March 29, 2020
Double on the Brim
Perhaps after it lost its cachet in ever-trendy New York, Energy Music went off to hide in Montréal, Lisbon and/or Brazil. At least that’s the impression conveyed by Double on the Brim. For except for some technical developments which mark this as a 21st Century session, the six tracks could have cut during Free Jazz’s 1960s heyday when it literally was The New Thing. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. The quintet members bring a depth of emotion and improvisational smarts to their creations.
Recorded in the Portuguese capital, three of players are natives: trumpeter Luís Vicente, cellist Miguel Mira and drummer Paulo J. Ferreira Lopes. Portugal-based, the first two have played with many local and international artists including Carlos Zingaro and Rodrigo Amado. Based in Montréal, the drummer is most frequently partnered with pianist Karoline Leblanc, who is Canadian born. Brazilian saxophonist Yedo Gibson has been a peripatetic force throughout Europe, playing in many ensembles with everyone from Steve Noble to Cor Fuhler. Throughout this CD though the five demonstrate their connection, often with Aylerian upsurges from both horns; clattering drumming; double bass-like cello pulses; and piano strategies that encompass high-pitched clips and clanks and darker pulses from the instruments’ nether regions.
Aviary-pitched vamps from Gibson on each of his three horns and Vicente’s flutter tongued variations are some of the CD’s hallmarks. On the extended “Anthropic Jumble” for instance, the trumpeter’s peeps and cries are mixed with the tenor saxophonist’s slurs and snorts and string slices from Mira preserving fluid forward motion. Complementing and challenging them are the pianist’s arpeggiated runs that with rolling glissandi sometimes default into semi-Stride. A crescendo of multi-fingered keyboard prods to theme variations arrive next along with exposition expansion which is further fragmented by the saxophonist’s honks and tongue slaps. “Transmission”, Vicente’s trumpet feature, confirms his versatility with diversions into murmuring flutters as well as strident kazoo-like snarls. Yet before he creates an undulating coda of foghorn-low pitches, Leblanc’s rollout of steadying chords solidifies the sequence. With Gibson often overblowing while producing split tones and Lopes’ constant slaps and thumps, the energetic pace is maintained throughout, but never at the expense of coherence.
Overall, besides serving as a demonstration of the quintet’s evolutionary skills, Double on the Brim is a confirmation of the continued evolution and value of intense free playing.
Track Listing: 1. In the Bloom 2. Anthropic Jumble 3. Singra Alegria 4. Jaggy Glide 5. Double on the Brim 6. Transmission
Personnel: Luís Vicente (trumpet); Yedo Gibson (soprano, alto and tenor saxophones); Karoline Leblanc (piano); Miguel Mira (cello) and Paulo J. Ferreira Lopes (drums)