1

Susana Santos Silva, Lotte Anker, Sten Sandell, Torbjörn Zetterberg, John Fält: Life and Other Transient Storms

Troy Dostert By

Sign in to view read count
Many fans of contemporary creative jazz and improvised music have in recent years become aware of Susana Santos Silva. Despite her relative youth (37), this extraordinary Portuguese trumpet player possesses a remarkably self-assured and distinctive voice on her instrument, and she excels in straddling the lines between composition and free improvisation. For this release, she's assembled a star-studded ensemble, called "Life and Other Transient Storms," for two long, unstructured improvisations, and the result is a first-rate, eminently enjoyable collaboration.

Aside from drummer John Fält, who was an unfamiliar name at least to this reviewer, the rest of Silva's associates here have long and impressive resumes: saxophonist Lotte Anker, bassist Torbjorn Zetterberg, and pianist Sten Sandell have all recorded widely with many free jazz luminaries. Prior to forming this group in 2015, however, Silva had worked steadily only with Zetterberg, so this is a project still in its early stages, and one hopes they'll have many additional opportunities to explore and develop their collective sound.

The first of the two pieces, "Life," runs for just over 30 minutes, and it's filled with disciplined, focused playing from all five musicians. After some tremulous introductory statements by Sandell, Anker and Silva, the track settles in with Zetterberg and Fält establishing the outlines of a pulse, which begins to provide the momentum needed to really get the track moving. Anker and Silva complement each other well: both have a lyrical quality to their playing, and while they can be fiery and forceful when needed, for this improvisation they are typically more content to tease out subtler musical fragments in conversation with their colleagues. Silva has a pure, crystalline tone on her long notes, and while she offers some smears and growls from time to time, it's really the beauty of her contributions that tend to stand out. Her subtle back-and-forth with Anker during the moody middle section of the track is especially compelling. In addition to his nimble pizzicato work, Zetterberg shows himself to be quite adept at arco playing, particularly in that section, where his sinuous technique offers the perfect support for the horns. Sandell's contributions range from punchy and turbulent to pensive and delicate, both in the upper and lower registers; his thunderous rumblings in the deep end of the piano provide much of the power that drives the music during its most intense and hair-raising moments. With a nice balance of emotional crests as well as quieter, more contemplative explorations, the track offers plenty to sustain interest, and it never wears out its welcome.

The second track, "Other Transient Storms," begins with an expressive, unaccompanied Silva solo, where her impressive clarity really comes to the fore, before Zetterberg and Fält join in. What stands out on this track is the group's rhythmic dynamics, as Zetterberg and Fält (along with Sandell) take on a more overt role in defining the music's trajectory and sustaining its pulse. The mutuality that characterizes the group is also abundantly evident, as Silva and Anker build throughout on the rhythmic figures developed by Sandell, Fält and Zetterberg. And there's even a bit of whimsy involved, as we get a brief, rollicking interlude that sounds almost playfully circus-like about two-thirds of the way through this 19-minute improvisation. Like "Life," this track also has its moments of fire and intensity, but these musicians are just as excellent when exploring less extravagant ideas.

A highly recommended release, and hopefully the beginning of a long recorded legacy for this fine improvisational ensemble.

Track Listing: Life; Other Transient Storms.

Personnel: Susana Santos Silva: trumpet and flugelhorn; Lotte Anker: soprano and tenor saxophone; Sten Sandell: piano; Torbjörn Zetterberg: bass; John Fält, drums.

Title: Life and Other Transient Storms | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Clean Feed Records

Tags

Watch

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Warmth

Warmth

Susana Santos Silva
Devil's Dress

Devil's Dress

Devil's Dress

Susana Santos Silva
Devil's Dress

Album Reviews
Live Reviews
Album Reviews
Read more articles
All the Rivers – Live at Panteão Nacional

All the Rivers –...

Clean Feed Records
2018

buy
Life and Other Transient Storms

Life and Other...

Clean Feed Records
2016

buy
Rasengan!

Rasengan!

Barefoot Records
2016

buy
If Nothing Else

If Nothing Else

Clean Feed Records
2015

buy
Impermanence

Impermanence

Carimbo Porta-jazz
2015

buy
This Love

This Love

Clean Feed Records
2015

buy

Related Articles

Read This Should Be Fun Album Reviews
This Should Be Fun
By David A. Orthmann
April 20, 2019
Read Transoceanico Album Reviews
Transoceanico
By Patrick Burnette
April 20, 2019
Read Pete Seeger: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection Album Reviews
Pete Seeger: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection
By Jakob Baekgaard
April 20, 2019
Read Live in Newcastle, December 8, 1972 Album Reviews
Live in Newcastle, December 8, 1972
By John Kelman
April 19, 2019
Read HUJE 2018 Album Reviews
HUJE 2018
By Jack Bowers
April 19, 2019
Read Farallon Album Reviews
Farallon
By Jerome Wilson
April 19, 2019
Read Burning Meditation Album Reviews
Burning Meditation
By John Sharpe
April 18, 2019