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Andre Carvahlo: Memoria De Amiba

Bruce Lindsay By

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Early inspiration comes to jazz musicians in a number of ways. Many can remember the first time they heard Miles Davis or Charlie Parker, others recall their first encounter with Ella Fitzgerald. Bassist André Carvalho has vivid memories of the amoeba—vivid and important enough to name his second album in honor of the unicellular creature, Memória De Amiba.

The Lisbon-born bassist is classically-trained as well as having studied jazz (and computer engineering). On Memória De Amiba Carvahlo leads an impressive septet with a definite jazz sound. Each player contributes to the realization of Carvalho's compositions, with pianist Oscar Graça, vibraphonist Jeffery Davis and guitarist Bruno Santos deserving of particular praise for their distinctive sounds.

Jorge Reis, on soprano sax, combines with Graça on the delicate opening to "Tadzio," inspired by a character in Thomas Mann's novel Death In Venice. Santos adds equally delicate guitar to the tune as it opens up to encompass engaging contributions from Davis' vibes and João Rijo's percussion. The tune is graceful, the playing beautifully-judged. The delicacy continues on "Selina Kyle," another great example of the band's sensitivity as players and Carvahlo's talent for writing catchy yet beautiful tunes. It remains on "Contemplações Do Panteao," with Davis' soft-toned and controlled vibes setting up the interplay between Reis, tenorist Zé Maria and guest musician Ricardo Toscano on alto.

These slow, emotive, tunes stand out, but there's also a more upbeat side to Carvahlo's music, even though it never approaches full-on raucousness. "Bleistift" centers on a rolling five note riff that serves as the jumping off point for the saxophones, before the trio of Graça, Carvahlo and Rijo settle things down with a soft, restrained, mid-section. "Aunt Beru" shares a similar rolling rhythm while "Nóia Do Gil" gets a little funky, thanks especially to Rijo's drums.

Carvahlo may well have taken his inspiration from a tiny, shapeless, creature, but Memória De Amiba is impressively well-structured. The septet plays with finesse. Carvahlo's writing offers scope for different texures and layers of sound that often give the sensation of a much larger ensemble, but he's not afraid to give space to just one or two players at a time, creating some memorable performances as a result.

Track Listing: Chamada Não Atendida; Bleistift; Tadzio; Selina Kyle; Introduction To Contemplações Do Panteao; Contemplações Do Panteao; Introduction To Nóia Do Gil; Nóia Do Gil; Vi E Maria; Aunt Beru.

Personnel: André Carvalho: double bass; Zé Maria: tenor saxophone; Jorge Reis: soprano saxophone, alto saxophone; Bruno Santos; guitar; Jeffery Davis: vibraphone; Óscar Graça: piano; João Rijo: drums; André Santos: guitar (10); Ricardo Toscano: alto saxophone (6).

Title: Memoria De Amiba | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Tone of a Pitch Music


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