Unknown Shores

May 15, 2024

The House of Memory
Fundacja Sluchaj FSR 14/2023

Zwosch, Zwosch & Zwosch
New Wave of Jazz nwoj 0059

Dean and virtually the founder of improvised music in Portugal, violinist Carlos Zingaro, 75, has been forging an individual path since the late 1970s with international artists such as Joëlle Léandre and subsequent generations of local improvisers. Dedicated to Dadaist Kurt Schwitters, Zwosch, Zwosch & Zwosch links the violinist with younger improvisers cellist Guilherme Rodrigues and percussionist José Oliveira. Meanwhile The House of Memory adds Zíngaro and Portuguese cellist Helena Espvall as full contributors to the established trio of Portuguese bass clarinetist João Pedro Viegas and Italians, pianist Silvia Corda and bassist Adriano Orrú. Each is a fine representation of creative music.

That genre’s breathe is easily defined on the quintet disc by contrasting “Answers Without Questions” and the title track. On the first, Viegas’ altissimo squeaks are blended with ratcheting strokes from all three string players at the same time as piano pressure intensifies. Following a gentler interlude, the finale is as tough as the exposition. Songlike without being saccharine, “The House of Memory” depends on simple and elegant piano parsing and patterning with the violinist and bassist contributing singular lyricism as the clarinetist’s chalumeau vibrations add a needed bite to the narrative. Viegas is particularly inspired on “The Country In the Mist” as his clarion strategy of presto slurs and vibrating forward motion is nicely framed by intermittent piano rumbles.

The disc as a whole, that’s bookended by a scene-setting introduction and a relaxed keyboard propelled finale, maintains complete horizontal interconnections, usually via Orrú’s woody string thumps. With that balanced continuum, Zingaro is free to advance frenetic triple stopping and emphasized bent notes; Espvall contributes pizzicato plucks and brief glissandi; and Viegas emphasizes open-ended flutters and peeps. In response, the pianist’s quick vamps or carefully positioned key tinkles shore up allied or avant-garde coordinates.

With a smaller canvas and in trio form on Zwosch, Zwosch & Zwosch, Zingaro, Rodrigues and Olivera translate the onomatopoeia of the title into interactive ingenuity, as the percussionist’s distant rumbles shore up the strings’ affiliated thin squeaks and strained whines.

Before that and throughout the improvisation, the narrative frequently stops and starts with quiet interludes separating the more furious sequences. Those emphasize stressed string squeezes and twangs as well as the percussionist’s metallic crashes, bell-tree-shakes, cymbal ratcheting, wooden smacks and resonating hisses. With delicacy and languor at a minimum, loudness and speed are still balanced by layered tone blending from stacked violin and cello arco buzzes stacked, preserving linear motion. Overall, since melodic interludes such as concave string trills and unexpected percussion gentling as well as more rugged expositions, the selection’s exploratory nature is also emphasized. Timbral contradictions are frequently resolved so the tracks are the aural equivalent of a profound multicolored canvas.

More affirmations, if any more are needed, of Zingaro’s continued creative imagination and the burgeoning skills of Iberian and Mediterranean improvisers are heard on both sessions.

–Ken Waxman

Track Listing: House: 1. Prelude 2. What I See From My Window 3. An Empty Nest 4. Answers Without Questions 5. The House of Memory 6. In Pursuit of Late Identity 7. Searching For the Wild Horse 8. Interlude 9. The Country In the Mist 10. Epilogue

Personnel: House: João Pedro Viegas (bass clarinet); Silvia Corda (piano); Adriano Orrú (bass) with Carlos Zíngaro (violin) and Helena Espvall (cello)

Track Listing: Zwosch: 1. Zwosch, Zwosch & Zwosch

Personnel: Zwosch: Carlos Zíngaro (violin); Guilherme Rodrigues (cello) and José Oliveira (percussion)