Tag Archives: Chris Speed

Le Son du Grisli review by Luc Bouquet

CF 275Lama + Chris Speed – Lamaçal (CF 275)
Les formes ne sont pas audacieuses. En un sens, pas du tout révolutionnaires. Mais qui vise la Révolution aujourd’hui ? Ce sont des formes utilisées, rabâchées depuis des lustres. Des formes qui font s’enchevêtrer les souffles (ici trompette et clarinette). Des formes qui ne rejettent pas le chorus spacieux du contrebassiste (Moby Dick). Des formes qui rappellent l’harmolodie d’un certain Ornette C (Pair of Dice). Des formes qui jouent avec les fantômes et les electronics (Overture for a Wandering Fish, Manta). Des formes d’hier et dont les lendemains ne sont pourtant jamais cloisonnés.

Ici, Lama ne jette pas ses bases aux orties mais, au contraire, en parcourt la substance sans se départir d’une fougue jubilatoire. Il y a de la fraîcheur chez nos amis lusitaniens, un souci d’explorer plus que de convaincre. Et si on peut préférer leur premier enregistrement, Oneiros, Susana Santos Silva (une vraie présence), Gonçalo Almeida, Greg Smith et Chris Speed, l’invité, réussissent à nous faire oublier ces « modernes » combos dont le copier-coller commence à nous saturer les oreilles.

English translation:
“The forms are not bold. In a sense, it’s not revolutionary. But what is revolutionary today? These hackneyed forms have been used for ages. Forms that are tangled breaths (here trumpet and clarinet). Forms that do not reject the spacious chorus of the bassist (Moby Dick). Shapes reminiscent of a certain harmolodious Ornette C (Pair of Dice). Forms that play with ghosts and electronics (Overture for a Wandering Fish, Manta). Forms of yesterday and whose tomorrows are not partitioned yet.
Here Lama does not throw the basics out the window, but on the contrary, the substance travels the length (of the recording) while still maintaining a jubilant enthusiasm. There is freshness in our Lusitanian friends, a desire to explore more than to be convincing. And if you can prefer their first recording, Oneiros, Susana Santos Silva (real presence), Gonçalo Almeida, Greg Smith and guest Chris Speed are able to make us forget these “modern” combos whose copy-pasting saturates the ears.”


Jazz Magazine reviews by Stéphane Ollivier


All About Jazz review by Henning Bolte

CF 275Lama + Chris Speed – Lamacal (CF 275)
Lama is a young Portuguese/Canadian trio with a firm foothold in both Rotterdam and Porto. Lama is trumpeter Susana Santos Silva, double bassist Gonçalo Almeida  and drummer Greg Smith. Lamaçal, Lama’s second album on Clean Feed, was recorded live during the Portalegre Jazz Fest in 2012, and features well known clarinetist/saxophonist Chris Speed as a guest. Santos Silva, Almeida and Smith are remarkable musical characters who have something to tell and who have also succeeded in establishing a strong group identity. The trio has at its disposal a wide range of techniques and approaches well absorbed from the jazz tradition, all of which are exploited creatively in service of their imaginations. As on their first album Oneiros (2011), they created a fascinating sound- universe all their own. The collaboration with Speed is just a natural consequence of this.

Whether it be an Ornette Coleman informed piece such as “Pair Of Dice” or the funeral march atmosphere of “Manta”; the continued rolling generated from the title piece or the whale song of “Moby Dick”; the beautiful melody of the Bolero-like repetitive bass motif of “Anemona” or the handsome hand-drumming of “Cachalote” (sperm whale)—all are impressive and convincing as a colorful oceanic whole. The sea-as-habitat plays a prominent role throughout, and the spirit of Coleman permeates all the pieces. It is most apparent in “Pair Of Dice,” which inherits the qualities of Coleman’s “Una Muy Bonita,” from 1960’s Change Of The Century (Atlantic). Santos Silva’s phrasing has something of Don Cherry’s intrepid momentum. Her interplay with Speed is rich, sophisticated and full of productive tension.

It is the quality, especially of the transitions—between songs and within the compositions themselves—that makes the album special. An important part of it are the passages in which a single instrument deepens the piece, pushes forward into new areas, and opens up new horizons to continue, which constitutes a distinctive difference from classic jazz solos. At Lama’s core is an engaging combination of roughness and melody, audacious and challenging line drawing, and a special unity of the pleasure of playing and deep concentration.

Santos Silva plays everything for which a trumpet is made. Almeida has a wonderfully vibrant bass sound and expands this in a special way by subtly infusing electronics. Smith, firm and flexible as well as rapidly reacting, has everything at hand and knows to use it aptly and at the right moment. Together, their playing remains amazingly grounded all throughout, while constantly new perspectives are being opened, urged, persevered, and shifted. Whatever happens, the excitement of listening continues. Ultimately the group manages what many others try most to achieve: creating appealing fantasy worlds that spark the imagination and could serve as salvation in the vast ocean of reality. The music evokes associations with Josef Nadj, Vasily Kandinsky, Manoel de Oliveira, and Robert Wilson , and there is a parallel appealing pictoral expression on the cover of the album—one of the nicest seen so far this year.

And then, to realize that this is all shaped out of mud. “Lama” means “mud” in Portuguese; guts and self-confidence are clearly required to take that as a starting point. The album title, Lamaçal, meaning “sludge” or “”silt,” goes a step further still. Sea, tides, swell, sludge, creation; Santos Silva, Almeida, Smith and Speed delve into the remarkable, and mould it into fascinating, provocative shapes.

All About Jazz Italy review by Vincenzo Roggero

CF 275Lama + Chris Speed – Lamaçal (CF 275)
Valutazione: 3.5 stelle
Dopo lo scintillante debutto di Oneiros, il trio lusitano-canadese denominato Lama e capitanato dal bassista Gonçalo Almeida, dà alla stampe l’opera seconda invitando per l’occasione il quotato clarinettista/sassofonista Chris Speed. Registrato durante la decima edizione del Portalegre Jazz Festival, Lamaçal pur conservando alcune delle caratteristiche presenti nell’album di debutto – su tutte una convincente liaison dangereuse tra melodia, elettronica ed improvvisazione – effettua una decisa virata stilistica.

A cominciare dalla scrittura che allarga le proprie maglie, crea spazi, sfuma i contorni e alimenta una sorta di climax cameristico vicino a certi lavori del Claudia Quintet, formazione nella quale milita, non a caso, proprio Chris Speed.

La forma canzone, seppur non convenzionale, dell’album precedente lascia il posto ad una ricerca che va nella direzione di ardite combinazioni timbriche, di una organizzazione del suono costruita su labili segni, di una esecuzione dai toni astratti, talvolta onirici.

Fa eccezione “Pair of Dice,” brano dai chiari riferimenti ornettiani nella quale il quartetto manifesta l’indole più schiettamente jazzistica. Nel complesso Lamaçal si rivela disco sofisticato, dal linguaggio a tratti cerebrale, con in nuce interessanti sviluppi futuri.

English translation:
“After the sparkling debut Oneiros , the Lusitanian-Canadian trio called Lama and led by bassist Gonçalo Almeida, gives the second film prints for the occasion by inviting the quoted clarinetist / saxophonist Chris Speed.
Recorded during the tenth edition of Portalegre Jazz Festival, Lamaçal while retaining some of the features found on the debut album – all on a convincing dangerous liaison between melody, electronics and improvisation – makes a sharp turn style.
Beginning with the writing that broadens their links, creates spaces, blurs the outlines and feeds a kind of climax chamber near certain works of Claudia Quintet, in which formation plays, not surprisingly, Chris Speed.
The song form, albeit unconventional, from the previous album gives way to a research that goes in the direction of bold combinations of timbre of a sound organization built on fleeting signs of a performance-toned abstract, sometimes dreamlike.
The exception is “Pair of Dice,” song by clear references ornettiani in which the quartet shows a more purely jazz character. Overall Lamaçal reveals itself as sophisticated disc, the language at times cerebral, in a nutshell with interesting future developments.”

Jazz.pt review by António Branco

CF 275Lama & Chris Speed – Lamaçal (CF 275)
Rating: 4/5
A síndrome do segundo disco é um problema que, sabemo-lo, afeta muitos projetos. Criadas expetativas na estreia, as mesmas, tantas vezes, não conhecem continuidade, ditando o esquecimento. O inverso acontece, porém, com o trio – baseado em Roterdão – formado pelos portugueses Susana Santos Silva e Gonçalo Almeida e pelo canadiano Greg Smith. Aliados ao experiente saxofonista e clarinetista norte-americano Chris Speed, não só confirmam como ampliam neste segundo registo as virtudes expostas na estreia, há dois anos, com o excelente “Oneiros”.

“Lamaçal” concretiza uma parceria que se revela muito conseguida e com a qual, de facto, a formação expande consideravelmente o espetro de soluções disponíveis, dando notáveis passos em frente.   Gravado ao vivo na 10.ª edição do Portalegre Jazz Fest, em 2012, o novo disco volta a revelar movimentações de miscigenação entre elementos de vários domínios das músicas criativas, apostando como elemento essencial das suas construções sonoras numa criteriosa utilização de “loops” e efeitos eletrónicos, que se fundem de forma natural e inteligente com os instrumentos acústicos.   Apesar de Gonçalo Almeida se assumir como principal compositor, todos os restantes músicos também assinam peças concetualmente dominadas pelo imaginário ligado ao mar e a idiossincráticas criaturas que nele habitam (a exceção será o festivo “Pair of Dice”, original de Speed).

“Overture for A Wandering Fish” (da autoria da trompetista) abre em tom solene, escutando-se ruminações vindas das profundezas, seja via sopros ou contrabaixo processado. A peça que dá título ao disco exibe vivos diálogos entre o trompete e o clarinete (depois saxofone tenor), assentes na efervescência controlada da secção rítmica.

Introduzida por sons que evocam os emitidos pelos cetáceos (linguagem estruturada que o Homem praticamente desconhece), a bela melodia de “Moby Dick” revisita a personagem central do revolucionário romance de Herman Melville, com Almeida desenvolvendo graciosas figuras e Smith laborando com minúcia.

“Cachalote”, de Smith, é introduzida por este, seguindo-se uma altiva intervenção de Speed em tenor, que desemboca em vigorosos uníssonos. O tom enérgico desvanece-se e tudo termina serenamente. “Anémona” constrói-se em torno de um belo ostinato de contrabaixo e a melodia hipnotizante de “Manta” transporta o ouvinte para a tranquilidade silenciosa dos fundos abissais.

Uma excelente proposta que reforça o superlativo interesse deste projeto.

Written in Music review by Henning Bolte

CF 275Lama – Lamaçal (CF 275)
Rating: 4.5
Lama, trompet, contrabass, drums, is een jong Portugees-Canadees trio met een stevige poot in Rotterdam en in Porto. Lama, dat zijn Susana Santos Silva, Gonçalo Almeida en Greg Smith. Op Lamaçal, hun tweede album op Clean Feed, live tijdens het Portalegre Jazzfest opgenomen, is het trio uitgebreid met klarinettist/saxofonist Chris Speed als gast. Lama bestaat uit drie jonge musici die er boven uit steken, op een bijzondere manier te werk gaan, iets boeiends te vertellen hebben en een sterke groepsidentiteit uitstralen. Op een souvereine wijze hanteren ze een breed arsenaal aan goed geabsorbeerde technieken en benaderingen uit de jazztraditie, weten deze volledig in dienst van hun eigen verbeelding te stellen en creëren – net als op hun eerste album Oneiros – een fascinerend geluid. De samenwerking met Chris Speed ligt in het voor de hand liggende verlengte daarvan.   Of het nou een Ornettish stuk is als Pair Of Dice of een stuk in treurmars-sfeer als Manta, het opgewekte voortwalsen van het titelstuk Lamaçal, de walviszang van Moby Dick, de schone melodie over een Bolero-achtig repeterend bas-motief van Anémona of de fraaie handrumming van Cachalote (potvis) – het overtuigt allemaal en vormt een kleurrijk oceanisch geheel. De zee als leefwereld speelt een prominente rol in alle stukken en de geest van Ornette waait door alle stukken. Het sterkst zoals al eerder gezegd in Pair Of Dice dat alle kwaliteiten van Ornettes Una Muy Bonita (1960, Change Of The Century) in zich heeft. En Santos Silva heeft in haar frasering onmiskenbaar iets van het onbevreesde momentum van Don Cherry. Haar samenspel met Chris Speed is rijk, sophisticated en vol productieve spanning.   De bijzondere kwaliteit van Lamas muziek zit hem vooral in de overgangen tussen de stukken en binnen de stukken: fantasievol, verleidelijk en spannend. Een belangrijk onderdeel daarvan zijn de passages waarin één instrument het alleen voor zijn rekening neemt, het stuk uitdiept of een ander terrein in voert. Anders dan klassieke jazz-solos dus. Lama’s kern: een innemende combinatie van rauwheid, melodie en koen trekken van uitdagende lijnen, de manier waarop speelplezier en concentratie samenkomen.   Santos Silva speelt alles waar een trompet voor gemaakt is, Almeida heeft een gaaf vibrerende basklank en breidt zijn geluid op een bijzondere manier met subtiel inwerkende electronica uit. Smith, steeds firm, flexibel en snel agerend, heeft alles op het juiste moment letterlijk bij de hand zonder ook maar een moment te showen. Alles wat deze vier musici hier spelen, blijft aldoor verbazingwekkend grounded terwijl ze tegelijk alle vier constant nieuwe perspectieven openen, doorzetten en aan het verschuiven zijn. De fascinatie van het luisteren blijft. Hun lukt blijkbaar wat veel anderen slechts proberen: het creëren van fantasiewerelden die mensen aanspreken, fantasiewerelden die tot onze verbeelding spreken en onze redding in de zee van de werkelijkheid kan worden. Doet o.a. aan Josef Nadj, Wassili Kandinsky, Manoel de Oliveira en Robert Wilson denken. De fraaie album-cover – voor mij de mooiste die ik tot nu toe dit jaar ben tegengekomen – verbeeld dit sprekend.   En dan beseffen dat dit alles zich uit modder vormt. Lama, dat is ‘modder’ in het Portugees. Je moet enige lef en het nodige zelfbewustzijn hebben om dat als groep als uitgangspunt te nemen en je zelfs zo te noemen! De albumtitel Lamaçal, slib, gaat zelfs nog een stuk verder. Zee, getijden, deining, slib, creatie …. Santos Silva, Goncales en Smith hebben er iets boeiends uitgehaald en het prikkelend vorm gegeven!

Musica Jazz reviews by Civelli

TIM BERNE – Insomnia (CF 215)



TIM BERNE / Bruno Chevillon – Old And Unwise (CF 221)
Corrono quasi quattordici anni tra la registrazione di «Insomnia» e la sua pubblicazione. Berne vi riunisce una compagine di prim’ordine e il risul-tato sono due lunghi brani a media velocità di circa mezz’ora ciascuno,lungo i quali si alternano configura-zioni strumentali differenti. Danno bella prova di sé un misurato Black e la chitarra acustica a dodici corde (e anticonvenzionale) di Ducret in apertura di Open, Coma, la cui l’intensità si mantiene più costanterispetto a The Proposal. «Old And Unwise» è invece unospasso per chi ama la formuladel duo. A seconda dei brani, tutti architettati secondo logiche a séstanti, Berne e Chevillon (che firmail disco da contitolare) sono spinti a contrastarsi o assecondarsi: a fineascolto si ha la netta sensazioneche ogni area degli strumenti sia stata esplorata. Raccomandato.