ZÉ EDUARDO UNIT – A Jazzar: Live In Capuchos (CF 155)
Zé Eduardo is a lone wolf of sorts in the Portuguese music scene – it happens to everybody in the world who does not obey to the establishment’s rules, of course – and A Jazzar is a good representation of his non-compliant sense of humour and overall artistic cleverness. The enterprise’s chief, also a gifted double bassist, is aided by saxophonist Jesus Santandreu and drummer Bruno Pedroso, both partners endowed with adroitness and stylistic preparation perfect for all uses. On a first attempt, one feels like trapped within the spires of some conservative jazz station: everything sounds precise and articulated, soft-spoken tunes executed with an apparent lack of commitment. But it takes a minute to really pay attention, thus unearthing the refined irony underlying the leader’s intentions. What appears as mere formality is indeed just that, though spiced with dozens of twists and turns rendering the interplay less predictable and, consequently, more absorbing. The trio works its way through scientific modifications of diverse covers (folk songs, various soundtracks and the Simpsons theme, the latter signifying the lone item this writer was acquainted with) with the same type of perplexing detachment, a mood that perhaps hides a killer instinct which remains confined in the realm of our intuition.
Zé Eduardo Unit – Live in Capuchos (CF 155) ***
Nos últimos anos, o jazz foi ganhando a reputação de ser capaz de digerir tudo o que se atire para sua bocarra. Mas a máquina da Zé Eduardo Unit engasga-se com os monos a que deitou o dente: os temas da “Abelha Maia”, “Dartacão”, “Noddy” e “The Simpsons” são rotundas inanidades que até a potente mistura de ácido e sarcasmo dos Naked City ou dos Bad Plus teria dificuldade em atacar.
A voga pós-modernaça da apropriação de tudo o que é piroso e trivial conduz frequentemente a estes equívocos, supostamente hilariantes. Como os bons momentos (fragmentados e desconexos) do CD pouco têm a ver com a matéria-prima “cartoonesca”, fica a aguardar-se que Zé Eduardo, Jesus Santandreu e Bruno Pedroso apliquem o seu talento a objectos mais interessantes.
Zé Eduardo Unit – A Jazzar – Live in Capuchos (CF 155)
The trio of bassist-composer Zé Eduardo, drummer Bruno Pedroso and powerhouse tenorman Jesús Santandreu has been active on the Iberian scene for the better part of a decade, primarily as a vehicle for the leader’s arrangements of folk and popular song into open improvisational settings. Their Clean Feed debut, A Jazzar no Zeca (2002), was a setting of the anti-fascist songs of José Afonso; other recordings have focused on Portuguese cinema, and Live in Capuchos retains the cinematic tradition by including themes from cartoons The Simpsons and Noddy. I’ll confess a slight gag reflex was triggered by seeing Danny Elfman’s tune in the setlist, but it’s rendered barely recognizable across the track’s seven minutes, Santandreu digging into his Newk/Trane roots in a rollicking solo over a jolly, pliant bounce. There’s a shade of Rollins’ “I’m an Old Cowhand” here, and in fact the tongue-in-cheek trotting-out of a fairly insipid recent popular song is something Eduardo has in common with Rollins and Rahsaan Roland Kirk.
“Grandola” opens with a weighty plod before bass and tenor soar in delicate interplay; Eduardo’s bass takes a more central role than on previous dates, exhibiting affection for high-pitched pizzicato strumming, effortlessly shifting from fluttering abstraction to supple, folksy lilt. Pedroso, a longtime fixture on the Lisbon scene and a highly in-demand drummer, dissects marches into stabbing freedom, yet carries a loose backbeat just as easily. Thirty-odd years ago, a player cobbling together mainstream and free-jazz tenor influences wouldn’t have been something particularly interesting, but somehow the honesty of Santandreu’s approach is refreshing – especially because he’s not a technical showman but a compellingly virile student of the music. His sand-blasted honks and blats in “Dartacão,” coupled with fleet fingering and wide leaps, are an exciting reminder of what solid modern-jazz tenor playing is all about. Eduardo coined the verb “jazzar” to define what his group does – to make jazz, make immediate the legacy of popular and folk song, translating even the hokiest numbers into personal artworks. Live in Capuchos is a fine example of the Zé Eduardo Unit at work.–
Zé Eduardo Unit – Live In Capuchos (CF 155)
Light-footed modern and free jazz by this excellent Portuguese trio, led by bassist Ze Eduardo, with Jesus Santandreu on tenor saxophone and Bruno Pedroso on drums. The compositions are very varied, full of creative twists and turns, but then they get unraveled to their essential core, improvised upon in the best free sense, and falling back to its more structured form. Sensitive playing and quite accessible.
Zé Eduardo Unit – A Jazzar – Live In Capuchos (CF 155)
Aunque se agradece el intento y la simpatía del contrabajista Zé Eduardo de llevar en Live In Capuchos al terreno del jazz la música de algunas series de dibujos animados como Los Simpson, La abeja Maya, Dartacan y los tres mosqueperros o Noddy, junto con temas tan importantes en Portugal como el mítico “Grândola Vila Morena”, la propuesta no termina de cuajar. Aunque la formación es de lujo, le acompañan ni más ni menos que el saxofonista Jesús Santandreu y el batería Bruno Pedroso, los tres músicos dan la impresión durante demasiados momentos de estar más pendientes de que la música no se aleje demasiado de unas melodías más que reconocibles y de los arreglos (que en algunos casos suenan un tanto forzados), que de respirar y dejar que la música crezca, se expanda y se desarrolle. Y aunque no hay nada que objetar, que conste, acerca de los tres músicos y su tremenda capacidad como instrumentistas, la escucha del CD deja la impresión de que la grabación podía haber sido mucho mejor.
Zé Eduardo Unit – A Jazzar – Live in Capuchos (CF 155)
Ze Eduardo has been a central figure on the Portuguese Jazz scene since the ‘70s. He plies a strong acoustic bass and plays a leading role in his current trio. There’s a new recording on Clean Feed, “Ze Eduardo Unit Live in Capuchos.” Here Mr. Eduardo is joined by tenor saxophonist Jesus Santandreu and drummer Bruno Pedreso for a lively set. Once they clear out the cobwebs and get into some dynamic grooves, it becomes obvious that they are well attuned to one another and can work within various self-imposed parameters to create solid Post-Bop-Freebop Jazz with alternating density and spareness. When they get into a forward moving routine, they sound much fuller than the trio setting would suggest. That is in great part due to the rhythm team’s strongly felicitous interactions. Eduardo has strength of purpose and Pedroso builds upon that in ways that get the musical juices flowing.
Jesus Santandreau plays the soloist role with equal strength. He firmly entrenches himself in lithely moving idiomatic Post-Bop phrasing without quoting other players. He quotes himself. It seems to me that this would be a good starting CD for someone who wishes to explore what’s going on in Portugal. It’s quite engaging, once they get warmed up. And the group groove is hard to resist.
Zé Eduardo Unit – Live in Capuchos (CF 155)
Atenção, fundamentalistas de todos os quadrantes… sugere-se que se mantenham prudentemente à distância deste disco: Zé Eduardo Unit Live in Capuchos é mais um testemunho exemplar do trabalho da editora Clean Feed, por um lado divulgando singulares experiências do jazz (português e além fronteiras), por outro lado rasgando caminhos inesperados e sedutores para (re)pensarmos uma cultura musical feita de muitas contaminações e ousadias.
Trata-se de um trabalho que retoma premissas já aplicadas em A Jazzar no Cinema Português (edição do Cineclube de Faro) e A Jazzar no Zeca (Clean Feed). Zé Eduardo (baixo), Jesus Santandreu (saxofone) e Bruno Pedroso (bateria) arriscam, aqui, uma velha e deliciosa perversidade: a de fazer jazz a partir de temas da cultura popular, desde Cantiga da Rua (do filme O Costa do Castelo, realizado por Arthur Duarte em 1949) até Balada da Rita (Sérgio Godinho), passando por Grândola, Vila Morena (José Afonso). Não esquecendo as preciosidades da cultura televisiva, o álbum apresenta-nos ainda versões hard bop dos temas de Abelha Maia, Dartacão, Noddy e Os Simpsons — será que devemos colocar nos dicionários a expressão hard pop?