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  • Writer's pictureLucas Lima

Clash of Titans: the day Hermeto Pascoal boxed with Miles Davis

Updated: Apr 11

Music masters met in New York and joined forces in original compositions

Hermeto Pascoal em foto de Gabriel Quintão
Hermeto Pascoal in photo of Gabriel Quintão

The 70s. A graceful era, given the immense (and qualitative) cultural production of the time. Frightening, given the many global political and social upheavals, especially in Latin America. It was amidst this whirlwind of events that Hermeto Pascoal, alongside the Quarteto Novo group, traveled to New York, seeking new directions (or as they say today, an international career).

Already in the land of Uncle Sam, only the percussionist Airto Moreira spoke English. And it was he who introduced Miles Davis to Hermeto Pascoal. The famous trumpeter would make a special guest appearance at Airto's show.

"I was waiting to enter the venue when a man appeared behind me and tapped me on the shoulder, saying something I didn't understand... I thought he was hitting on me and got rid of him as best I could. Until, finally, I was able to enter and saw Airto on stage talking to him. So I asked: 'Hey Airto, who's that guy?'. He looked at me as if I were an extraterrestrial: 'It's Miles Davis!'", Hermeto told El País.

After the show, Miles invited Hermeto to visit his home. There, they talked about what they liked most: music. And they became so close that Miles, who had a boxing ring in his house, invited Hermeto to a match. And why not?

The Brazilian put on boxing gloves and, at the first opportunity, landed a cross on the American musician's face.

"Miles really knew how to box, had teachers who would come see him once a week, took it very seriously. And then he says to me: 'if you dare, fight with me'. I thought, 'Is our friendship already so strong that we're going to box?' But anyway, I accepted the invitation, took off my clothes, put on the gloves, and stepped into the ring with him."

The connection between the two didn't end there. In June 1970, Davis and Pascoal recorded the songs "Igrejinha," translated to "Little Church," "Selim," and "Nem Um Talvez." All of them appeared on the album "Live-Evil," released in 1971.

This is just one of many stories of a true heritage of Brazilian music.

On WePlay, the first platform for streaming Brazilian concert shows, you can watch the audiovisual "Hermeto de Corpo e Alma."

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