Tag Archives: Carlos Barretto

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.

All About Jazz Italy review by Vittorio Lo Conte

Carlos Barretto – Labirintos (CF 179)
Valutazione: 4 stelle
La casa discografica portoghese Clean Feed ha ormai acquisito un importante ruolo nella promozione della musica jazz d’avanguardia in Europa, affiancando alle incisioni di musicisti americani ed europeni anche numerosi titoli di musicisti lusitani. Nel caso di Labirintos si tratta del contrabbassista Carlos Barretto e del suo trio Lokomotiv. L’ultima loro incisione (con l’ospite speciale Francois Corneloup) si intitolava proprio Lokomotiv e risale al 2003. Per il nuovo lavoro hanno scelto di andare in studio soltanto come trio.
Si tratta quindi di un gruppo rodato, che negli hanni ha avuto modo di mettere a punto un proprio modo di fare musica, basato su un’intrpretazione “moderata” dell’avanguardia. Ma è chiaro che un trio in cui la chitarra ha un ruolo importante non potesse fare ricorso a qualche sonorità un po’ rock, mettendo insieme lirismo espressivo e momenti piú aggressivi, come si conviene a chi ha così ampie qualità tecniche. Anche il batterista ha un suo ruolo ben preciso, con ritmi spezzati che danno le direzioni più disparate, a sorprendere le aspettative di chi si introduce nei labirinti cui fa riferimento il titolo.

È tuttavvia la loro coerenza, frutto della lunga frequentazione, fa sì che il disco si presenti molto preciso, intenso, abile a creare persorsi inestricabili ed a trovarne la via di uscita divertendo e divertendosi a sua volta.

Time Out Lisboa review by Jose Carlos Fernandes

Carlos Barretto – Labirintos (Clean Feed)

Com os constrangimentos orçamentais a congelar por tempo indeterminado as ligações por TGV Porto-Vigo e Porto-Lisboa e com muitas linhas convencionais em estado comatoso, o futuro da ferrovia nacional está nas mãos de Lokomotiv, o trio liderado pelo contrabaixista Carlos Barretto.

O grupo tinha um desafio sério para resolver: as expectativas criadas pelos dois discos anteriores, Radio Song (2002) e Lokomotiv (2003), eram muito altas. Para mais, poderia atribuir-se parte do mérito destes notáveis registos à participação de dois “colossos” do jazz moderno: o clarinetista Louis Sclavis em Radio Song e o saxofonista barítono François Cornneloup em Lokomotiv.

Em Labirintos o trio apresenta-se sem reforços, mas não se sente a falta de ninguém. A guitarra de Mário Delgado está cada vez mais inventiva e ousada, a bateria de José Salgueiro alia solidez e versatilidade, Barretto ganhou desenvoltura nos solos e no uso do arco, mostrando que o trio aproveitou bem os sete anos transcorridos desde o último registo.

Em “Triklo Five” o contrabaixo e a bateria urdem um groove poderoso e saltitante, sobre o qual Mário Delgado, em registo cyborg, constrói um solo electrizante. Após um introspectivo interlúdio para contrabaixo solo (“Não sei quê”), a energia e os pedais de efeitos de Delgado voltam a impôr-se no tema-título, que deve muito mais aos King Crimson do que a Coleman Hawkins. As influências do rock progressivo e do jazz-rock dominam ainda “Tutti per Capita” e “Makambira”, esta última com Delgado a pincelar o fundo com efeitos atmosféricos que evocam Robert Fripp.

Os fãs do soft jazz poderão reclamar das sacudidelas e dos arranques bruscos, mas não há como negá-lo: o jazz dá o melhor de si quando sai dos carris.

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.

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.

Gapplegate guitar and bass blog review by Grego Edwards

A New One From Carlos Barretto Lokomotiv

Carlos Barretto Lokomotiv – Labirintos (CF 179)
The Carlos Barretto Lokomotiv is a modern-day Portuguese equivalent of the old Gateway Trio, meaning that the music is ambient, electric, freely played, with a rock component and plenty of improvising. Their new album Labirintos (Clean Feed 179) showcases their music with recorded brilliance and it engages from beginning to end. The compositional vehicles are solid and interesting, all penned by Mr. Barretto, with the exception of one collective improvisation. They help create the mood and tone of the set, which is forward moving and gutsy or, alternately, more reflective and seeking a sheer sensuality of tone.

Carlos plays a very nimble and tasteful acoustic bass and heads the outfit. He is one that can bow with grace and good tone and his pizzicato solos are right on the money. Mario Delgado plays in a modern sounding electric guitar style, with good use of space and the ability to make musical statements that bear up under continual listening. He can rock or string together a solo of a freer-er sort without recourse to cliches. Drummer Jose Salgueiro swings, rocks and freetimes his way through the set with sophistication as well as push.

Here is yet another example of a very good group on the Portuguese scene. Thanks in great part to Clean Feed, we get a gradually unfolding picture of a musical center, not in any way a backwater, but rather a home for a vital group of improvisers. And Lokomotiv is right up there with the best of them.

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 (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.

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.

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.

Burning Ambulance by Phil Freeman

This disc, by the long-standing trio of bassist Carlos Barretto (who’ll show up again toward the end of the month), guitarist Mario Delgado and drummer Jose Salgueiro, bridges the gap between jazz and rock in a way that others—John McLaughlin, Sonny Sharrock, Nels Cline, Raoul Björkenheim—have done before, but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable. Clean Feed has put out two other albums by this band, Lokomotiv in 2004 and Radio Song in 2007 (the latter a reissue of a 2002 disc). On each of those, a guest was present—on Lokomotiv, it was baritone saxophonist François Corneloup, and on Radio Song it was Louis Sclavis on clarinet, bass clarinet and soprano saxophone. This time out, though, the trio stands on its own, with terrific results.

The album starts slowly, “Salada 2” drifting along in a way that reminds me of Bill Frisell, particularly his work with the Ginger Baker Trio (which featured the rock legend on drums and Charlie Haden on bass). Delgado’s guitar playing is extremely pedal- and electronics-dependent; Joe Morris-style cleanliness is not for him. Salgueiro is a hard-hitting, rock-style drummer who can be extraordinarily subtle when he feels like it, but he frequently doesn’t. These two dominate on the title track, a scorching, distortion-drenched outburst. Barretto, on the other hand, is a sensitive upright bassist whose bowing and plucking are more chamber jazz than metallic fusion. When he takes a bowed solo on “Asterion 5,” mirroring the one that opens the disc, Labirintos becomes a whole different record. “Tuttie per Capita” is a very beautiful, conventionally swinging track with only a hint of weirdness in the guitar, and Salgueiro restrains himself admirably, dancing on the hi-hat and cymbals and giving Barretto plenty of room, which the bassist makes the most of.

Many tracks split the difference between beauty and noise. “Makimbira” shifts back and forth between delicate interplay and a fuzzed-out main riff played over martial snare work. Barretto sounds like he’s playing through a pedal himself on this piece—the bass is practically a subsonic rumble, something from a hip-hop track. Toward the midpoint, Delgado takes a solo that in its high-pitched, staticky buzzing reminds me of McLaughlin’s work on Miles Davis’s “Go Ahead John,” minus the speaker-switching effect. The album’s final track, “Terra de Ninguem,” brings the disc to a gentle close, with Delgado’s guitar work coming off reminiscent of Frank Zappa, of all people, while Barretto and Salgueiro set up a spiritual, droning rhythm bed not unlike John Coltrane’s Village Vanguard band from 1961. Unlike the rest of the album, “Terra de Ninguem” is live, and the applause at its conclusion is fitting tribute to everything on this excellent record.

To sum up:

1. Do I foresee myself listening to this record again? Yes.

2. Should you buy this record? Yes.

Free Jazz review by Stef

Bernardo Sassetti Trio – Motion (CF 177)
As the title suggests, “Motion” consists of pieces written for a variety of movies. The trio is Bernardo Sassetti  on piano, Carlos Barretto on bass, and Alexandre Frazao on drums. The fourteen mostly short pieces shift between jazzy impressionism, classical music, and then some totally out of place tracks like “MW 104.5 Bicubic”, and “Bird & Beyond”, which are full of power and adventure. Depending on your mood, this is a nice and accessible album. 

Jazz 6/6 review by Raul Vaz Bernardo

Bernardo Sassetti Trio – Motion (CF 177)
O pianista Bernardo Sassetti é um artista completo. Não apenas um pianista, muito menos aquilo a que se convencionou designar por um pianista de jazz. É verdade que Sassetti começou pelo jazz, mas, hoje em dia é um músico que não quer espartilhar-se nessa etiqueta. Também é um artista que se revê em muitas outras artes para além da música. Parece que o último concerto de Sassetti, a que feliz ou infelizmente não assisti, foi um espectáculo multimédia, com recurso a processos doutras artes. Na presença do CD o que é que me resta? Tentar embrenhar-me no sonho de Sassetti embalado apenas pelas notas da música, sem recurso a outros atractivos sensoriais. E, nesse estrito campo, a obra não me deixa muito satisfeito. Falta-lhe o dinamismo que os viciados de jazz esperam, vive-se muito o efeito contemplativo do piano tão de moda. Efeitos que, hoje em dia, um Jarrett recusa, ainda que adoptados por outro génio do piano, Mehldau. Em ‘Bird and Beyond’ surge, aos meus ouvidos, uma clara recusa de Sassetti e seus músicos de evitar um “groove” jazz. A obra finda-se com um belo tema de Frederico Mompou com a intercepção do belo bolero ‘Historia de un Amor’.