275

Marcelo Coelho: Colagens

Eric Benson By

Sign in to view read count
Marcelo Coelho: Colagens There's something unsettling about Colagens, the first album from Sao Paolo-based saxophonist Marcelo Coelho's MC4+ group. On the surface, it's a simple enough affair: a quartet with guest trombonists running through a series of original tunes that have wide-open harmonies and shifting grooves. There's only one track on the album that could be described as up-tempo, and even that is hardly a sprint from start to finish. If you merely skimmed over the record, you might have the impression of a laid-back session.



Yet far from being content to lounge, Colagens is a record of agitation. As the music begins to feel comfortable, melodic lines glance off one another, the rhythm lags then leaps, the harmony refuses to resolve itself in a typical way. Much of this restless energy sprouts from guitarist Lupa Santiago, whose playing has a diffuse texture that creates a kind of harmonic hovering. The music moves forward, but part of it hangs back for a second, content to move at its own pace.



On "Tormenta," a track that owes a debt to the Dave Holland Quintet, the sharpness of Vincent Gardner's trombone and Coelho's sax plays off of the ethereality of Santiago's guitar. For much of the tune, Gardiner and Coelho engage in a staccato spar as drummer Carlos Ezequiel taps out sparse support. If it weren't for the differences in style between Coelho and Chris Potter—Coelho's sax is warmer; Potter's more dexterous—parts of the track would sound a lot like the title track on the Dave Holland Quintet's Prime Directive (ECM, 2000). When Santiago and bassist Guto Brambilla enter, the tone of the music transforms—the lines lengthen, and even though Ezequiel continues to tap hard and fast, everything feels a little slower, less jittery.



The textural contrast between the horns and the rhythm section—especially Santiago's guitar—defines many of the pieces on Colagens. Even as Santiago plays single-note melodic lines on the weaving improvisations of the title track, his presence marks a contrast with Coelho and trombonist Paulinho Malheiros (Gardner and Malheiros share trombone duty throughout the album).



"S.U.Y.E," the most ballad-like number on the album, showcases Coelho's preference for polyrhythmic restlessness over easy swoons. During his solo, Coelho hits upon a melodic phrase that echoes Gershwin's "Embraceable You," but instead of digging in, he drops back, leaving us with only a bare-bones sketch of a lush melody.



Coelho's decision to end Colagens with a restrained duet between him and Santiago, "Madrugada," is a masterstroke. By the end of this busy album of clashes and inventions, we're ready for something quieter, and Coelho gives us a delicate dialogue that is romantic without ever dipping into sap.



Colagens is a work of creativity and vigor. At times, the openness of the harmonies, and the music's refusal to stay in one place for very long, prove frustrating—demanding serious listening before they can be appreciated. Yet a record of surprises and tremendous musicianship should be celebrated, and Colagens has plenty of both.


Track Listing: I Juca Pirama; Tormenta; Jota-Pe; S.U.Y.E.; Colagens; Sono; Paplegua; Madrugada.

Personnel: Marcelo Coelho: tenor saxophone; Vincent Gardner: trombone; Paulinho Malheiros: trombone; Lupa Santiago: guitar; Guto Brambilla: bass; Carlos Ezequiel: drums.

Title: Colagens | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: CAIS (Criacao e Administracao de Ideias Sonoras)


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Eleven Cages CD/LP/Track Review Eleven Cages
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Afro-Caribbean Mixtape CD/LP/Track Review Afro-Caribbean Mixtape
by Mark F. Turner
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Wake Up Call CD/LP/Track Review Wake Up Call
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 27, 2017
Read The Late Trane CD/LP/Track Review The Late Trane
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Developing Story CD/LP/Track Review Developing Story
by Edward Blanco
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall) CD/LP/Track Review Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall)
by Phil Barnes
Published: June 26, 2017
Read "Which Craft?" CD/LP/Track Review Which Craft?
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 28, 2016
Read "Books On Tape, Vol. 2 - Standard Edition" CD/LP/Track Review Books On Tape, Vol. 2 - Standard Edition
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 17, 2016
Read "Morphogenesis" CD/LP/Track Review Morphogenesis
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 12, 2017
Read "R Train On The D Line" CD/LP/Track Review R Train On The D Line
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 22, 2016
Read "Inspired" CD/LP/Track Review Inspired
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 4, 2016
Read "Radioactive Landscapes EP" CD/LP/Track Review Radioactive Landscapes EP
by Troy Dostert
Published: April 24, 2017

Smart Advertising!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.