Mente Clara was born in Texas out of a love for the music of Hermeto Pascoal and other Brazilian masters. "Their judiciously reverberant sound and over the top arrangements illuminate Mente Clara's carefully considered contrasts, bringing welcome vibrancy and presence to the performances." (Raul da Gama, World Music Report.) They combine soaring melody, sophisticated jazz harmony, and the danceable rhythms of Northeastern Brazil into a sound that is all their own. Straddling the line between jazz, world music, and fusion, the band has toured from coast to coast, developing a reputation for exciting live shows along the way.
Individually, members of Mente Clara have performed and recorded with artists as diverse as Quarteto Olinda, Snarky Puppy, Progger, Alejandro Escovedo, Rabecado, Pete Rodriguez, Ephraim Owens, and many more. The band first came together in mid-2012 for a session after pianist Owen Summers and bassist Daniel Durham met and decided to explore Hermeto’s music. Along with saxophonist Brian Donohoe and drummer Aaron Parks, they soon booked their first show. As the group’s sound developed, they began playing more original compositions and percussionist Bruno Vinezof and accordionist Jan Flemming joined the fray.
After a year of honing their repertoire through countless live performances, Mente Clara entered the studio and recorded their debut album, Wanderlust, which was released in May, 2014. Their second album, Forrozêra, followed in 2015 and has been praised for its “dynamic rhythmic attack.” (Dave Sumner, Bird Is The Worm)
Since forming, Mente Clara has performed on stages large and small throughout the United States, nurturing grassroots interest in their sound. Their music is best summed up by Hermeto’s credo “Tudo é som!” (“All is sound!”)
Photographer: Caio Barreira