3

Mn'JAM experiment: Live with a Boom

Chris M. Slawecki By

Sign in to view read count
Can computers be programmed to improvise? That's just one of the questions you'll consider in response to Live with a Boom, the first multimedia presentation by Melissa Oliveira de Sousa and João Artur Moreira (JAM) with other like-minded colleagues in the Mn'JAM experiment.

You can trace the modern, global (perhaps post-modern, post-global) sound of Oliveira's ensemble back to their credentials: Belgian drummer Tuur Moens teams with José Carlos Barbosa, one of Portugal's most sought bassists, on double-bass to rhythmically supplement turntables manned by Portuguese native JAM, who studied jazz at the New England Conservatory and jazz composition at the Rotterdam Conservatory. Miguel Amaral (Portuguese guitar), Vixilio da Silva (guitar) and bass clarinetist Joris Roelofs, the first non-American to receive the Stan Getz/Clifford Brown Fellowship Award, serve up jazz, rock and jazz-rock fusion solos. Bandleader and vocalist Oliveira, an Australian native who studied at Berklee, a classical conservatory in Portugal, and completed her master's degree in jazz performance at the Royal Conservatory of the Hague, oversees the collective.

Much of this music, such as "Printer" and the opening "R2D2," seems simultaneously inspired and propelled by technology. Even so, Moens' dynamic, quicksilver rhythms and Oliveira's fetching voice conjure its most powerful magic. They collectively take the abstract thoughts of Radiohead's "Optimistic" even further out, with the leader's quiet vocal standing as a strong, tall pillar in the midst of the swirling samples, beats and other electronics, scatting and meowing and disappearing like a hip jazz cat.

"Pensamentos," Oliveira's dreamy recitation of a poem by Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa, sounds like she's reminding herself of something she once remembered, and the group's arrangement builds up a bright if brittle melody behind "Maio Maduro Maio" by Portuguese folk music legend José Afonso.

Live with a Boom concludes with two even more inventive reimaginations. Bass and drums abstract the original rhythm and melody of Bill Withers' iconic blues grind "Use Me," while Oliveira coos and purrs Withers' rootsy vocal into a softer, more slithery sound; the CD closes with her dramatic voices-only reimagining of the Gershwin's "It Ain't Necessarily So" as a bonus track.

Watching the Live with a Boom DVD (from which the audio directly comes) delivers an even broader and deeper musical experience: It comes in nine different languages and provides an overview documentary, track-by-track documentaries, an introductory video on the band's songwriting process, and 5.1 surround sound.

Track Listing: R2d2; Optimistic; Fairytale; Pensamentos; Fountain; Garden Walls; Printer; Maio Maduro Maio; Use Me; It Ain't Necessarily So.

Personnel: Melissa Oliveira: vocals; João Artur Moreira (JAM): turntables, visuals; Tuur Moens: drums; José Carlos Barbosa: double bass; Vixilio da Silva: guitar; Miguel Amaral: Portuguese guitar; Joris Roelofs: bass clarinet; Rogerio Santos: beatbox.

Title: Live with a Boom | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Self Produced


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read For the Love of You CD/LP/Track Review For the Love of You
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 21, 2017
Read Recent Developments CD/LP/Track Review Recent Developments
by John Sharpe
Published: October 21, 2017
Read Triple Double CD/LP/Track Review Triple Double
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 21, 2017
Read Agrima CD/LP/Track Review Agrima
by Jerome Wilson
Published: October 21, 2017
Read The Study of Touch CD/LP/Track Review The Study of Touch
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 20, 2017
Read Another North CD/LP/Track Review Another North
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 19, 2017
Read "Stratus" CD/LP/Track Review Stratus
by Edward Blanco
Published: August 11, 2017
Read "Beyond The Moon" CD/LP/Track Review Beyond The Moon
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 2, 2016
Read "05:21" CD/LP/Track Review 05:21
by Jim Trageser
Published: November 28, 2016
Read "To the Bone" CD/LP/Track Review To the Bone
by Geno Thackara
Published: August 22, 2017
Read "Official Bootleg: Live in Chicago, June 28th, 2017" CD/LP/Track Review Official Bootleg: Live in Chicago, June 28th, 2017
by John Kelman
Published: October 12, 2017
Read "You'll Never Know" CD/LP/Track Review You'll Never Know
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 31, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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