Biography All Music Guide
All Music Guide:
The barriers between classical music, jazz, and indigenous Brazilian music have been obscured through the playing of Rio de Janeiro-born and Seattle-based pianist, keyboardist, and flutist Jovino Santos Neto. A member of Hermeto Pascoal's band from 1977 to 1992, Neto continued to expand on his world music-influenced vocabulary. He built on his knowledge of Brazilian music during stints with Sergio Mendes in 1992 and Airto Moreira and Flora Purim's group, Fourth World, from 1993 until 1997. He also worked with such artists as Mike Marshall, Jill Russell, and the Jesse Stern Group, and recorded several albums with Gary Stroutsos, including the Native American-influenced People of the Willows. In 1994, he toured Europe with Swiss cellist David Pezzoti. Neto's 1997 debut solo album, Caboclo, featuring the accompaniment of his quartet members bassist Chuck Deardorf, saxophonist Hans Teuber, and drummer Mark Ivester (and guest percussionist Moreira), was followed by Ao Vivo em Olympia in 2000.
"I believe in the power of music and in its role as a tool for transformation," Neto said during a late-'90s interview. "With every note I write or play I imagine how that note will touch someone somewhere and that energy will go around the world and return to me as an inspiration to play even more. I see myself as a link in a chain that started a long time ago, and it is my mission as a musician to keep that chain growing and evolving forever."
Studying classical piano from the age of 12, Neto moved to Beatles and Rolling Stones-influenced pop by his 15th birthday. While exposure to bands such as Yes and Emerson, Lake & Palmer was reflected in the increased complexity of his music, he began to focus on jazz while studying biology at McGill University in Montreal. Invited to tour Brazil with Pascoal in 1977, Neto remained an important part of the Brazilian multi-instrumentalist's band for 15 years, co-producing six albums, including Festa dos Deuses, which received a Sharp Prize as Best Instrumental Album in 1992, and scoring hundreds of Pascoal's compositions. Relocating to the United States in 1993 after performing on Sergio Mendes' Grammy award-winning world music album, Brasileiro, Neto studied at the Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle. He continues to teach classes at the school in piano, composition, and jazz ensemble.
Neto remains involved with a diverse range of projects as well. In 2000, he wrote "Os Vagalumes" for the chamber music group Musicians Accord, released albums with vocalist Joyce Yarrow and violinist Richard Boukas, and produced and played keyboards on Jill Russell's album Check the Beans. In addition to conducting the Shorecrest Symphony Orchestra, he has composed MIDI music for numerous multimedia projects.