Tag Archives: Matthias Schriefl

Stash Dauber review by the Stash Dauber Part 2

A bunch more good jazz (or whatevah) records
Back to the Clean Feed stack…

Eric Boeren – Song for Tracy the Turtle Live at Jazz Brugge 2004 (CF 186)
Dutch cornetist Eric Boeren’s Song for Tracy the Turtle – Live at Jazz Brugge 2004 is a disc that fairly wallows in its Ornettitude, and that’s a good thing. You have to go back to Old and New Dreams to find a band as imbued with the spirit of the pre-Dancing In Your Head Coleman units as Boeren’s 4tet. Not only do they cover four, count ’em, _four_ classic-but-not-overdone O.C. compositions (“Mr. and Mrs. People,” “Free,” “Moon Inhabitants,” and “The Legend of Bebop”), they also essay Ornettish originals, replete with hummable, bluesy unison heads, like “A Fuzzphony” and “Soft Nose.” Boeren individuates most when he blows a muted horn, while Michael Moore shines on both alto and Eb clarinet. Departures include the amorphously open-ended title track (which kicks off the set), and the lovely laments “Memo” and “Memories of You” (the latter a Eubie Blake composition, of all things). I’ll also admit to being a sucker for CDs with pictures of turtles on the cover, especially when executed as exquisitely as Clean Feed’s sleeves always are.

TGB – Evil Things (CF 181)
Perhaps recent listens to Bob Stewart with Arthur Blythe’s ’70s “tuba band” put me in a receptive mood to hear Evil Things by TGB, a tuba-guitar-drums power trio (I do believe the acronym stands for the Portuguese spellings of the instruments’ names). On tuba, Sergio Carolino is an agile soloist; at times, listening to his rides is an experience akin to watching a portly man doing handsprings and cartwheels. Guitarist Mario Delgado is equally splendid on acoustic, electric, dobro, and fretless instruments (dig his taffy-pull long tones on the latter instrument on the curiously bluesy “George Harrison”). His range is represented by the material the trio covers, which ranges from proto-metal (Black Sabbath’s “Planet Caravan” and Deep Purple’s “The Mule,” which serves as a segue out of whirlwind drummer Alexandre Frazao’s solo on “Nameloc”) to country-jazz (Hank Garland’s vehicle “Close Your Eyes” starts out as a tango before erupting into surf-ska frenzy). The program runs the gamut from Gateway Trio-style exploration to Red-era King Crimson menace (there’s even a little grindcore Cookie Monster vocalismo from Paulo Ramos on “Aleister Crowley”). A stunning surprise.

Carlos Bica – Matéria Prima (CF 180)
Delgado’s also a key element on two bassplayer-led sessions. On Labirinto, Dave Hollandesque bassist-composer Carlos Barretto leads a trio, Lokomotiv, with the guitarist and drummer Jose Salgueiro. Delgado explores more tones and textures than the average guitar-slinger would think to in the course of a single session, reinforcing the impression of himself as a European Nels Cline, while the trio reminds you of everything you liked about fusion and ECM back in the ’70s. Leader Barretto’s arco work is particularly gorgeous. Carlos Bica’s Materia Prima opens with the surf-blues of “D.C.” — with a riff straight out of Jimi’s “Voodoo Chile” — before settling into a program of very stylish chamber jazz that includes covers of tunes by Marc Ribot (another discernable influence on Delgado) and Ry Cooder. Bica’s own compositions are moody, atmospheric soundscapes that evoke cinematic images, like John Zorn at his best.

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.

Gapplegate Guitar and Bass blog

Carlos Bica: New Jazzed-Rock From Portugal

Carlos Bica + Matéria-Prima (CF 180)
Carlos Bica is an excellent bassist. He can bow with the best of them and his pizzicato soloing is always interesting. But he also can write well and puts together a sterling jazzed-rock congregation on his new Carlos Bica and Materia Prima (Clean Feed) CD. The band has Mario Delgado on electric guitar who contributes much to the ensemble sound and solos with taste. Keyboard/accordionist Joao Paulo does good work as well. Matthias Schriefl is perhaps the best soloist of the lot; his trumpet/fluegelhorn gets funky with a plunger mute or just glides nicely as a straight horn.

This is a group sound and they show remarkable poise on this series of live dates. The music is very enjoyable and has some real Euro-Portuguese flavored charm. The arrangements really are what puts this one over the top. Materia-Prima has considerable subtlety for an ensemble that mostly keeps in a jazzed-rock mode. Kudos for Mr. Bica!

Burning Ambulance review by Phil Freeman

CARLOS BICA – Carlos Bica + Matéria-Prima (CF 180)
Carlos Bica, like Carlos Barretto, is a Portuguese bassist and bandleader—and hey, guitarist Mario Delgado is on this album, too! But it’s in no way a rehash of Labirintos. This is a drifting, cinematic album that even includes a version of Ry Cooder’s theme from the movie Paris, Texas. In addition to Bica and Delgado, the band features João Paulo on piano, keyboards and accordion; João Lobo on drums; and one non-Portuguese player, Berlin-based Matthias Schriefl, on trumpet, flugelhorn and melodica. There’s a terrific moment on “Bela Senão Sem” when Schriefl switches rapidly between muted and open horn, effectively dialoguing with himself in short, pithy phrases.

The opening track, “D.C.,” is a slow-walking blues with an undercurrent of aggression that’s reminiscent of the band—Miles Davis, John Lee Hooker, Taj Mahal and others—assembled for the soundtrack to the 1990 movie The Hot Spot. “Believer,” which is driven by a throbbing, ultra-repetitive bass line from Bica and restrained, Meldhau-ian piano, atop which Schriefl plays bittersweet, muted lines, recalls Davis’s 1987 soundtrack to Siesta, minus the somewhat dated electronics. On “For Malena,” the trumpeter growls and even sputter-sings through the horn, while the band creates a stinging guitar-and-organ groove that bears the same relationship to Latin music that Tom Waits’ “Jockey Full of Bourbon” did—a hammering semi-rhumba that’s as noisy as it is lush. No surprise, since it’s a Marc Ribot composition, from his 2008 album Party Intellectuals; Ribot played guitar on “Jockey.”

Blues, movie soundtracks, slow-simmering ballads, and occasional Waits-ian side trips into jagged noise—these are the component parts of Matéria-Prima, and they all work together to create an immersive but never entirely soothing sonic journey. The audience applauds enthusiastically after each track, and sometimes after solos, but it’s a safe bet they were caught by surprise a few times along the way, too.

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

2. Should you buy this record? Yes.

Alarm’s “Week’s Best Albums” by Scott Morrow

Carlos Bica + Matéria Prima (CF 180)
Portuguese bassist and composer Carlos Bica, like many in jazz circles, is a fruitful artist.  Splitting time between Portugal and Germany, Bica has worked with scores of established musicians in a pair of great jazz scenes.

However, in contrast to many of his contemporaries, Bica’s material is forceful, dramatic, and unafraid to take chances.  This disc, recorded live with his Matéria Prima group in 2008, exemplifies this approach.

The album’s opener is driven by a looping Western guitar riff, which is topped by a reverb-soaked lead that weaves in and out.  A striking cello, trumpet, organ, and drum kit accent the lead with power and precision, and a full beat begins a lively groove.

Much of the rest of the album could be filed under jazz, but Bica’s unique arrangements add bits of blues, lounge, psych rock, and more while maintaining a coherent style.  It’s an accessible and engaging effort.