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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

MoFrancesco Quintetto: Kucheza

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This album features a new, jazz version of the oldest song in the world. “The Seikilos Epitaph," probably from 200BC, was found engraved on a tombstone, or stele near the ancient Greek city of Ephesus in what is now Turkey. It was signed by someone called Seikilos and dedicated to Euterpe, most likely his wife, along with the following lyrics: While you live, shine Have no grief at all Life exists only ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

MoFrancesco Quintetto: Kucheza

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Jazz has certainly come a long way since its early beginnings, whose free spirit and richness of form means that one could easily spend a whole lifetime marvelling at its infinite variety. And none more so than on Kucheza, the MoFrancesco Quintetto's sublime and engaging new album. Based in Lisbon, Portugal, European jazz doesn't get any better than this. Combining both traditional elements of the art form, along with more continental contours, Kucheza makes for one sophisticated and enjoyable journey. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

MoFrancesco Quintetto: Piedra Solar (MoFrancesco Quintetto)

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The MoFrancesco Quintetto, led by super-bassist Francesco Valente is one powerhouse group that will blow your socks off playing originals anchored in hard-bop with an Iberian twist, but who also can show a softer, more melodic side. Piedra Solar features the core group (Valente, drummer/percussionist Miguel Moreira, pianist Iuri Gaspar, Johannes Krieger on trumpet with Joao Capinha on tenor sax and flute or multi-instrumentalist (saxophones and flutes) Guto Lucena, and here with guest vocalists Jaco Loredo and Aline ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

MoFrancesco Quintetto: Piedra Solar

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Piedra Solar--the second album of the MoFrancesco Quintetto--is deeply rooted in Mediterranean and latin influences. Highly structured yet with a pint of improvisation, the songs reveal deep consideration of past influences, familiar themes, and novel straight ahead jazz. In the Quintet's words, the album pays homage to the Iberian Peninsula where Italian bass lead player and composer Francesco Valente has dwelled for eighteen years. An ethnomusicology graduate and currently a Ph.D candidate, Valente along with a group of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

MoFrancesco Quintetto: Piedra Solar

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Time was when jazz flirtations with the Iberian Peninsula were limited to the gentle rattle of castanets followed by Rodrigo's “Concierto De Aranjuez" and a feeling you were doing something intellectual. No more. Francesco Valente cites as a major source of inspiration for this album--a homage to his adopted homeland--Portuguese author Jose Saramago's novel “The Stone Raft," in which a crack appears in the Pyrenees and Spain and Portugal start to drift out into the Atlantic, away ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

MoFrancesco Quintetto: Piedra Solar

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The instantly engaging “Ala'Ad-Din" opens this 70 minute set, the second album by this talented Lisbon-based group. A bass and piano riff confidently introduces “Abraxas" with unison horns taking up the main theme, leader Francesco Valente's electric bass to the fore and Brazilian guest percussionist Marcos Suzano playing pandeiro to great effect. Aline Frazão's sublime vocals on “Tres Morillas" or Guto Lucena's flute on the pastoral “Persian Story" demonstrate that this band has an innate ability to hold ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

MoFrancesco Quintetto: Maloca

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Italian bassist Francesco Valente's fascination with the culture of Brazil inspired the title of this album. A moloca is an Amazonian ancestral longhouse and a habitat for sharing knowledge, stories and music. In this case, the communal home is his adopted Lisbon and Valente's family is a multi-national quintet whose musical ancestors have bequeathed the jazz vernacular in all its global diversity. Together, the musical narratives that the MoFrancesco Quintetto shares draw from traditional and contemporary jazz, Iberian folkloric flavors ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

MoFrancesco Quintetto: Maloca

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Having appeared as a sideman on countless albums for over a decade, Italian bassist Francesco Valente finally unveils his first effort as leader with the modern jazz and fusion-like Maloca fronting his MoFrancesco Quintetto as they perform a session of fresh new originals exemplifying some of the styles and sounds of the Mediterranean area. Valente honed his skills as a musician while living in Lisbon, Portugal for sixteen years, performing in local venues and at various international festivals all while ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

MoFrancesco Quintetto: Maloca

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A maloca is an ancestral long house used by Indians in the Amazonian jungle to receive outsiders and exchange knowledge and ideas. Italian bassist Francesco Valente became fascinated with the idea of the maloca on a trip to Brazil, Bolivia and Peru. A close perusal of the album cover reveals him doing a push-up between the M and the L of MALOCA at Uyuni, in Bolivia as a tropical storm looms. Valente, 39, now ...