Zé Eduardo Unit – A Jazzar – Live in Capuchos (CF 155)
Ze Eduardo has been a central figure on the Portuguese Jazz scene since the ‘70s. He plies a strong acoustic bass and plays a leading role in his current trio. There’s a new recording on Clean Feed, “Ze Eduardo Unit Live in Capuchos.” Here Mr. Eduardo is joined by tenor saxophonist Jesus Santandreu and drummer Bruno Pedreso for a lively set. Once they clear out the cobwebs and get into some dynamic grooves, it becomes obvious that they are well attuned to one another and can work within various self-imposed parameters to create solid Post-Bop-Freebop Jazz with alternating density and spareness. When they get into a forward moving routine, they sound much fuller than the trio setting would suggest. That is in great part due to the rhythm team’s strongly felicitous interactions. Eduardo has strength of purpose and Pedroso builds upon that in ways that get the musical juices flowing.
Jesus Santandreau plays the soloist role with equal strength. He firmly entrenches himself in lithely moving idiomatic Post-Bop phrasing without quoting other players. He quotes himself. It seems to me that this would be a good starting CD for someone who wishes to explore what’s going on in Portugal. It’s quite engaging, once they get warmed up. And the group groove is hard to resist.
WHO TRIO – Less Is More (CF 135)
WHO stands for Wintsch (Michel, piano), Hemingway (Gerry, drums and percussion) and Oester (Bänz, bass). Active for over ten years under this embodiment, these artists are as distant from an ordinarily stale jazz trio as an exhausted reviewer could wish for. For starters, we find no surplus of swing in Less Is More, which makes me extremely intrigued. There’s much else to explore, though, and the musicians are not shy in attempting different routes, all leading to a single result: the expression of simple rhythmic and melodic concepts through a superior level of restrained interplay.
Either walking across intense abstraction (the impressive opening track “Inside The Glade” is, purely and simply, a masterpiece of concerned waiting and unsettled thoughts) or examining the details of metrical interlocking almost to the point of ritualism (“The Pump”, “The Eastern Corner”), WHO always manage to look unique even by maintaining the instrumental gradations virtually untouched. “Wedding Suite” may appear as a straightforward song yet it is full of dissonance – of the digestible kind – especially remarked by the ever-interesting, outside-the-canon figurations played by Wintsch, whose style is reserved and intelligently comprehensible at once, altered melodies and harmonic cleverness bathed in inspired suggestion. Banz sounds prosperous or emaciated depending on the context, the focus remaining on the sensible aspects of structural stability. Hemingway offers a great proof of sensitive drumming throughout, the subtlety of his percussive interventions during the most rarefied sections a lesson of self-discipline that many bangers should learn.
Don’t be fooled into thinking about ECM or similar comparisons: despite a graceful confidence and the total mastery of the tools at their disposal, these men’s music is a refined blend of sensitiveness and, at times, visionary drive that does not need the support of a church’s reverberation to affirm its durability in the listener’s memory.
Christian Lillinger’s Grund – First Reason (CF 142)
Il giovane batterista tedesco Christian Lillinger si presenta in gran spolvero per questo suo debutto come leader. Rafforza la sezione ritmica con il doppio basso acustico affidato ai bravi Jonas Westergaard e Robert Landfermann, mette nel front-end i saxofoni e i clarinetti di Tobias Delius e Wanja Slavin e aggiunge in tre brani il pianoforte impertinente del veterano Joachim Kühn. Una ricetta peculiare che produce buoni frutti, dispiegando una musica intensa e originale, piena di sussulti e colpi di mano, sospesa magicamente fra improvvisazione e dilatazione delle idee compositive. Il clima è spesso dolente e pensoso, ma non mancano guizzi luminosi che aprono squarci nel cielo plumbeo. Forse la scintilla decisiva, che ha fatto decollare in maniera così ben calibrata questo bel progetto, va ricercata nell’atmosfera intensa dell’isola di Ibiza, dove Joachim Kühn risiede da molti anni. Il pianista ha avuto modo di suonare in jam session con il giovane batterista e dopo alcuni giorni gli ha proposto di raccogliere le idee e di concretizzarle in un progetto discografico che si è poi realizzato proprio nella capricciosa isola spagnola. Cotto e mangiato. http://italia.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=4388