Thursday, March 8, 2012

Airto with the Salute to Toots

This Saturday's show at the Herbst, a Salute to Toots Thielemans, will be amazing in several ways.  For one thing, it will be the first time for many of us to hear Gregoire Maret, the 36-year-old jazz harmonica player who is subbing for Toots and by all accounts is the heir apparent on that instrument.  Not to mention pianist Kenny Werner, a beautiful melodic genius, and guitarist Oscar Castro-Neves, one of the true icons of bossa nova.

But for some, the most thrilling and revelatory member of this huge quartet is
Airto Moreira.  Airto is a bona fide giant, known primarily as a Brazilian percussionist, but who also made a powerful mark as a traditional "trap set" drummer in the early '70s.  He entered the jazz scene at the confluence of incredibly historic recordings including Bitches Brew (Miles Davis), Return to Forever (Chick Corea) and Weather Report (Wayne Shorter & Joe Zawinul).  Airto has played with many of the greatest names in jazz, like John McLauglin, Keith Jarrett,  Jack DeJohnette, Dave Holland, Herbie Hancock, Al Di Meola, George Duke, Joe Farrell and others.  As a leader, Airto has dozens of albums to his credit, including titles such as Free and Fingers, released on the legendary CTI label.  Often as co-leader with his wife, Brazilian vocalist Flora Purim, Airto has performed around the world for over 40 years.

There are still tickets available for this mind-boggling event.  Do not miss!

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