All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

3

Joao Paulo Esteves Da Silva & Jazz Orquestra de Matosinhos: Bela Senao Sem

Chris Mosey By

Sign in to view read count
João Paulo Esteves Da Silva's compositions, while owing much to the folk and classical traditions of his native Portugal and something to Gil Evans' writing in the 1950s, on occasion display quite breathtaking originality.

If modern, post-Salazar Portugal has a musical identity it is surely contained in these wordless, questing songs emerging from Matosinhos, a city hitherto renowned artistically only as the birthplace of architect Álvaro Joaquim de Melo Siza Vieira and poet Florbela Espanca.

Bela Senão Sem translates as "Otherwise Without Beauty," a Zen-like title which aptly encapsulates the austere grace of Da Silva's work. This album features seven of his pieces plus his arrangement of a traditional Sephardic song "Moché Salyó De Misraim," a reference to the Inquisition's expulsion of Jews from the Iberian peninsula in the 15th century.

They are interpreted by the Jazz Orchestra of Matosinhos in which Da Silva plays piano and, on occasion, that most unfortunate of instruments, the piano accordion.

Apart from a few dated "free" jazz passages, there's much to listen to here. He wrote the opener, "Certeza" some 20 years ago. It means "Certitude." He says: "I'm not sure why I chose that title. It just sounded right at the time."

Da Silva starts off playing solo. Then in comes the orchestra, playing soaring, sweeping layers of sound. A solo saxophone brings the song to a conclusion, evoking the splashing of waves on one of Matosinhos's wide, sandy beaches after a summer storm.

"Fado Chao" is based on a repeated bass line set against light-as-air stabs by the brass. Fado here refers to the general melancholic mood of the piece, not the Portuguese musical form.

The title track is more complex, its mood shifting, though generally melodic and uplifting. José Luis Rego plays lilting saxophone.

Da Silva's piano plays a central though never over-bearing role on the other numbers. "A Candeia (The Lamp)" and "Pode Ser Uma Serra (It Can Be A Mountain)" are perhaps the most interesting of these, the latter starting life in the foothills as a folksy figure before its evolving into something more complex and interesting at higher altitudes.

All but those deeply into dissonance and atonality should be wary of the closer, "Tristo," on which Da Silva parades his avant garde credentials. The title is a deliberate mis-spelling of triste, meaning sad. This is very apt. The song's inclusion is just that; it detracts from an otherwise fulfilling musical experience.

Title: Bela Senão Sem | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Tone of a Pitch Music

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Brightbird

Brightbird

Arjuna Music
2017

buy
Bela Senão Sem

Bela Senão Sem

Tone of a Pitch Music
2013

buy
Bela Senao Sem

Bela Senao Sem

Tone of a Pitch Music
2013

buy
So Soft Yet

So Soft Yet

Clean Feed Records
2011

buy
Scape Grace

Scape Grace

Clean Feed Records
2009

buy
White Works

White Works

Universal Music Portugal
2009

buy

Related Articles

Read Oscar Peterson Plays CD/LP/Track Review
Oscar Peterson Plays
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 23, 2018
Read State Of The Baritone Volume 2 CD/LP/Track Review
State Of The Baritone Volume 2
by Mark Corroto
Published: April 23, 2018
Read Listening To Pictures (Pentimento Volume one) CD/LP/Track Review
Listening To Pictures (Pentimento Volume one)
by Chris May
Published: April 23, 2018
Read Friends & Family CD/LP/Track Review
Friends & Family
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 23, 2018
Read Northern Migrations CD/LP/Track Review
Northern Migrations
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 22, 2018
Read Egregore CD/LP/Track Review
Egregore
by John Eyles
Published: April 22, 2018
Read "So Cute, So Bad" CD/LP/Track Review So Cute, So Bad
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: July 5, 2017
Read "Little Steps" CD/LP/Track Review Little Steps
by Troy Dostert
Published: May 20, 2017
Read "A Pouting Grimace" CD/LP/Track Review A Pouting Grimace
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 15, 2017
Read "Silent Voices" CD/LP/Track Review Silent Voices
by Nicholas F. Mondello
Published: August 4, 2017
Read "What Time Is It?" CD/LP/Track Review What Time Is It?
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 6, 2017
Read "The Decca Singles 1935-1946" CD/LP/Track Review The Decca Singles 1935-1946
by Patrick Burnette
Published: March 4, 2018