Itibere Orquestra Familia is a 29-piece Brazilian group founded and led by bassist and composer Itiberê Zwarg -- the longest-serving member of Hermeto Pascoal's groundbreaking ensemble Su Grupo.
Their groove-laden sound is dubbed, like Pascoal's own art, "universal music," that weds jazz fusion, funk, Brazilian polyharmonic, polyrhythmic folk sounds, and the angular, progressive rock sophistication of Frank Zappa. Different from a traditional orchestra, the group doesn't use scores, they make sound in real time guided by Zwarg -- the music is charted on paper to serve as a record.
They released three albums and performed across Brazil between 2001 and 2011 when they became the Itiberê Zwarg & Group. Their 2001 debut Pedra Do Espia is widely regarded as a classic.
Zwarg not only plays bass with Pascoal (and has since 1977) but he has also been his arranger since 1992. In 1999 he assembled a large youth workshop orchestra that evolved into the original Itibere Orquestra Familia, to play his music in general and follow the principles of "universal music" in particular. In 2001 they cut their debut album, Pedra Do Espia, during three months in Rio de Janeiro; it was titled for the beachside viewing point (that literally translates as "Spy's Rock") where Zwarg would sit as a child, daydreaming as he gazed out over the Brazilian coastline. While the album didn't set any sales records upon release, it was highly regarded among musicians who ceaselessly passed it around, and the set eventually made its way to radio. Itibere Orquestra Familia toured as often as Zwarg was free from his other professional duties. In 2005, they self-released the double offering Calendário Do Som, which was sold mainly at gigs and on the internet. Their final offering, Contrastes, was issued by Saladesom Records. Neither of the latter two albums garnered the near-mythical reputation that Pedra Do Espia did. In late 2018, Great Britain's Far Out Recordings remastered and reissued the album across the globe. ~ Thom Jurek, Rovi