Tag Archives: Fala Mariam

Jazz.pt Best of 2014 list by Critics Poll

Os melhores de 2014

Mais um ano de crise, mais demonstrações de criatividade. Eis o balanço feito pela equipa da jazz.pt dos 12 meses que passaram, com os melhores entre os melhores e as listas individuais de quem escreve esta revista. Conclusão principal: no que à música nacional diz respeito, a colheita de 2014 foi de especial qualidade.

Melhores discos internacionais
CF306 CF302 CF301

Joe Morris Quartet: “Balance” (Clean Feed)
Vijay Iyer: “Mutations” (ECM)
Keith Jarrett / Charlie Haden: “Last Dance” (ECM)
Wadada Leo Smith: “The Great Lakes Suites” (TUM)
1982: “A/B” (Hubro)
Gorilla Mask: “Bite My Blues” (Clean Feed)
Fire! Orchestra: “Enter!” (Rune Grammofon)
The Bad Plus: “Inevitable Western” (Okeh)
Marc Ribot Trio: “Live at The Village Vanguard” (Pi)
Nigel Coombes / Steve Beresford: “White String’s Attached” (Emanem)
Steve Lehman Octet: “Mise en Abîme” (Pi)
Pharoah & The Underground: “Spiral Mercury” (Clean Feed)
Daunik Lazro / Benjamin Duboc / Didier Lasserre: “Sens Radiants” (Dark Tree Records)

Melhores discos nacionais
CF295 CF297 CF312CD

Rodrigo Amado Motion Trio & Peter Evans: “The Freedom Principle” (NoBusiness)
Sei Miguel: “Salvation Modes” (Clean Feed)
Luís Vicente / Rodrigo Pinheiro / Hernâni Faustino / Marco Franco: “Clocks & Clouds” (FMR)
Nate Wooley / Hugo Antunes / Chris Corsano: “Malus” (NoBusiness)
Rodrigo Amado: “Wire Quartet” (Clean Feed)
João Guimarães: “Zero” (TOAP)
João Lencastre’s Communion: “What is This All About?” (Auand)
João Hasselberg: “Truth Has to Be Given in Riddles” (Ed. de Autor)
Coreto: “Mergulho” (Carimbo Porta-Jazz)
Bande à Part: “Caixa-Prego” (Creative Sources)
Joel Silva: “Geyser” (Sintoma Records)
Vicente/Marjamaki: “Opacity” (JACC Records)
Luís Lopes Lisbon-Berlin Trio: “The Line” (Clean Feed)
Fail Better!: “Zero Sum” (JACC Records)


Free Jazz Best of 2014

Albums of the Year – 2014
So another year and another 1500 albums considered for review (and that’s just the ones we actually added to the list!). Taking a quick look back: this year Julian, Matthew, Chris, Ed, Antonio, Stefan, Josh, and Hugo joined the review team and we recently welcomed Eyal and Alfonso – you’ll be seeing more of them soon. 2014 also saw Martin Schray bringing the Free Jazz Blog to the air on SWR2, public radio in southern Germany. His next show is on the 9th of January (stay tuned for more info on that!). Finally, thanks to all of you, we’re seeing upwards of 75,000 page views a month and have a growing subscriber base … all we can (and should) say is thank you everyone and keep listening!

And now here it is … our hotly anticipated top ten list of albums of the year, tallied and calculated from the collective’s personal top 10 album choices (listed below):

The Free Jazz Collective Top-10 albums of 2014

1.Steve Lehman Octet – Mise en Abîme
2.Akira Sakata, Johan Berthling, Paal Nilssen-Love – Arashi
3.Jemeel Moondoc – The Zookeeper’s House
4.Angles 9 – Injuries (CF 303)
5.Audio One – An International Report
6.Farmers By Nature – Love and Ghosts
7.Ken Vandermark/Paal Nilssen-Love Duo – Lightning Over Water
8.Marc Ribot Trio – Live at the Village Vanguard
9.Wadada Leo Smith – The Great Lakes Suites
10.Jeremiah Cymerman – Pale Horse / Lotte Anker & Jakob Riis – Squid Police

Troy Dostert
CF 292

1.Steve Lehman Octet, Mise en Abîme
2.Marty Ehrlich Large Ensemble – Trumpet in the Morning
3.Franco D’Andrea Sextet – Monk and the Time Machine
4.Kris Davis Trio – Waiting for You to Grow (CF 292)
5.Ivo Perelman – The Other Edge
6.Ken Vandermark/Paal Nilssen-Love Duo – Lightning Over Water
7.Peter Van Huffel – Boom Crane
8.Angles 9 – Injuries
9.Max Johnson – Invisible Trio
10.Audio One – An International Report

Julian Eidenberger

1.Akira Sakata, Johan Berthling, Paal Nilssen-Love – Arashi
2.Kyle Bruckmann’s Wrack – … Awaits Silent Tristero’s Empire
3.Steve Lehman Octet – Mise en Abîme
4.Anthony Braxton, Tom Rainey, Tomas Fujiwara – Trio New Haven 2013
5.Audio One – An International Report
6.Many Arms with Colin Fisher – Suspended Definition
7.Lean Left – Live at Area Sismica
8.Joe Morris Quartet – Balance (CF 306)
9.Yoni Kretzmer, Pascal Niggenkemper, Weasel Walter – Protest Music
10.Wadada Leo Smith, Jamie Saft, Joe Morris, Balázs Pándi – Red Hill

Matthew Grigg
CF300LPSHH 010
1.Pharoah & the Underground – Spiral Mercury/Primative Jupiter (CF 300)
2.Audio One – An International Report/The Midwest School
3.Nicole Mitchell’s Black Earth Ensemble – Xenogenesis II: Intergalactic Beings
4.Nate Wooley, Hugo Antunes, Chris Corsano – Malus
5.Thurston Moore, Gabriel Ferrandini, Pedro Sousa – Live at ZDB (SHH 010)
6.Peter Evans Quintet – Destination:Void
7.Broetzmann, Adasiewicz, Edwards, Noble – Mental Shake
8.Roscoe Mitchell/Mike Reed – In Pursuit of Magic
9.Jason Ajemain, Tony Malaby, Rob Mazurek, Chad Taylor – A Way A Land of Life
10.Marc Ribot Trio – Live at the Village Vanguard

Chris Haines
CF306CF295  CF2941.Joe Morris Quartet – Balance (CF 306)
2.Sei Miguel – Salvation Modes (CF 295)
3.Eric Revis – In Memory of Things Yet Seen (CF 294)
4.Jakob Thorkild Trio – Art Sleaze
5.Tisziji Munoz – Star Worlds
6.Ken Aldcroft – Threads 10/09/11
7.Marc Ribot – Live at the Village Vanguard
8.Andymusic – Heavydance
9.Tomas Fujiwara Trio – Variable Bets
10.Tellef Ogrim & Anders Berg – November

Antonio Poscic

1.Wadada Leo Smith – The Great Lakes Suites
2.Steve Lehman Octet – Mise en Abîme
3.DKV Trio – Sound in Motion in Sound
4.Farmers By Nature – Love and Ghosts
5.Lotte Anker & Jakob Riis – Squid Police
6.Jeremiah Cymerman – Pale Horse
7.Angles 9 – Injuries (CF 303)
8.Tyshawn Sorey Trio – Alloy
9.Zion 80 – Adramelech: Book of Angels, Vol. 22
10.Jemeel Moondoc – The Zookeeper’s House

Dan Sorrells
1.Daunik Lazro, Benjamin Duboc, Didier Lassere – Sens Radiants
2.Wacław Zimpel To Tu Orchestra – Nature Moves
3.Benjamin Duboc – St. James Infirmary
4.Zanussi Five – Live in Coimbra (CF 314)
5.Angles 9 – Injuries (CF 303)
6.Max Johnson, Ingrid Laubrock, Mat Maneri, Tomas Fujiwara – The Prisoner
7.Keir Neuringer – Ceremonies Out of the Air
8.Jeremiah Cymerman, Evan Parker, Nate Wooley – World of Objects
9.RED Trio & Mattias Ståhl – North and the Red Stream
10.Michael Francis Duch – Tomba Emmanuelle

Hugo Truyens
1.De Beren Gieren & Susana Santos Silva – The Detour Fish (CF 317)
2.1000 + 1 – Butterfly Garden
3.East of the Sun – ICP Orchestra
4.Os Meus Shorts – Os Meus Shorts II
5.Sylvain Rifflet & Jon Irabagon – Perpetual Motion (A Celebration of Moondog)
6.Baloni – Belleke (CF 305)
7.Ideal Bread Beating The Teens – Songs Of Steve Lacy
8.Franco D’Andrea Sextet – Monk and the Time Machine
9.Marc Ribot Trio – Live at the Village Vanguard
10.Sylvie Courvoisier – Mark Feldman Quartet Birdies for Lulu


All About Jazz review by Glenn Astarita

CF295Sei Miguel – Salvation Modes (CF 295)
Here, Portuguese trumpeter, composer Sei Miguel delves into his stockpile of older compositions that were seldom performed or recorded. And his customary, eccentric mode of operations is structured in an enticingly bizarre approach to jazz and jazz improvisation. On this release comprised of three extended tracks, the artist employs two quartets and a ten-piece ensemble as he crafts his attack with odd sound-sculpting metrics, minimalism, avant-space music, and paints liquescent hues atop placid rhythmic persuasions.

“Fermata” is the shortest piece on the album at 9:40 and features a strange alignment of instruments, evidenced by Andre Goncalves’ Hammond manipulation, Cesar Burago’s percussion and radio interference and Margarida Garcia playing or using something identified solely as, twin. With Miguel’s terse horn statements, the presentation intimates an otherworldly and slowly moving epic that could loosely pass for mechanical implements during a fabrication cycle.

Burago’s radio waves inject some blissful white noise underpinnings amid his asymmetrical tapping maneuvers using small percussion instruments. The band dishes out variable microtonal processes but Miguel eventually adds bluesy choruses into the mix, sparking a touch of realism along the way. Nonetheless, citing the avant-garde spectrum may be the easy way out when trying to categorize Miguel’s artistry. Regardless, he’s in a class of his own and possesses a distinctive pen. Sit back, relax, and let the music escort your senses to parts unknown.


Jazz.pt review by Bernardo Álvares

CF295Sei Miguel – Salvation Modes (CF 295)
No texto que acompanha o CD, Pedro Costa (que o assina) explica que este “Savation Modes” marca o início de uma nova fase de Sei Miguel, uma vez que este não pretende escrever mais música nova, mas sim trazer para fora todo um repertório que tem estado fechado na gaveta ao longo de 30 anos de actividade.

“Prelúdio e Cruz de Sala” (2002-2012), o primeiro tema, gira em volta da guitarra de Pedro Gomes, que ora oferece uma harmonia estranha mas subtil, ora oferece um leito a uma composição muito rica timbricamente, ora explode em picos de intensidade, sobrepondo a electricidade aos sopros e à percussão. Nesta peça de abertura podemos ouvir Sei Miguel em grande forma e com todo o potencial do seu Unit Core (Mariam, Gomes e Burago).

Numa formação da qual apenas se repete César Burago, ouvimos “Fermata” (2005), que nos mostra um Sei Miguel diferente, a montar um “puzzle” de jazz cirúrgico. É este o mundo introspectivo de Sei Miguel, escreve Pedro Costa. Os graves quebrados de Margarida Garcia e a envolvência enigmática da percussão de Burago e da electrónica de Gonçalves completam este tema, que termina repentinamente para se dar início à “Cantata Mussurana” (1996-2012).

A terceira peça, escreve Costa, baseia-se num ritual de purificação crioulo. A voz de Djabaté a contar uma história comanda esta cantata, com os outros músicos a intervir em aproximações e afastamentos. Apesar de uma base quase constante do baixo saltitante de Lourenço, da bateria armadilhada de Desirat e das percussões precisas de Burago, podemos ouvir uma música espaçada, com a mini-orquestra electroacústica a intervir nos momentos mais oportunos, numa constante gestão de tensões.

Embora muito diferentes entre si, estes três temas encontram uma coerência, fazendo deste “Salvation Modes” um objecto que merece toda a atenção.


The Wire review by Bill Meyer

Sei Miguel – Esfingico: Suite For A Jazz Combo (CF 170)
You can’t always judge a record by its title. Portuguese pocket trumpeter Sei Miguel long ago passed through Chet Baker and Miles Davis on his way to something very much his own. He has a small circle of players – trombonist Mariam Fala, electronicist Rafael Toral, percussionist Cesár Burago and newcomer Pedro Lourenço on bass – who know his music inside out and subscribe not only to its sounds but its ethos. This is music mindful of the responsibility to not only improvise, but make something distinctive. They’re not here to play a few nice choruses on “Autumn Leaves.” So while you have, ostensibly, a jazz combo – if you mistake Toral with his gesturally controlled electronics for an onstage mime, the band might look like one – they don’t really play like one. Instead of the lead and back-up relationship so common in jazz, there’s a sense of music being passed around here, the responsibility handed off like a relay. Each player seems mindful of shaping silence with their sounds, rather than the more common reverse. Each Cherry-esque brass blurt, stop-start groove, or electronic squiggle sounds absolutely necessary, its production as serious as your life. Which, I guess, is as good a reason as any to call it jazz.

The Wire review by Dan Warburton

Sei Miguel – Esfingico (CF 170)
Sei Miguel albums often come adorned with a little drawing of his pocket trumpet that inevitably recalls the sinister muted posthorn in Thomas Pynchon’s Crying Of Lot 49, but one doesn’t have to be a fan of that reclusive author to suspect that a system every bit as all-encompassing and mysterious as Pynchon’s Trystero organisation lies behind the music the 49-year-old trumpeter has been making for over two decades now. Miguel alumni such as guitarist Manuel Mota and electronics pioneer Rafael Toral, whose “modulated resonance feedback circuit” adds just the right amount of outer space weirdery to this latest offering, recorded live in April 2006, speak of the man and the intensive commitment he demands of his musicians with nothing short of awe.
Indeed, what’s striking about Miguel’s music is how instantly recognisable it is, and how little it’s changed over the past twenty years. With its sharp, clean lines from the trumpeter – imagine Don Cherry playing Webern – and his partner, alto trombonist Fala Mariam, underpinned by ever so sparse accompaniment from bassist Pedro Lourenço and pinpricks of percussion from César Burago (who’s become as essential to Miguel’s rhythmic concept as Dannie Richmond was to Charles Mingus’s), it was lowercase long before before the term was even coined. But, Toral’s skylab gurgles apart, it has little interest in latterday improv’s extended technique soundworld: in appending the delightfully retro subtitle “Suite for Jazz Combo” to this six-movement composition one senses that Miguel’s tongue is only half in his cheek. There’s always been an element of jazz in his music, implicit rather than explicit: one doesn’t need to play a backbeat to sense its presence – Burago’s understatement is masterly – or clutter up the arrangement with chordal comping to be aware of the subtle harmony underpinning it. Esfingico is discreet and elegant proof that Bill Dixon and Jimmy Giuffre are as important to jazz history as Miles and Coltrane, and illustrates Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s famous dictum “less is more” just as well as anything by Radu Malfatti. And it swings.

Paris Transatlantic review by Michael Rosenstein

There seem to be damn few well-kept secrets in the improv world anymore, but Portuguese trumpet phenom Sei Miguel seems to be one. After three decades of tenaciously pursing a personal vision blending jazz sonorities and phrasing, electroacoustics, and compositional forms for improvisation (parallels can be drawn between his work and Leo Smith’s in this area), he’s still relatively unknown. It doesn’t help that most of his back catalog is on tiny-run Portuguese labels and pretty much impossible to find. The 2006 release Tone Gardens on Creative Sources ought to have provided a bit more visibility – that spectacular live quartet outing from 2004 with Miguel, partner Fala Mariam on trombone, Rafael Toral on electronics, and Cesár Burago on percussion presented a singular intersection of floating, lyrical line, subtle electronics, and textural abstraction – but for some reason never quite got the attention it should have.

For Esfíngo, recorded live in 2006, Miguel has assembled the same quartet, with the addition of bass guitarist Pedro Lourenço, for another set of scored improvisational inventions. The trumpeter is unabashed about his allegiance to jazz, and while the sub-title of this release ( “Suite for a Jazz Combo”) may not leap out as an obvious choice, it provides the conceptual underpinnings for both how he approaches structure and how the group itself approaches improvisation. Miguel has transposed the small jazz ensemble, placing his clarion tone and the warm musings of Mariam’s trombone against the coloristic scribbles and sound blocks of Toral’s modulated resonance feedback circuit, while the simmering patterns and pointillistic plucked daubs of bottom end from Lourenço are nicely paired with the spatters of texture from Burago’s timbales and small percussion. This is music guided by cooperative interchange, with each line placed thoughtfully against the ensemble, each piece paced around the balance between density and silence, texture and lyricism, and the tactical placement of lead voices against the collective flow. Esfíngo has been on high rotation since it arrived and has egged me on to try and dig up more of Sei Miguel’s earlier work.