133

Susana Santos Silva Quintet: Devil's Dress

Chris Mosey By

Sign in to view read count
Matosinhos, a northern suburb of Oporto, Portugal, is renowned for its high quality fish and seafood—and, increasingly nowadays, its jazz. It is home to the 20-piece Orquestra Jazz de Matosinhos, best known internationally for its collaborations with veteran US saxophonist Lee Konitz and, most recently, with guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel on Our Secret World (Wommusic, 2010)..

Now five young members of the band, under the leadership of trumpeter Susana Santos Silva, have come together to produce what they claim to be "a music without boundaries and preconceived ideas." They talk bravely of "new challenges and artistic conceptions" but jettison old staples such as melody and swing. The end result is self-conscious experimentation that ultimately doesn't make a great deal of sense.

The tone is set by the opening number, Silva's "Go," on which bassist Demian Cabaud leads the way into a discordant ensemble reminiscent of Gil Evans, post-Miles Davis. The leader interacts well with tenor saxophonist Zé Pedro Coelho for awhile, and competent solos from Coelho, Silva and Cabaud follow, but the song never really goes anywhere and neither does it arrive at a very convincing conclusion.

Only on the closing tune, "Anjo Da Guarda" are there hints—but only hints, unfortunately—of what might have been, had the bid to storm the heights of postmodernism been abandoned in favor of a thoughtful examination of the group's roots and an attempt made to infuse its jazz with that specifically Portuguese feeling of saudade, the atmosphere of melancholy and loss pervading the country's traditional folk music, fado.

The rock-influenced title track opens promisingly, comes close to swinging, but rapidly degenerates into discord, underpinned by heavy, menacing guitar from André Fernandes. There follows some low-key spacy squawking, before Silva manages to inject some melody but then the song just peters out. "Warmth" is one of the better numbers, starting in chaos and, while never really resolving into anything very coherent, there are high points that feature Silva's lyrical playing, backed by good, subdued guitar work and an interesting ending. Bassist Demian Cabaud's "En Febrero" is mournful with flashes of guitar brilliance, while "Wishful Thoughts" has some interesting twists and turns, along with echoes of John Coltrane's "Giant Steps."

These are young, talented musicians. It's a shame they have been unable, with this album, to put that talent to a more sensibly structured and better -ocused use. But, hopefully, there will be plenty of future opportunities to refine and develop their art.

Track Listing: Go; Devil's Dress; Warmth; En Febrero; Wishful Thoughts; Tomboy; Claudia; Anjo Da Guarda.

Personnel: Susana Santos Silva: trumpet, flugelhorn; Ze Pedro Coelho: tenor saxophone; Andre Fernandes: guitar; Demian Cabaud: bass; Marcos Cavaleiro: drums.

Title: Devil's Dress | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Tone of a Pitch Music


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Whispers on the Wind CD/LP/Track Review Whispers on the Wind
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 23, 2017
Read Shropshire Lads: Songs to the Poems of AE Housman CD/LP/Track Review Shropshire Lads: Songs to the Poems of AE Housman
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 23, 2017
Read Heptagon CD/LP/Track Review Heptagon
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 23, 2017
Read ON Tour CD/LP/Track Review ON Tour
by John Kelman
Published: October 22, 2017
Read On a Distant Shore CD/LP/Track Review On a Distant Shore
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets CD/LP/Track Review Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read "Earthshine" CD/LP/Track Review Earthshine
by Troy Dostert
Published: September 28, 2017
Read "Songs Of Bacharach And Manzanero" CD/LP/Track Review Songs Of Bacharach And Manzanero
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 12, 2016
Read "Think Ahead" CD/LP/Track Review Think Ahead
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: July 8, 2017
Read "Sedimental You" CD/LP/Track Review Sedimental You
by John Sharpe
Published: March 30, 2017
Read "An Eye on the Future" CD/LP/Track Review An Eye on the Future
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 24, 2017
Read "Tributango" CD/LP/Track Review Tributango
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: December 13, 2016

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY IT!  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.