Many things inspired Portuguese guitarist Nuno Costa making this, his third album: the Bible, Matthew 20:16, "So the last will be first, and the first will be last"; the life of a wasp; his pet dog, Mr Kido; and last but by no means leasthis newly-born daughter Leonor. His songs start well, struggle to find meaningful direction and thenvery often tend simply to peter out. Hey, but that's jazz... isn't it?
The session kicks off with "Hum...?" This, says Costa, was the last piece he wrote for the album... "and so it made perfect sense to be the one chosen for the opening track." Eh? Oscar Graca follows the ethereal electric guitar intro with some sensitive piano.
In the ensemble passages throughout the disk, Costa's band produces music sometimes reminiscent of those classic experiments in collective improvisation by Ornette Coleman
back in the late 1950s, though most of it was written. Costa no doubt analysed Coleman's music during his studies at Berklee.
The first of three songs about wasps, "Voando Sobre Um Ninho De Vespas
, One Flew Over The Wasp's Nest," is one of the more interesting items. It's up-tempo and features a deliberately disjointed guitar solo from the leader and exploratory piano by Graca. Then comes a dialogue between guitar and bass. So far, so good but, after a trumpet solo by Joao Moreira, it all just fizzles out.
Moreira introduces Costa's tribute to "Sr Puto
, Mr Kido," followed by Graca. It's a mournful ditty, punctuated by nice, soaring guitar licks from the leader, perhaps remembering playing with his pet as a child. There are some interesting ensemble passages before a very abrupt ending.
Costa introduces the second wasp song, "A Vespa Contra- Ataca
, The Wasp Strikes Back," on acoustic guitar, assembling a beautiful collection of chords, before the mood changes as the wasp played by Joao Moreiraattacks then withdraws to lick its wounds (assuming wasps can do such a thing).
Moreira's trumpet leads the way into "Desepero Do Embalo
, A Lullaby In Despair," the song for daughter Leonor. It's almost a dirge but with some attractive, almost folksy electric guitar by Costa.
"Vespa: O Ataque Final
, Wasp: The Final Attack" lacks the sting implicit in its title but features some excellent meditative piano from Graca. Joao Moreira again plays the title role.
The album is well produced and features fine retro art work on cover and sleeve.
Hum...?; Voando Sobre Um Ninho De Vespas (One Flew Over The Wasp’s Nest); Sr. Puto (Mr Kido); A Vespa Contra – Ataca (Intro); A Vespa Contra – Ataca (The Wasp Strikes Back); Desespero Do Embalo (A Lullaby In Despair); Vespa: O Ataque Final (Wasp: The Final Attack).
Nuno Costa: guitar; João Moeira: trumpet; João Guimarães: alto saxophone; Óscar M Graça: piano; Bernardo Moreira: double bass; Andre Sousa Machado: drums