Tag Archives: Alexandre Frazão

Tuba Journal review by Kelly Thomas

TGB – Evil Things (CF 181)
Evil Things, the new album by TGB has once again released an album that will turn the tuba/euphonium community on their ear. The players for this project are the same as the first album: Sérgio Carolino, Mário Delgado, and Alexandre Frazão. The instrumentation is tuba, guitars (also dobro) and drums. One of the top guitarists of the Portuguese music scene, Delgado is an assumed heir of the Jimi Hendrix legacy. Also one of the master drummers in Portugal, Brazilian percussionist Frazão established his name in various musical idioms, from world music to drum‘n’bass. This album has taken several other popular songs and adapted them to this unique ensemble. Music from Black Sabbath (“Planet Caravan”), Deep Purple (“The Mule”), and Bill Evans (“Interplay”) are on this album. The recording varies from their first album in that the music is a little more unexpected and requires deep listening. Similar to the first recording is that the playing is of the highest quality. Every time I hear Sérgio Carolino play, I am reminded of not only of his obvious mastery of the tuba but also his mastery of so many varied musical styles. He is a true elite musician who happens to play thetuba.!

Jazz.pt review by António Branco

TGB – Evil Things (CF 181)
Classificação: 4 em 5
“Quando, há pouco mais de meia dúzia de anos, um OMNI (leia-se Objecto Musical Não Identificado) chamado TGB aterrou com estrondo bem no meio do cinzento planeta jazzístico nacional, as ondas de surpresa não se fizeram esperar. Aos comandos de tão estranho aparelho estavam Mário Delgado, Alexandre Frazão e Sérgio Carolino. Se os dois primeiros já eram senhores de sólida reputação, o último explodia como tubista de primeira água. Quem procurou determinar a proveniência do dito objecto cedo se enredou num mapa complexo, cheio de coordenadas indecifráveis. Neste regresso em 2010, o TGB mantém a aposta nessas premissas e volta a surpreender pelo modo, pleno de irreverência e humor, como conjuga, processa e subverte a multiplicidade de referências que lhe serve de inspiração. É deste inclassificável cruzamento estético que nasce a frescura e relevância musical de um dos mais interessantes projectos nacionais. O trio continua a revelar apetência para versões de temas hard-rock dos anos 70 do século passado. Se no disco de estreia foram os Led Zepellin, agora é a vez dos Black Sabbath (bem trabalhada essência de “Planet Caravan”) e dos Deep Purple (“The Mule”, minuto e meio de energia em estado puro). “George Harrison” um tributo ao autor de “Here Comes the Sun”, bem conhecido das apresentações ao vivo da formação, é um caleidoscópio de sons e atmosferas. Outros momentos de interesse encontram-se na mais tranquila “Bozzetto’s Song” (com Mário Delgado em dobro) e em “Close Your Eyes” (curiosa versão de um tema popularizado por Hank Garland). E há essa improvável – mas bem conseguida – leitura de “Interplay”, de Bill Evans. Nota ainda para o humor incandescente de “Aleister Crowley”, dedicado ao ocultista britânico que se correspondia com Pessoa. Para os mais puristas mais empedernidos talvez se trate de algo indigesto. Para os outros é uma lauta refeição Musica.”

Le Son du Grisli review by Luc Bouquet

Bernardo Sassetti Trio – Motion (CF 177)Presque toujours un arpège de piano. Quelque chose d’un impressionnisme à peine voilé. Comme la quête d’une image sans tremblements ni sursauts. Chez Bernardo Sassetti, Carlos Barretto et Alexandre Frazão, le traitement est cinématographique : de longs plans-séquences insistants ; tableaux vivants, étirés et réitérés jusqu’à leur propre épuisement. On pourrait dire : un trio à l’errance cadrée s’il n’était quelques sorties de routes ; une métrique empruntée ici (MW 104.5 Bicubic), des courbes brisées ailleurs (Bird & Beyond). Compositeur pour le théâtre et le cinéma, Bernardo Sassetti évite les écueils (joliesse, douceur) du style appréhendé (ici la ballade jazz) au profit d’une obsession, certes entretenue, mais toujours, à la limite de l’invisibilité. Une réussite, je crois.
http://grisli.canalblog.com/

All About Jazz Italy review by Angelo Leonardi

TGB – Evil Things (CF 181)
C’è eclettismo ed originalità nella musica di quest’anomalo trio portoghese (tuba, chitarra elettrica e batteria, dalle cui iniziali prende il nome) che assembla con disinvoltura influenze diverse (momenti hendrixiani o metal, atmosfere alla Ribot, più l’urgenza espressiva dei gruppi di Henry Threadgill) in un progetto abbastanza coerente nella sua metamorfosi ma certo avvincente per chi apprezza le contaminazioni.

La personalità più spiccata è il virtuoso di tuba Sérgio Carolino, che s’esprime con rara veemenza per un solista che ha svolto gran parte della sua carriera in ambito classico (dalla Lisbon Metropolitan Orchestra alla Portuguese Symphonic) ma svela interessi quanto mai diversificati: dal dixieland al rock al jazz sperimentale.

Il chitarrista Mario Delgado è tra i nomi più in vista del jazz portoghese contemporaneo ed il suo quintetto Filactera è stato votato miglior gruppo del 2001. Il batterista Alexandre Frazao vive in Portogallo dal 1987 proveniente da Rio de Janeiro e mostra un drumming concitato e avvincente.

Ogni brano ha una sua caratterizzazione ed i contrasti sono spesso marcati: “Aleister Crowley” ad esempio inizia con un delicato tema folk caratterizzato dai cantabili fraseggi della chitarra acustica per esplodere in un finale da gruppo metal death. Due brani dopo troviamo una delicata versione di “Interplay” di Bill Evans, orchestrata con gusto ed intelligenza.

Un gruppo sicuramente interessante, che può dire qualcosa di nuovo.
http://italia.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=5724

Time Out Lisboa review by Jose Carlos Fernandes

TGB – Evil Things (CF 181)
****

A tuba, o metal mais pesado do instrumentário, tem tido, vá lá perceber-se porquê, pouca aplicação no heavy metal e correntes similares, dominadas por guitarras em forma de V ou tridente. O segundo disco dos TGB corrige este desacerto – resta esperar que sirva de exemplo e que os Slipknot e os Metallica admitam o corpulento aerofone nas suas fileiras.

O amor dos TGB pelo rock pesado já se percebera no seu disco de estreia, que inclui “Black Dog”, dos Led Zeppelin. Em Evil Things revisitam-se, em registo irónico, outros decanos do género: Black Sabbath (o psicadélico e ronceiro “Planet Caravan”) e Deep Purple (“The Mule”). Mas não se ficam por aqui as incursões metálicas: “Nameloc” inclui uma paródia ao circo testosterónico do metal e “Aleister Crowley” incorpora os urros guturais de Paulo Ramos – e aqui a piada torna-se desnecessariamente explícita e longa. Além do grande virtuosismo (ninguém sabe do que uma tuba é capaz enquanto não ouvir Sérgio Carolino) e sentido de humor, outra das qualidades dos TGB é o ecletismo – e assim os momentos de sangue & tripas e as inquietações de filme de terror (“The Weird Clown”) convivem com o plácido “Interplay”, de Bill Evans, com planícies ondulantes de folk-country ambiental (com Delgado em guitarra acústica e dobro) e até com chocarreiras danças sul-americanas, a evocar Tom Waits e Marc Ribot (“Close Your Eyes”).

Não há, pois, razão para chamar um exorcista: os TGB estão possuídos, sim, mas pelo espírito da irreverência e da irrisão.

Jazz prospecting by Tom Hull

TGB – Evil Things (CF 181)
Portuguese trio: Sérgio Carolino (tuba), Mário Delgado (guitar), Alexandre Frazão (drums). Delgado wrote six pieces, Frazão three; one is a group improv, and four more are from others — only one my eyes can make out is Bill Evans. Rather scattered, as you might expect given how they juxtapose originals named for “George Harrison” and “Aleister Crowley” — the latter may be the one that sounds like slightly bent Black Sabbath. The tango/soundtrack-ish “Close Your Eyes” is a choice cut, and the high-speed tuba bebop solo on “Tangram” is a hoot, but there’s too much evil for my taste; suggest they lighten up and call their next one Mischievous Things. B+(*)

Angles: Epileptical West: Live in Coimbra (CF 182)
Sextet, haven’t tracked every member down but safe to say Scandinavian. Leader is Swedish alto saxophonist Martin Küchen, b. 1966, nothing under his own name but also works in Exploding Customer (which has scored a couple of HMs here), Trespass Trio, and Sound of Mucus. Second album for group, with Magnus Broo (trumpet), Mats Älekint (trombone), Mattias Ståhl (vibes), Johan Berthling (bass), and Kjell Nordeson (drums). Big beat, roiling horns, scattered tinkles from the vibes, loud and propulsive. Makes me smile all over. A-

Kris Davis/Ingrid Laubrock/Tyshawn Sorey – Paradoxical Frog (CF 183)
Not familiar with Laubrock, although she also appears on the Tom Rainey record still awaiting my attention. Tenor saxophonist, b. 1970 in Germany, based in London and/or Brooklyn; five albums since 1997 by most counts, which file this one under Davis, a pianist from Canada who specializes in fast and furious saxophonists — Rye Eclipse with Tony Malaby is my top recommendation. Sorey is a drummer, plays in Fieldwork and has a couple albums on his own that are more focused on his composition than his percussion. This should click in interesting ways, but Laubrock isn’t that fleet and that seems to slow down the others. Also a queer stretch of silence (or very low volume) creates a false ending — not sure what’s going on there. B+(*)

Tom Rainey Trio – Pool School (CF 185)
 Album says this was recorded “on September 4th, 2010” — I assume that’s a typo for 2009. Rainey is a drummer who’s made a big impression, especially in Tim Berne’s groups. Has a long credits list going back to 1987, but this is the first album under his own name. Gets all the composition credits, too. Trio includes Ingrid Laubrock on tenor and soprano sax and Mary Halvorson on guitar. Both tend to wobble here, which is sort of an art form for Halvorson, harder to speculate on with Laubrock. Free playing, takes a lot of attention, doesn’t give much back, even from the drummer. B+(*)
http://tomhull.com/blog/archives/1434-guid.html

Gapplegate Music review by Grego Edwards

Bernardo Sassetti and his “Motion” Recording

Bernardo Sassetti Trio – Motion (CF 177)
As I auditioned Bernardo Sassetti’s new album Motion (Clean Feed 177) I caught myself thinking, “Some artists are so subtle, you actually have to listen to them.” Then I thought, “What are you nuts? All artists must be listened to!” But, face it, some music is so predictable it almost listens to itself. You set your ears to the coarse grained sample mode. You pop the mental sampler on and register, “OK, there’s a bop lick. . . yes, walking bass. . . .ding ding da-ding on the cymbals.”

I had a heavy blues listening phase when I was young, and then went on for a while to other musics. Looking back at that time a little later I first thought that emotionally and mentally I needed something completely redundant and predictable because of all the change I experienced in my life in those days. Later, when I returned to the blues and kept it in the things I actively listened to again, I didn’t feel that way anymore and by then I tried to listen to that and any other music at hand with the mental sample mode as fine tuned to “continuous” as possible in the world we are in today.

Clifford Geertz once complained that he could no longer entertain only one thought because the telephone would ring and. . . there would then be two thoughts. Nowdays having only the telephone as interrupter and only two thoughts seem charmingly quaint. There are literally hundreds of potential interruptions from computer internet activities and such. Multi-tasking is common and almost impossible to get away from. But still the idea that music must be heard continuously to be appreciated remains completely true.

So then back to Bernardo Sassetti’s trio and their new album. Redundancy is very little in evidence. This is a pianist who takes Evans and Jarrett as stepping stones but then actually goes beyond those influences to be himself. And that self is richly lyrical, harmonically sophisticated, melodically profound, and not inclined toward repetition in any sense. His bandmates Carlos Barretto and Alexandre Frazao, bass and drums, hold tightly to the almost sacred eminence coming out of Sassetti’s piano. They hold tight to what he does and really complement it.

There are strings of lusciously subtle ballads here, as well as some rock inflected or Latin inflected numbers, and some brief free type sojourns, even use of some “found sounds” electro-acoustically at one point. Everything is rather remarkable. It’s so subtle and sophisticated that you cannot ignore it because you just won’t get anything out of it at that level. Listen or just don’t bother. If you do listen, you’ll be in for one of the nicest and most original of the tonal piano trios out there. We reach levels of sublimity perhaps only the piano trio is capable of attaining. It’s extraordinarily intimate, extraordinarily inventive. Extraordinary. I mean that.
http://gapplegatemusicreview.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2010-06-29T04%3A56%3A00-07%3A00&max-results=7

All About Jazz review by Mark Corroto

Bernardo SassettiTrio – Motion (CF 177)
Quite often, when hearing compositions by pianist Bernardo Sassetti, it’s easy to mistake him for an American. His folksy charm has that Aaron Copland-meets-Bill Frisell kind of Americana. But no, this huge talent is Portugal’s own son.

He is back again in a trio setting with bassist Carlos Barretto and drummer Alexandre Frazão. The three recorded Sassetti’s critically acclaimed Nocturno (Clean Feed, 2001) and Ascent (Clean Feed, 2005). But Sassetti can also be heard in accordionist Wil Holshouser’s Palace Ghosts and Drunken Hymns (Clean Feed, 2010).

Maybe the Americana sound comes from Sassetti’s film work. A prolific film score producer, he includes music here from two films and a theater production.

With great interest in delicacy, and a passion for minimalism, the trio avoids grand gestures , playing with litotes and swinging by exaggerating the non-swinging aspects of each tune. Perhaps that is the pure authenticity of this trio’s expression.

Due to the inclusion of pieces from film and theater, changes in atmosphere shift the varying concepts. The trio plays with spinning a radio dial on several tracks, improvising off the airways a blues on “MW 108.7 Revival” and a sampled auction on the “Motion II” suite. There is a visual component to Sassetti’s music that makes for an enlightened listening experience.
http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=36949

Stash Dauber review by the Stash Dauber Part 2

A bunch more good jazz (or whatevah) records
Back to the Clean Feed stack…

Eric Boeren – Song for Tracy the Turtle Live at Jazz Brugge 2004 (CF 186)
Dutch cornetist Eric Boeren’s Song for Tracy the Turtle – Live at Jazz Brugge 2004 is a disc that fairly wallows in its Ornettitude, and that’s a good thing. You have to go back to Old and New Dreams to find a band as imbued with the spirit of the pre-Dancing In Your Head Coleman units as Boeren’s 4tet. Not only do they cover four, count ’em, _four_ classic-but-not-overdone O.C. compositions (“Mr. and Mrs. People,” “Free,” “Moon Inhabitants,” and “The Legend of Bebop”), they also essay Ornettish originals, replete with hummable, bluesy unison heads, like “A Fuzzphony” and “Soft Nose.” Boeren individuates most when he blows a muted horn, while Michael Moore shines on both alto and Eb clarinet. Departures include the amorphously open-ended title track (which kicks off the set), and the lovely laments “Memo” and “Memories of You” (the latter a Eubie Blake composition, of all things). I’ll also admit to being a sucker for CDs with pictures of turtles on the cover, especially when executed as exquisitely as Clean Feed’s sleeves always are.

TGB – Evil Things (CF 181)
Perhaps recent listens to Bob Stewart with Arthur Blythe’s ’70s “tuba band” put me in a receptive mood to hear Evil Things by TGB, a tuba-guitar-drums power trio (I do believe the acronym stands for the Portuguese spellings of the instruments’ names). On tuba, Sergio Carolino is an agile soloist; at times, listening to his rides is an experience akin to watching a portly man doing handsprings and cartwheels. Guitarist Mario Delgado is equally splendid on acoustic, electric, dobro, and fretless instruments (dig his taffy-pull long tones on the latter instrument on the curiously bluesy “George Harrison”). His range is represented by the material the trio covers, which ranges from proto-metal (Black Sabbath’s “Planet Caravan” and Deep Purple’s “The Mule,” which serves as a segue out of whirlwind drummer Alexandre Frazao’s solo on “Nameloc”) to country-jazz (Hank Garland’s vehicle “Close Your Eyes” starts out as a tango before erupting into surf-ska frenzy). The program runs the gamut from Gateway Trio-style exploration to Red-era King Crimson menace (there’s even a little grindcore Cookie Monster vocalismo from Paulo Ramos on “Aleister Crowley”). A stunning surprise.

Carlos Bica – Matéria Prima (CF 180)
Delgado’s also a key element on two bassplayer-led sessions. On Labirinto, Dave Hollandesque bassist-composer Carlos Barretto leads a trio, Lokomotiv, with the guitarist and drummer Jose Salgueiro. Delgado explores more tones and textures than the average guitar-slinger would think to in the course of a single session, reinforcing the impression of himself as a European Nels Cline, while the trio reminds you of everything you liked about fusion and ECM back in the ’70s. Leader Barretto’s arco work is particularly gorgeous. Carlos Bica’s Materia Prima opens with the surf-blues of “D.C.” — with a riff straight out of Jimi’s “Voodoo Chile” — before settling into a program of very stylish chamber jazz that includes covers of tunes by Marc Ribot (another discernable influence on Delgado) and Ry Cooder. Bica’s own compositions are moody, atmospheric soundscapes that evoke cinematic images, like John Zorn at his best.
http://stashdauber.blogspot.com/

Temporary Fault review by Massimo Ricci

The Continuing Saga Of Clean Feed
Selected picks from the ever-growing pile of recent and past releases from Clean Feed’s catalogue, with more to come in the next weeks.

BERNARDO SASSETTI TRIO – Motion (CF 177)
Bernardo Sassetti (piano), Carlos Barretto (bass), Alexander Frazão (drums). Classic Sassetti, you can’t go wrong with that. All but two compositions are by him, the opening and the closing tunes by, respectively, Linkous and Mompou. Some of the music was conceived for cinema and theatre, a specialization of this great artist. Difficult to remain confined in the ambit of critical reasoning when listening to the emotion-eliciting records that the Portuguese pianist delivers with impressive regularity. Emaciated linearity, melodic unambiguousness, memories now fading, now perfectly clear. A world of forgotten glories and smiling sadness, in which one breathes slowly while watching life unfold without a clue on how to change it. An indispensable interior geometry bathed in uniquely sober romanticism, never transcending to mellifluousness. Themes that recall a hundred influences yet always sound like deeply personal suggestions, which a open heart can take in and utilize for putting a finger on what looks unapproachable at first. Fluttering thoughts, sudden realizations, dissimulation of sorrow. A lesson on the essentials of introspective recollection, performed with uttermost class by three superb musicians.

CARLOS BICA + MATÉRIA-PRIMA – Carlos Bica + Matéria-Prima (CF 180)
Carlos Bica (double bass), Matthias Schriefl (trumpet, flugelhorn, melodica), João Paulo (piano, keyboards, accordion), Mário Delgado (electric guitar), João Lobo (drums, percussion). Ever since the very beginning – “D.C.”, namely almost ten minutes of a basic rock-blues vamp with rather ordinary playing from all members – your reviewer was awfully confounded, thinking of a sort of indecipherable homage to certain sonorities of the late 60s. It didn’t get any better: the whole album sounds as a collection of discarded soundtracks from 30-40 years ago, stuffed with easy-to-digest melodies, elementary arrangements, washed-out progressions, generally predictable solos. Everything extremely dated in a passionless exercise-like style: no emotion, no impulsiveness, nothing that managed to protract my curiosity for more than fifteen seconds. If there’s some irony disguised in this release, I really could not understand it. To this raconteur it is just desolately tiresome, veritably lacking a pulse, the lone exceptions being a nice enough track called “Roses For You” and the encore, an excellent cover of Ry Cooder’s “Paris, Texas”. Dulcis in fundo indeed – but the large quantity of preceding monotony is too much to overcome with that only.

AVRAM FEFER – Ritual (CF 145)
Avram Fefer (alto, tenor & soprano sax, bass clarinet), Eric Revis (bass), Chad Taylor (drums). The utter loathsomeness afflicting the stereotyped music played by a large chunk of trios is mostly forgotten in Ritual, not a revolution but a sincere, honest album for sure. An open minded group working halfway through cognizant dynamism and regulated liberation without forgetting the basics of classic jazz. Starting from straightforward elements such as an African rhythm, a rudimentary melodic figuration or a contemplative theme, the three become involved and almost tangled in zealous interpretations of a rather modern literature, upon which Fefer moves with a good degree of fervor, a desire of “letting people in” and the full consciousness of the space around his phrases, which he inhabits placidly enough, minus any kind of coercion towards the audience. Excellent work from Revis and Taylor, who challenge the commonly intended concept of foundation to add their own breakthroughs, thus contributing to elevate the overall intensity – and, ultimately, the interplay’s strength – to higher levels.

DENNIS GONZÁLEZ / JOÃO PAULO – Scapegrace (CF 144)
Duets for piano (Paulo) and Bb cornet plus C trumpet (González). I only see a minor problem in an otherwise perfectly fine CD, namely its unnecessarily stretched duration at over 72 minutes. In consideration of the homogeneity of such a kind of instrumental tête-à-tête, which more or less revolves around the same factors (especially on a timbral level), one could have kept the whole under 50’, thus avoiding the risk of experiencing a smidgen of weariness at the end with what’s instead admirably played music, often poetic, even mathematically challenging at times, always informed by the right balance between discerning insight and top-rank methodological mastery. The couple, as per González’ account in the liners, spent quality time at the pianist’s home on a hill that dominates Lisbon. This confidence is perceivable all the way through, the musicians reciprocally responding to invitations and implications with delicacy and acumen, ultimately letting us forget about mere (and cold) technical issues thanks to a clear ability in catching resonating essences from the very air that surrounds them.

LUIS LOPES / ADAM LANE / IGAL FONI – What Is When (CF 146)
Guitar, double bass and drums, following the artist’s names order. Lopes thinks intensely to Sonny Sharrock (the dedicatee of the initial track “Evolution Motive” together with Charles Darwin) but also winks to early John Scofield, jarring angularity and a substantial dose of edginess still prevailing on the mass-approved tolerability of a fusion-tinged bluesy style. He’s a rather abstemious soloist after all, paying special attention to the correct placement of notes, not exactly longing for the sanitization of his sullied tone, which is a good thing in terms of originality. Lane offers a great performance throughout, the foremost traits being an overdriven bark containing the multi-purpose password for an actual crossing of genres and a grimily involving, arco-generated drone particularly manifest in the nearly elegiac “Cerejeiras” and in the closing solo “Perched Upon An Electric Wire”. Israel’s Foni is a surprise, at least to this writer who met him here for the first time. Freely flowing yet adult, constantly conscious about the place to be at every juncture, present at the right moment to unchain the bolder handiwork. A responsive companion for Lopes and Lane’s swapping of blows, a propulsive activity that never deteriorates.
http://temporaryfault.blogspot.com/2010/05/continuing-saga-of-clean-feed.html