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...

98

Sara Serpa: Mobile

C. Michael Bailey By

Sign in to view read count
Portuguese singer Sara Serpa is what is produced when the talents of Gretchen Parlato, Simin Tander and Tierney Sutton coalesce. Her voice is light and elastic, sporting a fierce intellect. Couple this with a vision/sense of humor of a Nicholas Urie and the result is a radioactive type of 21st Century Beat Poetry. Like Urie and his lyric book sources Excerpts From An Online Dating Service (Red Piano, 2009)—with text from the same—and My Garden (Red Piano, 2011), drawn from the poetry of Charles Bukowski, Serpa mines literature ancient (Herodotus' fifth century Histories on "Gold Digging Ants") and new (Ryszard Kapuściński's "The Shadow Of The Sun," on "Traveling with Kapuściński").

Serpa's use of the texts is sparse and serves as a jumping-off point for the composer/singer to indulge vocal/musical flights of fancy inspired by the verse. This creative freedom allows guitarist Andre Matos and pianist Kris Davis the same structured/free reign. Rounding out the band are the two crack timekeepers, bassist Ben Street and drummer Ted Poor, who also contribute as soloists on the edge, when not providing a solid rhythmic foundation to Serpa's musically transformed thoughts.

Serpa structures her compositions freely but precisely around the texts and their hidden meanings. "Pilgrimage to Armanath," based on V.S. Naipaul's "An Area of Darkness," builds on an inner motif, layered with voice, acoustic guitar and Fender Rhodes. Evolving from wispy to dense, Serpa navigates her composition to a quiet close, the only one that makes sense. On "Ahab's Lament" based on Melville's whale book, is, in contrast, solidly structured over geometric lines and undulating waves of sound. Serpa has quite the bag of tricks, she does.

This music, for the better part, is dark and brooding, both vocally and instrumentally. This is no mean criticism; Serpa is serious about her composition and it shows. She walks that fine line between the over-composed and unruly freedom (like politics, where the two movements meet in the back of a circular spectrum. Serpa is searching, and her search continues to provide compelling and provocative music.

Track Listing: Sequoia Gigantis; Ulysses Costume; Pilgrimage to Armanath; Ahab's lament; If; Tarveling With Kapuszinsky; Sem Razao; gold Digging Ants; Corto; City of Light, City of Darkness.

Personnel: Sara Serpa: vocals; Andre Matos: electric and acoustic guitars (3, 6, 9); Kris Davis: piano, Fender Rhodes (3, 5, 6, 9); Ben Street: bass; Ted Poor: drums.

Title: Mobile | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Inner Circle Music

Tags

Watch

comments powered by Disqus

Object

Object

Sara Serpa
Close Up

Rios

Rios

Sara Serpa
Primavera

Album Reviews
Multiple Reviews
Album Reviews
Interviews
Album Reviews
Read more articles
Close Up

Close Up

Clean Feed Records
2018

buy
All the Dreams

All the Dreams

Sunnyside Records
2016

buy
Aurora

Aurora

Clean Feed Records
2013

buy
Mobile

Mobile

Inner Circle Music
2012

buy
Aurora

Aurora

Clean Feed Records
2012

buy
Praia

Praia

Inner Circle Music
2008

buy

Shop

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

Related Articles

Read Duologue Album Reviews
Duologue
By Dan Bilawsky
January 17, 2019
Read Showing Up Album Reviews
Showing Up
By Nicholas F. Mondello
January 17, 2019
Read Chez Hélène Album Reviews
Chez Hélène
By Glenn Astarita
January 17, 2019
Read Original Demos Album Reviews
Original Demos
By Chris M. Slawecki
January 17, 2019
Read Fred Hersch Trio '97 @ The Village Vanguard Album Reviews
Fred Hersch Trio '97 @ The Village Vanguard
By Mark Sullivan
January 16, 2019
Read SJZ Collective Reimagines Monk Album Reviews
SJZ Collective Reimagines Monk
By Doug Collette
January 16, 2019
Read Swingin' In Seattle, Live At The Penthouse 1966-1967 Album Reviews
Swingin' In Seattle, Live At The Penthouse 1966-1967
By Mike Jurkovic
January 16, 2019

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/websites/allaboutjazz.com/www/html/content/chunks/overlay/aaj-sitemap.php on line 5