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Jovino Santos Neto Trio: Tiny Desk Concert

Something happens for me when I hear jazz mixing it up with Brazilian rhythms. In the right hands it falls into the realm of magic.

Pianist, multi-instrumentalist and composer Jovino Santos Neto certainly cast a spell over those who gathered for this joyful turn behind the Tiny Desk.

His trio rushed right out of the gate with the samba-influenced "Pantopé" that introduces the concept of the trio: seamless interaction between the musicians that make the band sound like one big, melodic rhythm machine.

"Sempre Sim" starts with percussionist Jeff Busch riffing on the traditional percussion instrument called berimbau, its ethereal sound creating the perfect intro to the dreamy melody and solo from Santos Neto on piano, while bassist Tim Carey echoes the double beat on the bass drum that drives Brazilian music.

Santos Neto says Erêrepresents the spirits of children in the Brazilian Umbanda tradition, which makes "festa de Erê" an appropriate title for the intensely whimsical tune that weaves in and out of the different traditional rhythms performed by all three musicians.

Jovino Santos Neto played for many years with Hermeto Pascoal, widely considered to be Brazil's greatest living musician. Pascoal can play practically anything he lays his hands on and some of that must have rubbed off on Jovino Santos Neto. You can see it when he picks up his flute mid song, then eventually plays both piano and flute at the same time.

Like the sometimes frenetic engery of the music they play, Jovino Santos Neto and his trio are perfect examples of musicians who have so much music coming from within, sometimes one instrument is just not enough.


  • "Pontapé"
  • "Sempre Sim"
  • "Festa de Erê"

    Jovino Santos Neto: piano, flute, melodica; Tim Carey: bass; Jeff Busch: drums, percussion


    Producers: Felix Contreras, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineers: Josh Rogosin, James Willetts; Videographers: Morgan Noelle Smith, Maia Stern, Jeremiah Rhodes; Associate Producer: Bobby Carter; Executive Producer: Lauren Onkey; Senior VP, Programming: Anya Grundmann; Photo: Shuran Huang/NPR

    Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit

    Felix Contreras is co-creator and host of Alt.Latino, NPR's pioneering radio show and podcast celebrating Latin music and culture since 2010.
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