Daily Archives: February 6, 2008

Touching Extremes review by Massimo Ricci

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JÚLIO RESENDE – Da alma (CF 095) 
There is some measure of poetry in the music of pianist and composer Resende, in this occasion accompanied by João Custódio on double bass, Alexandra Grimal and Zé Pedro Coelho on tenor sax (in different tracks), João Lobo and João Rijo on drums (idem). “Da Alma” is a humble album that seems to voluntarily shroud thoughts and reflections with a veil of naiveté. Themes and harmonic relations are deployed with respectful delicacy, at times winking at the nostalgic factors (so to speak) that composers like – say – Lyle Mays might have hinted to in their past artistic choices. Elsewhere, like in “Filhos da Revolução” or “Move it!”, this is meshed with melodic intuitions that travel as fast as kids’ fantasies do when they hear a strange yet attractive lullaby. This mixture of candid simplicity and technical expertise works finely for the large part of the program, giving life to sensations ranging from relaxing to quite touching in short time spans. It’s pretty straightforward sonic painting, nothing that requires a degree in rocket science to be enjoyed; and it’s quite easy to digest, moments of refined intensity testifying about the deceptive trait of ingenuousness that characterizes it. There’s no trace of posing from the musicians; a fresh disposition to the interpretation of the scores, even a few uncertainties in a couple of tortuous sections are also evident. It all makes sense, though, the whole amounting to nearly one full hour of problem-free listening.

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Touching Extremes review by Massimo Ricci

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ALIPIO C NETO QUARTET – The perfume comes before the flower (CF 092)
 
Brazilian reedist Neto, here on tenor sax and flute, leads a quartet featuring Herb Robertson (trumpet, cornet, flutes), Ken Filiano (double bass) and Michael T.A. Thompson (soundrhythium percussionist – don’t ask) plus Ben Stapp, who plays tuba in three pieces. They present music that appears well constructed, not too complicated yet, in spurts, designed in reference to uncommon methods. Exactly in the moment when the mind gets used to the complex interrelations occurring in some of the parts, here’s a sudden opening which addresses the attention towards something that sounds more comprehensible – a squared-out theme, a graceful line. The leader possesses distinct instrumental voice and keen compositional intelligence to inform his material with, preventing the group to fall into the traps of musty jazz. Despite the often very intense swaps between him and Robertson, there are many and one moment in which we clearly perceive the indigenous root of the music; expectedly, one would say but it’s not so, as Neto declares postcard elements completely extraneous to his writing, furnishing us instead with a vivid reminder about the strong coalescence of hard times and happiness that spell “Brazil” in essence. The level of communication – both among the players and with the audience – remains high throughout the five tracks. Filiano, Thompson and the cleverly talented Stapp are all active contributors to a lingo that doesn’t cease to tickle interest, not even after repeated listens.

Touching Extremes review by Massimo Ricci

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JOE FIEDLER TRIO – The crab (CF 093)
 
A trombone, bass and drum trio that moves around coordinates of atonality and funk, featuring the leader plus the exciting rhythm section of John Hebert and Michael Sarin. Shaped by a 20-year studying period with Albert Mangelsdorff (whose music he had been tackling in a previous Clean Feed CD)  Fiedler nevertheless propels his playing via large quantities of spicy angularity over the course of nine tracks. Modulating the compositions through harmonic progressions that sound all but not prefigured, the trombonist demonstrates himself to be a keen-scented researcher of the negation of predictability, managing to jump here and there according to intervals that probably look like graphic symbols of bungee-jumping on paper. Fiedler’s instrumental voice avoids magniloquence in favour of a lean and mean tone, which lies upon odd metres and tangential bass riffs with the same sweated sweetness of a satisfied lover after hours of funny games. Hebert shows technical prowess, not only via ever-involving solo spots but acting as an equable timbral counterpart to the leader’s fantasy. Sarin possesses tremendous sensitiveness and a quizzical capability of swinging for the fences when necessary, revealing his wrists’ elasticity in repeated occasions, all the good intentions of keeping the things straight ending in a dirty alley where the chief uses his friends’ comprehension to throw bumblebee-like lines up to the sky. They seem to go everywhere, as a hundred doves would do once set free.