juiliard School on May 19, where Hermeto was awarded a Honorary Doctorate Degree for his extensive musical knowledge and genre-defying contributions, including his own notation method. Hermeto’s music is studied at music schools all across the world. 

Last night, at the Mayan, the sound wizard did not speak a word of English, and he didn’t need to – he and his group spoke to us through his music, which is universal.

Keep up with the work of Hermeto Pascoal:




His upcoming tour dates are all in Europe with shows in France, Slovakia, the Netherlands and Ireland.

Check here for tour dates.

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