Tag Archives: Luis Lopes

Gapplegate Music review by Grego Edwards

Afterfall – Afterfall (CF 208 )
We recently encountered guitarist Luis Lopes as part of the Humanization 4tet (see January 13th posting). He returns today as a member of the equally adventurous Afterfall (Clean Feed 208). It’s a free-avant encounter with a quintet that includes Lopes, Joe Giardullo on soprano and tenor, Sei Miguel on pocket trumpet, and a rhythm section of Benjamin Duboc on upright bass and Harvey Sorgen on the drums.

This is five-way interaction, a cooperative date all the way, with all five members sharing the composing credits. What that translates into for the listener is seven musical vignettes, each somewhat different in mood. The freetime feel is pretty constant, with time sometimes more overtly implied and sometimes in a free falling zone. Some numbers are sparser and more reflective, some more extroverted and energetic. Sei Miguel’s always muted pocket trumpet forms a good contrast with Giardullo’s shining soprano or gruff tenor and Lopes’ sound-color oriented guitar.

A high point is Giardullo’s tenor work in “American Open Road with a Frog,” where he is is rippingly muscular over churning drums and bass. “American Tryptich” finds some room for Lopes’ spicy, floating chord voicings and chopping staccato-line crafting, some after-Miles-and-Cherry tartly stating-the-fact trumpet inventions and grainy bowed bass. “Return of the Shut Up Goddess” brings a storm of bowing thunder and weighted brushwork underpinning more Miguel muted eloquence and then vibrato-laced sustained guitar lines of a rough beauty. There are plenty of such moments, each one with a slightly different mix of musical voices, shades and degrees of emphasis.

This is a sleeper. It is so subtle in many ways one has to listen a number of times before the logic of the improvisational language truly speaks to you. But I found that it did after a time. And what it said was most definitely worth hearing.

All About Jazz – Italy review by Vincenzo Roggero

Afterfall – Afterfall (CF 208 )
Valutazione: 3.5 stelle
Afterfall è un incontro casuale di musicisti provenienti da diverse parti del mondo e da altrettanto diverse esperienze e percorsi artistici. Quell’incontro casuale dell’estate 2008 – un paio di concerti in Portogallo – diventa il prologo ad una conoscenza più approfondita e l’omonimo Afterfall è l’apprezzabile risultato.
Ensemble democratico, apparentemente senza leader – in effetti dietro le quinte sembra operare la longa manus del chitarrista portoghese Luis Lopes, se non altro per aver voluto fortemente una testimonianza discografica di questo incontro – Afterfall sfugge a qualsiasi tipo di categorizzazione.

E’ vero che l’aspetto improvvisativo, il dedicarsi completamente alla composizione istantanea sono le coordinate entro le quali si muovono i cinque musicisti ma è altrettanto vero che una serie di contaminazioni stilistiche e di genere in aggiunta alle continue trovate dei protagonisti rendono il tutto piacevolmente sfuggente.

L’inizio sembra nascere dal nulla, qualche crepitio elettrico, qualche percussione di pelli, le corde del basso accarezzato dall’archetto, le vibrazione di un ancia che scuotono l’aria, una piccola tromba con sordina alla ricerca del filo perduto. E’ un navigare a vista senza una meta, un fiutare l’aria per cogliere suggerimenti ed alimentare l’ispirazione.

Poi – piano piano – qualcosa si evolve, le diverse traiettorie sembrano trovare una via comune, anche se l’atmosfera rimane spesso rarefatta, a volte oscura, a tratti ermetica. Ma vi è una forza interiore che scardina le resistenze dell’ascoltatore rendendolo partecipe di un rituale che si conclude come era iniziato: impalpabile e affascinante.

Free Jazz review by Paul Acquaro

Afterfall (CF 208)
By We are waking up slowly, somewhere unexpected. Small sounds are creeping into our consciousness, clicks, moans — slightly spooky — suggesting a less than desirable near future. We begin to focus and clicks become tones, sounds begin to connect, we realize that we are being spoken to, but in a strange dialect. Soon we realize that this language, that while somewhat familiar, is actually comprised of those clicks and sudden accents — a wail or moan is not unintended. It’s all a part of the drama unfolding around us. The pacing quickens and the harmonies thicken.

Afterfall is an international collaboration on Clean Feed records with Luís Lopes on electric guitar, Sei Miguel on pocket trumpet, Joe Giardullo on soprano and tenor saxophones, Benjamin Duboc on double bass and Harvey Sorgen on drums. Lopes, from Portugal, is the group leader, but you may not know it, as he takes a back seat to his other Portuguese, American and French colleagues. In fact, it’s Giardullo whose voice seems to be most prominent.

At first, there is a feeling restraint, like the musicians have colluded in not revealing exactly what they mean. However, things begin to loosen up slowly towards the middle of the album. ‘Cancoa Branco’ builds slowly over eight and a half minutes and only in the last minute of the tune does Lopes’ distorted guitar rise out of the mix along with Giardullo’s sax. But then the communication barrier has been broken open and the music pours forth on ‘American Open Road with a Frog.’ Then it starts making sense, this album is a suite, each piece building up into longer sonic segments and becoming increasingly melodic. Giardullo takes a full throttled free blowing solo, finally saying everything that was being held back for so long. ‘Open Road’ has broken free and how good it feels — it’s almost swinging!

The last two songs find us retreating back into a murkier atmosphere. ‘Triptych’ begins with upright bass bowing a dark chord and plucking choice notes white Lopes’ guitar sprinkles tiny melodies atop. It laboriously builds, adding trumpet, then percussion and finally sax, leading to a fierce collective improv. The last tune, ‘Return of the Shut Up Goddess’ brings us full circle (the first tune is called ‘The Shut Up Goddess’), with small snippets of melody and scratching rhythms. However, this time we are fully awake and ready.

This arching song cycle is illuminating. Lopes’ use of the guitar as a colorist and percussionist (at times) is as non-conventional as you can get. All the sounds and dynamics of the sax and trumpet are explored. The album has some darker undertones, but they function by making us work harder to understand, and I’m fairly certain that we are, by this point, starting to get it.

Luís Lopes interview at Bodyspace by Nuno Catarino

Photo by Cristina Cortez

Jazz.pt review by Tiago Morgado

Luís Lopes, Adam Lane, Igal Foni – What is When (CF 146)
O guitarrista lisboeta Luis Lopes iniciou a sua formação musical no Hot Clube de Portugal, mas foi do rock que partiu. Em “What is When” faz-se acompanhar de Adam Lane e Igal Foni, o primeiro um contrabaixista e compositor de excelência que vê em Duke Ellington, Karlheinz Stockhausen e Melt Banana as suas maiores influências e o outro um menos conhecido baterista de Israel que lidera os Genious Goalkeeper.
A primeira faixa do álbum, “Evolution Motive”, funciona quase como um manifesto, com uma dupla dedicatória a Darwin, o teórico do evolucionismo, e a Sonny Sharrock, praticamente o único guitarrista do período áureo do free jazz. É como se nos fosse dado um plano de identificação formal, normativo e simbólico. As referências estéticas são muitas, na perspectiva do avant-jazz, mas buscando contactos com os blues eléctricos, o punk e até a música contemporânea. No tema de abertura, a guitarra entra com um ostinato que vai sendo explorado e desconstruído continuamente. Em “Spontaneus Combustion”, Lopes Trabalha com Texturas de carácter pontilhístico, com o contrabaixo a assumir, num tradicional registo em pizzicato, a predominância a nível do discurso musical, a bateria surgindo apenas com pequenos apontamentos. A estrutura é mais próxima da estandardizada e tem um registo de free jazz, com secções de exposição do tema intercaladas com desconstruções do mesmo. A coesão entre os três elementos é evidente e o modo como funciona a nível de interactividade entre os instrumentistas confere um carácter único à música. “Cerejeiras” arranca com um solo percussivo de métrica livre e quebrada, num jeito quase “ad libitum”, entrando a guitarra de seguida, com motivos de carácter essencialmente tonal-modal, para depois Lane tocar harmónicos com o arco segundo técnicas sul ponticello, pouco frequentes no jazz. O contrabaixo caminha para bordões cada vez mais dissonantes, explorando os recursos do instrumento. “The Siege” faz-nos lembrar algo próximo da música de grupos como Melt Banana, ou mesmo Zu. O nível de sofisticação sobe e se neste tema as conotações são mistas de punk e free, em “Street Clown Girl” as influências da música erudita contemporânea tornam-se óbvias. Regra geral, os músicos dirigem-se progressivamente para um clímax, ao qual sucedem situações mais calmas. Em “Melodic 8” começa o contrabaixo, com Adam Lane a recorrer a “loops”, depois entra Foni e finalmente Lopes, que ganha predominância solística num registo de monodia acompanhada. A nível de tensão e de forma, há um certo carácter de simetria. Em “Chichi Rides The Tiger”, já quase um cartão de visita do contrabaixista americano, essa tensão é cumulativa. Até estilisticamente, indo de um jazz “old school e “straight” para algo no cruzamento com o rock. O final é um dos pontos altos do CD, com um discurso tenso, profundo e arrojado.

Cadence Magazine review by Grego Applegate Edwards

Luis Lopes / Adam Lane / Igal Foni – What is When (CF 146)
“What is When” is a rather exceptional guitar trio. Guitarist Luis Lopes is a new one for me and he is a player of great interest. He tends to play on the outside and alternates between a dryly electric and a high impact straight tone. Beefheartian guitarists, Sharrock in his early period and Ulmer in his outer moments are touch points in describing his style, but only as rough approximation, for he has a distinct bag. Adam Lane goes far in making this a formidable lineup. Arco or pizzicato, he makes a strong contribution with his all-over playing attack and keen sense of drama and momentum. The drummer is new to me but is very musical and capable of Free Swing-Rock inflected outness and open-timed assaults with definite taste. The pieces have good variety and nothing comes near to outwearing its welcome. Some could even have been expanded without undue wear and tear on the listening ear. Just a couple of highlights will suffice to give you an idea of the music. Take “The Siege.” It begins with bass and distorted guitar doing some original sounding, abstract but Rock fused motifs that the drums follow. Then the guitar gets out in a fanfarish, notely way while Lane’s bass blasts a distorted line that has deep resonance and the drums freely rock without a beat or pulse. This is powerful. Now Adam goes it alone with distorted chaos and really digs into it. Then back to the head while Lane flips out! “ChiChi Rides the Tiger” has a swinging head with a densely rhythmic, minor bluesy line all participate in, then a funky riff in seven and off to a guitar solo against the riff for the bass and drums. Lopes plays some nice guitar. He’s not big on chops but what he plays is right and conceptually out with Rock overtones and a dry distortion. I’d much rather hear that than just super technique for its own sake. He’s got big ears and plays out in interesting ways—with distorted chords and bends while bass and drums rock out boisterously in seven. The piece signs off with some vintage Hendrix-like feedback. The album concludes dramatically with a blazing Adam Lane in “Perched Upon An Electric Wire.” It’s Lane alone, riveting the listener with a strongly droned bass sawing. It is a stunner of an ending. This is very easy to recommend. What is When is a cornerstone release among the outside guitar trios I’ve heard of late.
©Cadence Magazine 2010 www.cadencebuilding.com

All About Jazz Italy review by Vittorio Lo Conte

Luis Lopes – Adam Lane – Igal Foni – What is When (CF 146)

La Clean Feed si conferma label di riferimento per la musica d’avanguardia. Di solito pubblica lavori di musicisti americani. Ma ci sono diverse, e meritevoli, eccezioni, come il sassofonista Rodrigo Amado e – in questo caso – il chitarrista Luis Lopes, che troviamo alla guida di un trio internazionale insieme al contrabbassista statunitense Adam Lane e al batterista israeliano Igal Foni.

I tre mischiano con intelligenza punk, free, freefunk, rock, con l’energia della chitarra prepotentemente in primo piano in un paio di brani. Ma non mancano atmosfere di insolita poesia, in brani come il lungo “Cerejeiras,” che procedono sghembi su percorsi che delineano una storia raccontata a bassa voce. È uno dergli aspetti del trio, che subito dopo, ad esempio in “The Siege,” riprende a riversare colate di lava su chi ascolta. Un’energia primordiale, un modo rozzo ed allo stesso tempo raffinato (i brani sono costruiti con logica ed i musicisti conoscono bene i percorsi intrapresi) di interpretare il trio per chitarra e ritmica.

Quel che colpisce di più è che con le loro sonorità distorte sono in grado di raccontare qualcosa, più innamorati di quello che vogliono dire che del suono in quanto tale. L’avanguardia nelle loro mani acquista un volto familiare, che nelle sue tante sfaccettature ha quel qualcosa di particolare che sveglia il senso uditivo dell’ascoltatore.