Musicworks review by Stuart Broomer

Lama – Oneiros (CF 240)
Based in Rotterdam, Lama is an unusual mix of sensibilities, a trio of Portuguese and Canadian musicians that work at the intersections of film noir cool jazz, electronica and free improvisation. Gonçalo Almeida plays bass, effects and loops and is the principal composer; Susana Santos Silva plays trumpet, flugelhorn and electronics; they’re joined by drummer Greg Smith, a Canadian who toured Europe with Toronto’s Shuffle Demons in the mid-90s and decided to stay in Holland. The music is continually engaging, mining the familiar in oddly surprising ways and maintaining the dream theme of the title track throughout, even in the way it frames aggressive polyrhythmic interplay among the three musicians on The Chimpanzee Who Told Man How to Cry. Almeida’s Alguidar introduces the pattern of continuous transformation beginning in drone-like loops of bowed bass and rubato trumpet long-tones before Santos Silva’s spiky, splintering trumpet becomes the lead voice in a charging, jazz-based improvisation. The group’s identity is constructed in such shifts: Almeida and Santos Silva are both highly lyrical acoustic players, but the playful electronics actually make their sounds more personal. Smith continuously brings flexibility and an explosive immediacy to a music that is at once liberating and nostalgic, something like the film music of Nino Rota.


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