Sara Serpa: Mobile (2012)

By Published: | 3,830 views
How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Sara Serpa: Mobile
Portuguese singer Sara Serpa is what is produced when the talents of Gretchen Parlato
Gretchen Parlato
Gretchen Parlato

vocalist
, Simin Tander
Simin Tander
Simin Tander

vocalist
and Tierney Sutton
Tierney Sutton
Tierney Sutton
b.1963
vocalist
coalesce. Her voice is light and elastic, sporting a fierce intellect. Couple this with a vision/sense of humor of a Nicholas Urie
Nicholas Urie
Nicholas Urie
b.1985
composer/conductor
and the result is a radioactive type of 21st Century Beat Poetry. Like Urie and his lyric book sources Excerpts From An Online Dating Service (Red Piano, 2009)—with text from the same—and My Garden (Red Piano, 2011), drawn from the poetry of Charles Bukowski, Serpa mines literature ancient (Herodotus' fifth century Histories on "Gold Digging Ants") and new (Ryszard Kapuściński's "The Shadow Of The Sun," on "Traveling with Kapuściński").

Serpa's use of the texts is sparse and serves as a jumping-off point for the composer/singer to indulge vocal/musical flights of fancy inspired by the verse. This creative freedom allows guitarist Andre Matos
Andre Matos
Andre Matos

guitar
and pianist Kris Davis
Kris Davis
Kris Davis

piano
the same structured/free reign. Rounding out the band are the two crack timekeepers, bassist Ben Street
Ben Street
Ben Street

bass
and drummer Ted Poor
Ted Poor
Ted Poor

drums
, who also contribute as soloists on the edge, when not providing a solid rhythmic foundation to Serpa's musically transformed thoughts.

Serpa structures her compositions freely but precisely around the texts and their hidden meanings. "Pilgrimage to Armanath," based on V.S. Naipaul's "An Area of Darkness," builds on an inner motif, layered with voice, acoustic guitar and Fender Rhodes. Evolving from wispy to dense, Serpa navigates her composition to a quiet close, the only one that makes sense. On "Ahab's Lament" based on Melville's whale book, is, in contrast, solidly structured over geometric lines and undulating waves of sound. Serpa has quite the bag of tricks, she does.

This music, for the better part, is dark and brooding, both vocally and instrumentally. This is no mean criticism; Serpa is serious about her composition and it shows. She walks that fine line between the over-composed and unruly freedom (like politics, where the two movements meet in the back of a circular spectrum. Serpa is searching, and her search continues to provide compelling and provocative music.

Track Listing: Sequoia Gigantis; Ulysses Costume; Pilgrimage to Armanath; Ahab's lament; If; Tarveling With Kapuszinsky; Sem Razao; gold Digging Ants; Corto; City of Light, City of Darkness.

Personnel: Sara Serpa: vocals; Andre Matos: electric and acoustic guitars (3, 6, 9); Kris Davis: piano, Fender Rhodes (3, 5, 6, 9); Ben Street: bass; Ted Poor: drums.

Record Label: Inner Circle Music

Style: Modern Jazz


comments powered by Disqus
Sponsor: Summit Records | BUY NOW

Enter it twice.
To the weekly jazz events calendar

Enter the numbers in the graphic
Enter the code in this picture

Log in

One moment, you will be redirected shortly.

or search site with Google