At the juncture of free jazz and free improv sits the eponymous debut of Casa Futuro. In a truly co-operative trio, saxophonist Pedro Sousa joins forces with bassist Johan Berthling and drummer Gabriel Ferrandini. Portuguese improvisers Sousa and Ferrandini last combined with Sonic Youth frontman Thurston Moore on Live At ZDB (Shhpuma, 2014), while Berthling keeps similarly heavy company, as part of fellow Swede Mats Gustafsson's Fire Trio and the Scandinavian band Angles. Over three slow burning tracks they bring fierce a concentration on the pace, texture and overall shape of long form improvisation. Attentive listening leads to well judged variations in dynamics from near silence broken only by indeterminate sounds (at 11.00 in "Durability") to wailing tumult (by the end of "Utility").
At times Sousa recalls a slowed down Evan Parker, as he subjects almost every pitch to some sort of distortion whether overblowing, false fingering or multiphonics. He also exploits the emotional charge generated by the connection to the human voice by growling through his horn like Joe McPhee. On baritone saxophone he evokes Gustafsson in some of the Tarfala Trio's more meditative moments. Heady comparisons. Berthling is similarly at the top of his game, adept both with bow and pizzicato, whether providing propulsion or color. Ferrandini demonstrates once again what followers of the RED Trio and Rodrigo Amado's Motion Trio already know, that he is among the most talented of the younger European drummers. His lines provide a sonically arresting exploration of timbre and pulse.
Remarkably for what was a first time meeting, they are not afraid to let abstract passages hang, ramping up the tension. They maintain flow, and transition naturally between instrumental combinations and resultant moods. Unaccompanied interludes seem incidental rather than the main event, although Berthling's authoritative arco outing in "Utility" proves the exception. In some ways they represent the antithesis of the power trio but remain all the more compelling for their focused restraint. On "Beauty" a keening lyricism evaporates into hushed tones and subdued cymbal shimmer in a purposeful restatement of a credo for which appreciation deepens at every repeated pass.
Durability; Utility; Beauty.
Pedro Sousa: tenor and baritone saxophones; Johan Berthling: double bass; Gabriel Ferrandini: drums.
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