All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

84

RED Trio + John Butcher: Empire

John Sharpe By

Sign in to view read count
By inviting English saxophonist John Butcher to join them in a Lisbon studio, the Portuguese Red Trio executed a stroke of genius. Together they stretch pianist Bill Evans' democratic ethos to its logical conclusion: no-one leads, no-one follows, but paradoxically all four move as one, exploring timbre and mood across three collectively improvised cuts. The threesome's eponymous 2010 Clean Feed debut garnered many critical plaudits and the augmented follow-up looks destined to achieve the same result. Such collaborations are not a one-off: they have previously supplemented the trio's resources, having co-opted Americans trumpeter Nate Wooley and bass clarinetist Jason Stein in prior (unrecorded) meetings.

At the keyboard, Rodrigo Pinheiro accentuates the percussive characteristics of his instrument, avoiding tonal hegemony, often delving around the innards to dampen the resonance. While he sounds most conventional when the reedman isn't playing, even then his ringing arpeggios are likely to end unexpectedly in reiterated Morse code on muted strings.

Butcher demonstrates breathtaking control of unconventional tonalities, trading in carefully frazzled sax gymnastics and controlled multiphonics, at one memorable juncture simultaneously evoking voices just beyond the edge of comprehension and a buzzing didgeridoo. Bassist Hernani Faustino meshes with the kitchen-sink-and-all drums of Gabriel Ferrandini to create an engaging rhythmic latticework. But he also adopts oblique strategies, his hornlike arco work adding a ghostly wailing presence.

Butcher is totally absorbed into the idiosyncratic group conception. At the outset of "Pachyderm," it resembles a demented jazz quartet, with the Englishman's technique pushing his poised saxophone through a distorting prism, deconstructing the sound into constituent splintered shards and scratchy overtones. But in the quiet sections here and on the title track, extreme sensitivity characterizes the interaction. After an insistent passage of birdlike chirruping and whistles, the piece drifts into a dreamlike soundscape of scrapes, vibrations, drones and indeterminate noises, as if the instrumental sources are being distilled into their very essence. Pinheiro gets a piano interlude on "Empire" which sounds as if it is being played backwards, with sustained tones presaging a series of tumbling clipped notes. It's only towards the conclusion that the first melody on the disc emerges, but even here the saxophonist's lyrical musings are shot with overblown contortions. Wonderful music which shatters preconceptions.

Track Listing: Sustained; Pachyderm; Empire.

Personnel: Rodrigo Pinheiro: piano; Hernani Faustino: double bass; Gabriel Ferrandini: drums and percussion; John Butcher: tenor and soprano saxophones.

Title: Empire | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: NoBusiness Records

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Summer Skyshift

Summer Skyshift

Clean Feed Records
2016

buy
North And The Red Stream

North And The Red...

NoBusiness Records
2014

buy
Rebento

Rebento

NoBusiness Records
2013

buy
 

Stem

Continuum Records
2012

buy
Empire

Empire

NoBusiness Records
2012

buy
Empire

Empire

NoBusiness Records
2011

buy

Related Articles

Read Northern Migrations CD/LP/Track Review
Northern Migrations
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 22, 2018
Read Egregore CD/LP/Track Review
Egregore
by John Eyles
Published: April 22, 2018
Read Lifelike CD/LP/Track Review
Lifelike
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: April 22, 2018
Read Whatever Possessed Me CD/LP/Track Review
Whatever Possessed Me
by Don Phipps
Published: April 22, 2018
Read Live At The Fillmore East 1968 CD/LP/Track Review
Live At The Fillmore East 1968
by Doug Collette
Published: April 22, 2018
Read Live CD/LP/Track Review
Live
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: April 21, 2018
Read "Absolutely Live II" CD/LP/Track Review Absolutely Live II
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: January 4, 2018
Read "SuperClusters" CD/LP/Track Review SuperClusters
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 21, 2018
Read "L.O.T.U.S." CD/LP/Track Review L.O.T.U.S.
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 21, 2017
Read "Rímur" CD/LP/Track Review Rímur
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 15, 2017
Read "Ninety-Nine Years" CD/LP/Track Review Ninety-Nine Years
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 13, 2018
Read "Blues and Boogie Vol. 1" CD/LP/Track Review Blues and Boogie Vol. 1
by Doug Collette
Published: December 3, 2017