Tag Archives: Nebulosa

Improvised review by Craig Premo

I’ve been aware of the existence of these two CDs, but given the generous output of the Clean Feed label over the past few years, I’d never gotten around to exploring them until now. I’m glad that I did, as the core group offers an interesting take on the piano trio. In fact, with the sound they generate, “piano trio” doesn’t really come close to describing their approach. I really like the use of space on both recordings; it generates both tension at various points and a sense that the musicians are letting events unfold naturally, though not languidly.

CF 201Hugo Carvalhais – Nebulosa (CF 201)
On Nebulosa, Tim Berne again displays his ability to blend well with different situations, something I wouldn’t have expected from someone who has such an idiosyncratic approach. He takes a prominent role on the six tracks (out of ten) in which he participates, but doesn’t dominate, instead respecting the dynamic of the trio. In spite of my fondness for certain fusion groups from the bad old days, I’m hesitant when I see the word “synthesizer” on a CD cover. Pinto for the most part avoids the clichés, with his sparse approach working in his favor, the occasional texture from Mr. Gone-era Weather Report a little too prominent.

CF 253Hugo Carvalhais – Particula (CF 253)
Particula grabs you from the opening notes, with sparse piano over a background of ambient sound. This is not a trio-with-guests recording; the whole unit is razor sharp, able to turn on a dime from what sound like group improvisations to solo spotlights. Parisien and Pifarely are excellent throughout, and the electronics are better integrated on Particula as well. Costa the drummer really makes this group. He reminds me a little of Gerry Hemingway in that he shapes the flow and energy, and can be forceful when that’s required.

Jazz’n’More review by Jürg Solothurnmann

Hugo Carvalhais -Nebulosa (CF 201)
4 stars
Portugal ist keine Aussenstation des Jazz, das belegt einmal mehr das selbstsichere Trio des Bassisten und Kunstmalers Carvalhais (*1978) aus Porto. Zum CD-Debut hat er gleich den New Yorker Tim Berne eingeladen, aber auch die vier der zehn Tracks ohne diesen haben Charakter. Die Band kommt offenbar mit einem Minimum von thematischem Material aus. Das Konzept – und nicht zuletzt die „blaue“ Akkordik des Pianisten – erinnern an Hancocks freien Rockjazz der frühen 70er Jahre. Da ist das bestimmte, expressive Spiel mit vielen Lücken, und der Mix staffelt die Stimmen zwischen Vorder- und Hintergrund, was atmenden weiten Raum und Traumlandschaften evoziert. Hellwach die freien, puzzleartigen Diskurse der Instrumente, deren Initiative ständig wechselt. Trotz ihrer Freiheit hat die andeutend-transparent Rhythmik etwas von der markigen Prägnanz des Hard-Core-Rock. Zu den akustischen Instrumenten gesellt sich teilweise Carvalhais Synthesizer mit ziemlich vokalen Linien. Berne kann seine turbulenten, weit ausgreifenden Improvisationen in ein gemachtes Bett legen: das Trio inspiriert ihn mit originellen Soundtracks. Eine mühelose Partnerschaft, aber ich warte darauf, das Trio mal ausführlicher allein zu hören.


Portugal is not an outpost of jazz; once more the poised trio of bassist and painter Carvalhais (b. 1978) from Porto proves it again. For his CD debut, he has invited right away the New Yorker Tim Berne, but also the four of the ten tracks without him have character. Apparently, the band feels at ease with a minimum of thematic material. The concept – and not least the “blue” chords of the piano – is reminiscent a bit of Hancock’s free jazz rock in the early 70s. There is this specific expressive playing with many gaps, and the mix gradually phases the voices between fore- and background evoking an open, breathing space and dreamscapes. Wide awake the free puzzle-like discourses of the instruments, which constantly swap the initiative. Despite their freedom, the suggestive, transparent rhythms have something of the pithy terseness of hard-core rock. The acoustic instruments are partially joined by the fairly vocal lines of Carvalhais’ synthesizers. Berne can lay his turbulent, extended improvisations into a made bed: the trio constantly inspires him with inventively sketchy soundtracks. An effortless partnership, but I’m waiting to hear the trio more extensively.