Quite often, when hearing compositions by pianist Bernardo Sassetti, it's easy to mistake him for an American. His folksy charm has that Aaron Copland-meets-Bill Frisell
kind of Americana. But no, this huge talent is Portugal's own son.
He is back again in a trio setting with bassist Carlos Barretto
and drummer Alexandre Frazão. The three recorded Sassetti's critically acclaimed Nocturno
(Clean Feed, 2001) and Ascent
(Clean Feed, 2005). But Sassetti can also be heard in accordionist Wil Holshouser's Palace Ghosts and Drunken Hymns
(Clean Feed, 2010).
Maybe the Americana sound comes from Sassetti's film work. A prolific film score producer, he includes music here from two films and a theater production.
With great interest in delicacy, and a passion for minimalism, the trio avoids grand gestures , playing with litotes and swinging by exaggerating the non-swinging aspects of each tune. Perhaps that is the pure authenticity of this trio's expression.
Due to the inclusion of pieces from film and theater, changes in atmosphere shift the varying concepts. The trio plays with spinning a radio dial on several tracks, improvising off the airways a blues on "MW 108.7 Revival" and a sampled auction on the "Motion II" suite. There is a visual component to Sassetti's music that makes for an enlightened listening experience.
Personnel: Bernardo Sassetti: piano; Carlos Barretto: bass; Alexandre Frazão: drums