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MoFrancesco Quintetto: Piedra Solar

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MoFrancesco Quintetto: Piedra Solar
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 the listener's attention without use of volume. The ensemble attack of "Olisipo" (the old name for Lisbon, where the album was recorded) has a rich Mingusian quality, whereas the words of Frederico Garcia Lorca, spoken by Jaco Loredo on "Vuelta De Paseo" give a dramatic edge to this short track.

"Start Flying Song" and "Mobocracy" are more straight-ahead, giving ample opportunities for strong solos by Guto Lucena and João Capinhar on tenor and Johannes Krieger on trumpet, but all the while Miguel Moreira's subtle drumming and Iuri Gaspar's essential piano keep everything moving along. The ruminative and beautifully arranged "Impressiones Intimas" written by Spanish composer Frederico Mompou is sensitively rendered by atmospheric acoustic bass, piano and drums, ultimately resolving into a hypnotic accelerando.

Once more, Jaco Loredo's spoken voice adds drama to the quietly menacing "Apareció" (oddly reminiscent of Graham Collier's The Day of The Dead) before ceding to a lively "Miracolo A Milano" where Marcos Suzano again on pandeiro lends a Weather Report-like dimension. "Mukambo" is redolent of so many fine Blue Note albums yet maintains a contemporary feel, further enhanced by a masterly acoustic bass solo by Francesco Valente.

The quirky, foot-tapper "Ambos Mundos" concludes this genuinely exciting album, exuding South American rhythmic joy and augmented by uncredited wordless vocal chanting.

Benefitting from excellent compositions, arrangements and gifted musicians, this album of modern, fusion jazz has been carefully crafted and is, by the admission of the group, a conscious homage to the Iberian Peninsula. But whilst this Portugese-based group makes no secret of its debt to the heritage of Latin jazz, this album also perfectly illustrates the truly international language of the idiom. Though comparisons are odious, nevertheless think here perhaps of Chick Corea's ground-breaking Return to Forever 1972 album for ECM. This is an excellent, imaginative and instantly accessible album inviting frequently repeated plays and this is surely a group that demands a wider audience.

Track Listing

Ala’Ad-Din; Abraxas; Tres Morilla; Persian Story; Olisipo; Vuelta De Paseo; Start Flying Song; Mobocracy; Impressiones Intimas; Apareció; Miracolo A Milano; Mukambo; Ambos Mundos

Personnel

Francesco Valente: acoustic bass, electric bass; Miguel Moreira: drums; Iuri Gaspar: piano; João Capinhar: alto sax; Johannes Krieger: trumpet; Guto Lucena: tenor sax, baritone sax, flute, bass flute; Marcos Suzano: percussion; Aline Frazão: voice; Jaco Loredo: voice

Album information

Title: Piedra Solar | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Self Produced


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