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Album Review

João Paulo Esteves da Silva / Mário Franco / Samuel Rohrer: Brightbird


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João Paulo Esteves da Silva / Mário Franco / Samuel Rohrer: Brightbird
There is music that gradually unfolds, music that lingers in stasis, music with sparse tonal movement, and, sometimes, music that simply happens, like the symphonies of sound in nature. This trio's music is quite close to this last mode. Just a few tones open up a broad living-space and let sound happen and get enriched by an inner (im)pulse. These three musicians seem to have a firm common understanding of the emanating forces of sound as well as its suggestive potentials. They apparently share an awake, intuitive alertness, are able to wait and feel the right moment for the next tonal gesture(s). A certain lightness and the emergence of magical moments or a beguiling melodic lead go hand in hand here, as in the pieces "Bird," "Uncertain Steps" and the finishing chorale of "So much water, so much green." The definite highlight is the piece aptly entitled "There were shadows." The three musicians, pianist João Paulo Esteves da Silva, bassist Mário Franco and drummer Samuel Rohrer open up and enliven a rich sonic space in an extraordinary, unforced way.

Recorded in the renowned La Buissonne Studio in the south of France, Bright Bird offers 13 pieces released on Arjunamusic from Berlin (available as high resolution download too). Arjunamusic is an independent platform organized by Swiss drummer Samuel Rohrer uniting esthetics of acoustic and electronic sounds. Brightbird is one of the purely acoustic undertakings. Besides the mentioned pieces it goes from the flowing "The Fire Place" to the celebrating and subcutaneous rocking "Sun," to the sparse but nonetheless conjuring "Trusting Heart/Cosmos." "Renewal" is a wonderfully understated piece full of rich overtones. It slowly unfolds from a very simple motif. "Winter" with its repeated quick runes evokes a certain serenity (with far Schubertian echoes).

"Bird" is all lightness and sophisticated shifting. "Noontide" has a fascinating bass plus cymbal figure at its center and "Walking" contains some abstracted bebop. Even more fascinating is "Uncertain Steps" with its fugue like conclusion and kind of inverted Monk-esque beginning. "Oldness" partly with prepared piano is both strong and fragile. "Waves" is a great game with tension between the regular and irregular (with remote echoes of Debussy's "La Mer"). Brightbird has its very own aesthetics beyond minimalism, ambient and ECM modes—a remarkable, unparalleled extension and distinguished refinement of the classical piano trio form(at) by three renowned musicians deserving wider recognition and uptake.

Track Listing

The Fireplace; Sun; Trusting Heart/Cosmos; Renewal; Winter; Bird; Noontide; Waking; Uncertain Steps; Oldness; There Were Shadows; Waves; So Much Water So Much Green.


Joao Paulo Esteves da Silva: piano; Mário Franco: double bass; Samuel Rohrer: drums.

Album information

Title: Brightbird | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Arjuna Music

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