Joao Lencastre: Parallel Realities

Mark Corroto By

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Portuguese drummer Joao Lencastre titled his release Parallel Realities because upon initial listening you might get a notion this music is tether-less free improvisation. But upon further spins, an order appears from the farrago. How that order is generated is, well, the magician's art of pulling a rabbit from his hat.

Parallel Realities follows Lencastre's Song(s) Of Hope (Clean Feed, 2019), the second release from his Communion 3 piano trio with Jacob Sacks and Eivind Opsvik. Here he employs three fellow Portuguese musicians—pianist Rodrigo Pinheiro (Red Trio, Lotte Anker, Per Gärdin), guitarist Pedro Branco and bassist/electronics João Hasselberg, plus the Spanish saxophonist Albert Cirera (Zlatko Kaučič, Agustí Fernandez).

The disc begins with the waveless, ambient electronic sounds that slowly introduce twinkling piano, cymbal washes, bow bass and a quiet foraging saxophone. The sounds grow organically and succeed by way of great ears and some deferential group interactions. But what is holding the music together? As the disc proceeds so does the disquiet. First with squeaky saxophone and electronics and furtive piano attack. Sounds that are anything but random. Lencastre's drumming doesn't keep time here, because that function is kept by tacit agreement. "High Speed Chase" finds an intersection of bright piano runs contrasted with free jazz guitar and saxophone. "Rush Hour" spins into a maelstrom of sound. The lengthy "Crossing Worlds" (14+ minutes) is at first a ship adrift at sea; the creak of wood and low keys covers the mice-like electric sounds. The music is filled with what might be best described as micro-improvisations, all of which are in service of the group's objective. That is, to make a consistent and coherent statement.

Track Listing: Departure; Turbulent Journey; The Maze; High Speed Chase; Rush Hour; Crossing Worlds; Like A Walk In The Sky; Fire Dance.

Personnel: João Lencastre: drums; Albert Cirera: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone; Rodrigo Pinheiro: piano; Pedro Branco: guitar; João Hasselberg: bass, double bass, electronics.

Title: Parallel Realities | Year Released: 2019 | Record Label: FMR Records

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