Free Jazz review by Paul Acquaro

CF 275Lama + Chris Speed – Lamaçal (CF 275)
A little while back I reviewed Lama’s Oneiros. It was a fantastic album, often subtle and nuanced, but it also had its more aggressive moments. Revisiting my last review, every word still fits this live recording featuring guest woodwind player Chris Speed:

The pieces fit together so tightly that there’s hardly room for a wasted note, beat or breath as the musicians move gracefully through the set of songs, nimbly riding the contours between structure and freedom.

Lama is Susana Santos Silva on trumpet and flugelhorn, Greg Smith on drums and electronics, and Gonçalo Almeida on doublebass, effects and loops. Joining them on this recording is woodwind master Chris Speed on sax and clarinet. Recorded during the 2012 Portalegre Jazz Festival, this electro-acoustic ensemble sprinkles in the electronics perfectly and with Speed’s thoughtful playing, Lamacal is another treat.

Kicking off with the slow building ‘Overture for a Wandering Fish’, the tentative lowercase introduction gives way to increasingly louder fluttering and sputtering as the tension mounts between the horns and rhythm section, becoming quite driving. But, restraint is also a motif throughout. The next track, ‘Lamacal’, also begins quietly with Almeida’s solo bass. Then, Speed joins in with fractured melodic snippets, which Santos then returns and plays off of, making for a fiesty interchange. The track ‘Moby Dick’ is also a real pleasure to follow. The solid but minimalist bass line moves along with fills and textures until the elliptical unison melody comes ultimately to a slow boil.

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