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European Jazz Conference Lisbon 2018: Portuguese showcases

Henning Bolte By

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Bode Wilson Trio

The saxophonist of Impermanence, Joao Pedro Brandao, forms the Bode Wilson Trio together with bassist Demian Cabaud and drummer Marcos Cavaleiro. With utmost dedication and submersion/concentration the three musicians played highly remarkable self-sufficient, non-suggestive music, true to the essence of sound, amazingly clearly constructed and filigree, music of great dynamics and remarkable clarity. It had all the elements of rhythm, groove, melody intertwined in a highly sophisticated way. In the way the music came about it had enigmatic traits as indicated by the name of the group. It is like incompletely decoded hieroglyphs. It seems to linger in a (secret) intermediate world. Additionally language with confusing references is used, working as a guardrail for its music, its incommensurability: "The freedom intrinsic to his formation, serve as support for a song that pretends contemplative, changeable and energetic. Sceneries are planned so diverse, as to remember arid landscapes, crowded fairs, a rusty toy or a bush ..." . You can also find that on their latest, excellent album Lascas, splitters, released by Portajazz (2017).

Pedro Melo Alves' Omniae Ensemble

Twenty-six year old drummer/pianist Pedro Melo Alves from Porto is the vigorous shining Wunderkind of Portuguese jazz. He did not settle for playing his instruments in small-scale configurations. Three years ago he immersed himself in a thorough study of composition at Lisbon Superior School of Music (ESML). In 2016, he won the newly instated Sassetti Composition Award, and, in 2017, he was elected as National Musician of the Year by the Portuguese Jazz Magazine. In 2018, he was selected for the 12Points Festival in Dublin with his Rite of Trio, a guitar—bass —drums unit with André Silva and Pedro Louro. Attendees testified that he was the mental and musical whirlwind of the festival. Thus the next ambitious leap was the EJC showcase in Lisbon with his large Omniae Ensemble.

In Lisbon Alves really pulled it all out of the bag, threw it into the arena uninhibited. The seven-piece-ensemble swarmed up in its abundant mixture of neatly structured compositional strongholds and freely cruising satellites cutting through in a dizzying sonic scenery, a scenery too with sliding panels and wild pop-ups. No dull moment, tilting surfaces, rushing drums, lingering intermezzos, soaring horns, solos luxuriating in orchestral beddings—abundant, youthful supererogation. Balanced? Play, play, play, the music will find it's own equilibrium! Here we have a firmly stimulating obligation for cautious presenters in the rest of Europe; it is really something for a young musician to set this up and make it work. C'mon!


Another remarkable young force of Portuguese jazz is saxophonist João Mortagua. Mortagua has pronounced ideas about the relationship and combination of form, action, style and energy in jazz and a great urge to give shape to them. His own sextet Axes is a highly movable, volatile and playful dynamic entity with an exceptional line-up of two drums and four saxophones. It is not a unit that just pulls off its thing. It is a unit with a sonic choreography. It comprises the saxophonists João Mortágua, José Soares, Hugo Ciríaco and Rui Teixeira and the two drummers Alex Rodriguez-Lázaro and Pedro Vasconcelos who infectiously whip up the music. The primordial version of this quartet is of course the World Saxophone Quartet of Julius Hemphill, Oliver Lake, Hamiet Bluiett and David Murray that started in 80s of the last century. The addition of two drummers increases the maneuverability of the unit and gives it a more raw quality especially when a second line emerges, ska (like in "Shiny Axe") or hip-hop beats shine through. Now and then it reminds me of Steven Bernstein's Sexmob. In short: a highly original concept and a great realization. Axes is a unit definitely ready to take stages way east or up north and shine there too.


Live Reviews Henning Bolte Portugal Lisbon Maria Joao João Paulo Esteves João Barradas João Mortágua Susana Santos Silva Pedro Melo Alves Beatriz Nunes Marco Barroso Eduardo Cardinho André Fernandez Mario Costa Benoit Delbecq Bruno Chevillon Joana Machado Pedro Segundo Ross Stanley Andre Carvalho Bernardo Sassetti Carlos Barretto Alexandre Frazão Mário Laginha Carlos 'Zingaro' Bugge Wesseltoft Espen Eriksen andy sheppard Carlos Martins Paal Nilssen-Love Emile Parisien Hugo Carvalhais Joachim Kühn Michel Portal Manu Codja} -{{Vincent Peirani Simon Tailleu Michael Mantler Pedro Guedes Carlos Azevedo Maria Schneider carla bley Lee Konitz John Hollenbeck Mark Turner Carlos Bica Steve Swallow Gary Valente Dieter Glawischnig Chris Cheek Ohad Talmor Joshua Redman Cristina Branco Ricardo Ribeiro Greg Osby Gil Goldstein Sergio Carolino Aki Takase Egberto Gismonti Rabih Abou-Khalil Luís Barrigas Mário Franco Jorge Moniz Torbjörn Zetterberg João Pedro Brandão Hugo Raro Marcos Cavaleiro Demian Cabaud José Soares Hugo Ciríaco Rui Teixeira Alex Rodriguez-Lázaro Pedro Vasconcelos Julius Hemphill Oliver Lake Hamiet Bluiett David Murray Steven Bernstein Ray Draper Howard Johnson Michel Massot Berlinde Demen Michel Godard Oren Marshall Martin Taxt Heida Mobeck Daysuke Takaoka Sara Tavares Francisco Brito João Pereira Diogo Alexandre Miguel Mira Gabriel Ferrandini Peter Evans Joe McPhee Jeb Bishop Kent Kessler John Hebert Chris Corsano Gerald Cleaver Gard Nilssen Thomas Johansson Jon Rune Strøm Hernani Faustino Joao Lencastre Thomas Morgan Jacob Sacks David Binney

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