Tag Archives: Pedro Sousa

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


Free Jazz review by Matthew Grigg

SHH 010Thurston Moore/Gabriel Ferrandini/Pedro Sousa – Live at ZDB (Shh10)
Survival Records, October Revolution in Jazz, Tzadik and The Stone, Studio Rivbea, Jazz Composers Guild, El Saturn Records, Company Week and Incus, Mopomoso, Debut Records; there is a well established precedent of Free music practitioners having to create their own opportunities for exposure. Thurston Moore offers an alternative to this template. Sure, he has established his own record label, and helped curate concert series and festivals. But where his contribution really differs is in the profile he has within mainstream culture, and the manner in which that platform has been used to espouse the merits of what interests and informs him. A staunch champion of Free music, Moore once claimed to be interested in “playing with anyone” which has lead to countless ad hoc groupings with less-than-household names (as well as many of the cream of the current Free Improvisers). In addition to which, many of his recordings have been issued by small independent labels, affording them increased visibility often outside of their usual demographic.

With the release of this live set recorded in Lisbon, Moore has killed both these birds with one stone. Saxophonist Pedro Sousa (Pão) and drummer Gabriel Ferrandini (Red Trio) have been rightly lauded on these pages, and whilst their names are not entirely unfamiliar, this release affords them both individual attention and an opportunity to step out from behind the relative anonymity of their band’s names. Similarly, fledgling Portugese label Shhpuma, baby brother to the excellent Clean Feed, now has its own turn in the sun.

According to the label’s promotional spiel, during pre-gig discussion the trio had agreed they would “play soft, focusing on the details”. They do not keep to this plan for long. Ferrandini and Sousa are straining at the leash almost from the off, the saxophonist’s overblown textures keening to erupt, the drums verge on bubbling over, seemingly trying to goad the guitarist into following. Moore, so often the noisenik in these situations, is the coolest head, playing the long game like an old master. He keeps pace as the others race ahead without being fully drawn into the fray, calming the initial impetuousness with languid feedback lines. In so doing, part of the game plan remains intact and textural ‘detail’ becomes the foundation, albeit roughly hewn rather than ‘soft’.

Texture is Moore’s stock in trade and the grumbling low-end smears of Sousa’s tenor and baritone work well in this context, furthered by the gritty electronics he deploys which often shadow or add surface detail to the contorted guitar lines. Ferrandini interjects serrated accents amid his propulsive percussion, often coalescing around the more knotted clamour as inertia pulls inextricably toward the red. The trio play with this sense of tension for the duration of the set, on countless occasions the heat their momentum generates seems certain to fully ignite and finally submit to its incendiary potential. However, even at its most scorched it feels like a controlled burn, with a large depth of field to the dynamics.

This inaugural encounter smoulders with potential and suggests more to come should the trio ever be reprised. Moore is on a fine run of form at the moment, as this blog will attest. Long may it continue.

Sound Vision review by João Lopes

SHH 002Pão – Pão (SHH 002)
Será, talvez, um preconceito da minha parte: o certo é que não consigo ficar indiferente ao escusado “estrangeirismo” de (mais) um disco de jazz que se apresenta sem uma única palavra em português… Enfim, temos os nomes dos criadores: Pedro Sousa (saxofone), Tiago Sousa (teclas) e Travassos (gravações, voz, etc.). E temos o título (da banda e do álbum): Pão (ed. Shhpuma).

Dito isto, e esperando que o desabafo não ofenda ninguém, Pão é um fascinante acontecimento, ao mesmo tempo minimalista e grandioso, contido e intimista, mas também galáctico e sinfónico. Como? E através de quê? Pois bem, seguindo e perseguindo os valores de uma crença radical nas artes frágeis da improvisação — procurando um entendimento da música que se confunde com a criação de um território que, por assim dizer, se vai ampliando à medida que procura reconhecer as suas coordenadas e desenhar o seu mapa. Enfim, uma experiência que se fundamenta em evidentes singularidades de diálogo entre os elementos do trio, ao mesmo tempo que se afirma através de um paciente, elaborado e contagiante universalismo. Maybe in english.

Free Jazz Best of 2012 List (Readers Poll)


This must have been the most boring competition for the HAPPY NEW EARS AWARD we’ve ever had, with the winner in the lead from the first hour to the last, and capturing almost one third of all votes. Eve Risser, Benjamin Duboc and Edward Perraud are the deserved winners with “En Corps”, which already featured on many top-10 of the year lists too. They have indeed given us some novel listening experience. Congratulations to the winners, and to all other contenders for the great music and ear-opening – and mind-opening – musical ideas. Thanks to all voters for their contribution.

CF 249Eve Risser – En Corps (27%)
RED Trio + Nate Wooley – Stem (15%)
Eivind Opsvik – Overseas IV (8%)
Stian Westerhus – The Matriarch (8%)
Tim Berne – Snake Oil (7%)
Thomas Heberer’s Clarino – Cookbook (6%)
Angharad Davies, Tisha Mukarji, Dimitra Lazaridou-Chatzigoga – Outwash (5%) Mikolaj Trzaska’s Ircha – Zikaron Lefanaj (5%)
Evan Parker, Okkyung Lee, Peter Evans – The Bleeding Edge (3%)
Pão – Pão (3%)
Evan Parker’s Electro-Acoustic Ensemble: Hasselt (3%)
Levity – Afternoon Delights (2%)
Katherine Young’s Pretty Monsters (1%)
MMM Quartet – Live at the Metz’ Arsenal (0%)
Bobun – Suite Pour Machines À Mèche (0%)

Gapplegate Music review by Grego Edwards

Pão – Pão (SHH002)
The Portuguese creative music-improv scene today gets a new label to showcase some of the more adventurous sides of what is going on. It’s called Shhpuma. It’s a division of the seminal contemporary label Clean Feed. And I have their second release, Pao (Shhpuma 002), on my player as I write these lines.

Pao is a trio effort featuring Pedro Sousa on tenor sax, Tiago Sousa on keys, harmonium and percussion, and Travassos on live electronics. It’s a heady sort of new music-free improv sound they get, with layers of electronic texture and drone, sometimes aided by harmonium and other keyboard effects, for a tripartite series of soundscapes that places Pedro Sousa’s tenor overtop of the wash playing long notes, subtones, harmonics, unconventional soundings and breaking at certain points into a flurry of avant expression which stands out as significant contrast and musical event.

This is music of adventure, not exactly something to groove out on in some conventional jazzy sense. It is music of sound color, well done for what it is doing, moody, atmospheric. It is not music of a self-assuming sort. No one is trying to amaze you with prowess. It’s all about the sounds. That is fully legitimate (in the sense that it has as much right to exist as bebop or symphonic music) and they leave an impression that is both positive and memorable.

Blow Up Magazine review by Enrico Bettinello

PÃO – Pão (SHH002)
FILIPE FELIZARDO – Guitar Soli For The Moa And The Frog (SHH001)
Forte dell’eccezionale lavoro svolto nell’ambito dell’avant-jazz, l’etichetta portoghese Clean Feed patrocina una nuova sub-lbel dal bel nome Shhpuma e dedicata a proposte portoghesi emergenti nei linguaggi limitrofi alla sperimentazione di matrice jazzistica. Interessanti le prime due uscite: il trio di Lisbona, Pão (Pedro Sousa al tenore, TIago Sousa alle tastiere e il manipolatore elettronico Travassos) esplora mondi espansi in cui dilatazione e irrequietezza free si incontrano, senza timore di sintetizzare l’allucinatorio iterarsi della drone music con l’erratico melodiare degli improvvisatori liberi. Promettono molto bene.

John Fahey da un aparte e la ricerca improvvisativa più avventurosa dall’altra sono i riferimenti del chitarrista Filipe Felizardo, musicista in cui convivono una bluesness senza tempo e il miraggio di spazi desertici punteggiati da asteroidi fantasma. Mica Male!

The Wire review by Bill Meyer

Felipe Felizardo – Guitar Soli For The Moa And The Frog (SHH 001)
Pão – Pão (SHH 002)

Not satisfied with being one of the 21st century’s most productive jazz labels, Lisbon based Clean Feed has spun off a new imprint called Shhpuma. Its first two releases distinguish themselves from the parent company’s output by maintaining only the barest relationship to jazz.

Pão might, if you’re squinting right, look like a jazz trio. Pedro Sousa wields that most iconic of jazz horns, the tenor sax, and Tiago Sousa plays keyboards, harmonium, and percussion. Third member Travassos ruins the image by sitting at a table covered with tape players, circuit-bent appliances, and diverse amplified objects.

Sousa has definitely cocked his ear to the more extrovert side of saxophonic extended technique; his vocabulary of thick flutters and nimble high notes owes a lot to Mats Gustafsson and John Butcher. But Sousa’s keys hew closer to the wide world of contemporary drone, and his percussion works mainly to raise the music’s pitch ceiling, not assert a pulse.

There are points where Travassos’s machinations flicker at the edge of audibility, leaving small abrasions upon the music’s surface; but at other times he joins his partners in a three-layer sandwich of longtone drift. Even at its slowest, the music pursues a forward momentum that enhances its approachability. Like the Scandinavian trio Fire! and the multinational Koboku Senju, they apply sounds legitimised by early generations of European improvisors to more linear ends.

When guitarist Filipe Felizardo plays with Sousa in the trio Acre, his playing is crusty with distortion and savage enough to suggest he’s spent some time listening to the right Sonny Sharrock records. But on his own he steers clear of effects, which makes his links to the blues much clearer. Felizardo juxtaposes harsh, misshapen chords with warped strips of continuous sound that sound like the result of some bowing technique.

The guitarist never utters a word, but his titles position this album as protest. The album is named for one animal wiped out by man and another that is well on the way. The emptiness that rises up over each sound Felizardo plays echoes the spaces that humanity opens around itself as it perpetrates extinction after extinction. But even without the names, the baleful vibe of Felizardo’s playing is compelling.

Le Son du Grisli review by Luc Bouquet

Pão – Pão (SHH 002)
Soit Pão, trio portugais réunissant le saxophoniste Pedro Sousa, le claviériste-percussionniste Tiago Sousa et le manipulateur de bandes et d’objets Travassos.

Petits frères de The Necks, leurs songes sont hypnotiques, lancinants. Leur horizon est de brumes et de nappes. Leurs paysages sont désertés et ne s’y dépose aucune autre harmonie que celle, minimale, s’éternisant sur les trois longues plages du disque. Le saxophoniste ténor module parfois ses effets : le voici prolongeant l’harmonique, caquetant son souffle ou poussant de poignants cris de désolation. Ainsi, passant de l’apaisement à l’épuisement mais ne remettant jamais en cause la tournure originelle, la musique de Pão navigue, impassiblement, en un vaste océan aux troubles et pesantes lenteurs.

Free Jazz review by Philip Coombs

Pão – Pão (Shhpuma 002)
I really like the foreboding intro to this album, the latest release from the new Portuguese label Shhpuma. It straight away sets an ambiance and a suspense, a feeling that you are in for something really good. It’s like there is something in the mud just ahead. You can’t see it yet, but it can see you. It is waiting until you get too involved to turn around and run. It waits until it can make a clean strike. Cymbals crash like dead branches beneath your feet, the saxophone is blowing wind through the trees all around you. Where is it?

Track 2, ‘Dyson Tree’, picks up where track 1 ‘Gods wait do delight in you’ leaves off, with a continuous drone being churned out by Tiago Sousa (keyboards, organ, harmonium and percussion) with a very restrained saxophone implying a melody in the background. Before long, however, your ear is drawn away from the tones and is forced to pay closer attention to the sax solo. Pedro Sousa (tenor saxophone) weaves a wonderfully slow, distraught display of subtlety and places it perfectly into the aural atmosphere constantly being set by Tiago Sousa and Travassos (tapes, amplified objects, circuit bending, voice). Because of this mood and tempo, the solo, thoughtfully, takes its own sweet time to fully develop but throughout its journey, it continues to change, search and explore multiple ideas until it finishes on fire. As track 2 was fading to its conclusion, I was already looking forward to the final and longest track on the recording.

Could what was hiding in the mud be something beautiful after all?

‘It was all downhill after the swing’, starts with Pedro Sousa displaying an orchestras worth of extended technique, chirps, and throaty effects before giving way to the electronics that were building momentum behind him all along. There are moments when the saxophone and the harmonium blend together so well that it becomes difficult to tell them apart. Around the 9 minute mark, the suspense starts to build again as percussion elements take a larger role and big powerful key changes in the tone wall signify a shift in control of the melodic elements of the track. There is a real sense of urgency at play here but no rush, a very important difference indeed. It is an unknown destination with no maps and no time limit but just the feeling that they absolutely have to get there.

Eventually, whatever was in the mud, turns around and heads back very pleased with itself.

Considering that this is only the second release from Shhpuma, they are already proving to have a great set of collective ears which will hopefully translate into longevity and many continued intriguing releases.

JazzWrap review by Stephan Moore

Pao (Shhpuma Records, SHH 001)
A very interesting debut for Portuguese trio, Pao. This is a dark, experimental and at times almost spiritual session, that is more than the sum of its parts. Structured by three long pieces, Pao demonstrates an ability to both calm and intrigue through a series of improvised pieces that still remain distinct and linear.

Opening quietly with gentle chimes and eerie electronic scratches/manipulation and one tone sax chords, “Gods Wait To Do Delight In You” establishes the path in which you are about to take. There are drones and effects that are dense yet mystical. The slow climb is similar in vein to The Necks or even more recently DMP Trio. Closing out “Gods…” is P. Sousa’s haunting sax and Travassos’ undulating electronics which are weirdly soothing.

“Dyson Tree” for me, had an almost Sunday morning church call to it. The effects of T. Sousa’s keyboard provides an organ like operatic sound. While Pedro and Travassos inject an Eastern element into the mix as the tune moves towards it’s middle lyrics. Rich and creative soundscapes happen throughout.

The closing number is my favourite. “It Was All Downhill After The Sling” is rough, gritty and beauty all at once, containing improvised lines that make you feel like your listening to session with Sonic Youth. The patterns never get overly loud. Pao manages to find a way to deconstruct and reorganize in a way that resonates long after the piece is over.

Pao is an exciting and highly creative trio from the new and continually adventurous Portuguese scene that is well worth your investigation. Sometimes you like to use the phrase “this won’t be everyone’s cup of tea”–but every once in a while I think everyone needs to be jarred out of their seat. Go buy this record! Highly Recommended!