Reviews Lisbon Free Unit

Rozbudowane, europejskie składy improwizujące tej jesieni zdają się być w zdecydowanym natarciu! W połowie października, na Krakowskiej Jesieni Jazzowej, debiutował nowy ansambl Barry’ego Guya For The End Yet Again (ach, co to był za debiut!). W ubiegłym tygodniu zachwycaliśmy się na tych łamach doskonałą płytą tentetu Alexa Warda, teraz zaś chwil kilka poświęcimy na omówienie równie ekscytującej propozycji, która zwie się Lisbon Freedom Unit!

Bez cienia wątpliwości, w dziewięcioosobowym składzie orkiestry LFU, odnajdujemy prawdziwy kwiat muzycznej Lizbony. Do pełnej reprezentacji portugalskiej sceny improwizowanej, tej bardziej osadzonej w estetyce free jazzowej, brakuje tu być może jedynie dwóch trąbek, pewnej wiolonczeli, jednego kontrabasu i tyluż gitar *).

Zatem bez zbędnych wstępów, przedstawmy aktorów widowiska. Na gitarze elektrycznej Luis Lopes – muzyk, którego z pewnością uznać należy za moc sprawczą całego przedsięwzięcia, na saksofonach tenorowych – Rodrigo Amado (lewa flanka) i Pedro Sousa (prawa), na saksofonie sopranowym i klarnecie basowym – Bruno Parrinha (środek sceny), na fortepianie i rhodes piano – Rodrigo Pinheiro, na wiolonczeli – Ricardo Jacinto, na kontrabasie – Hernâni Faustino, na perkusji – Gabriel Ferrandini i wreszcie, odpowiedzialny za elektronikę i turntables – Pedro Lopes.

W dniach 4-5 listopada 2015 roku, w lizbońskim Namouche Studio, wyżej wymienieni muzycy zarejestrowali blisko 4-godzinny, improwizowany materiał (uprzedzając pytanie – nic nie wiemy o jakichkolwiek scenariuszach, powstałych przed nagraniem, wszak zgodnie z opisem płyty all music by the musicians). Na krążku o pięknym tytule Praise Of Our Folly (Pochwała Naszego Szaleństwa) odnajdujemy cztery utwory oznaczone cyframi rzymskimi (łącznie 52 minuty i 1 sekunda). Wydawcą jest Clean Feed Records.

1.Brzęk piana, pojedynczej struny kontrabasu, trochę szumu w tubach. Drobiny sonorystyki, kilka strumieni dźwięków nieco bardziej ciągłych. Prychy, rechoty i stemple z klawisza. Filigranowa narracja, która małymi krokami zdobywa czasoprzestrzeń. W 6 minucie po raz pierwszy odzywają się talerze Ferrandiniego. Dla odmiany, partner od elektroniki pozostaje na bardzo dalekim planie, być może zwyczajnie milczy. Improwizacja wije się, jak wąż po podłodze, ale systematycznie narasta. Na flankach błyskotliwie pęcznieją oba saksofony tenorowe. Zwarty, demokratyczny twór przepełniony molekularną interakcją. Po 10 minucie dźwięki uroczo nawarstwiają się, mają coraz gęstszą strukturę. Tuż potem, zwinne wybrzmiewają.

1.Piano, gitara i kontrabas – urywane, cięte frazy, wet za wet, wszystko świetnie skomunikowane. Oto jak wolny jazz potrafi urokliwie kąsać. Doskonały pasaż fortepianu, wyraziste, zadziorne ekspozycje instrumentów strunowych (smyczek na kontrabasie i wiolonczeli). W 5 minucie zapada spontaniczna (?) decyzja o pójściu w półgalop. Dynamika fragmentu chytrze wspierana jest wysoko zestrojonym drummingiem. Na prawym skrzydle wyśmienicie eksponuje się Sousa. Jego saksofon jednocześnie śpiewa i kruszy mury twierdzy. Zresztą cała banda muzyków, jawi się niczym piękne konie w galopie! Struktura narracji jest już tak gęsta (wszyscy muzycy przy instrumentach), że aż trudno uwierzyć, że całość brzmi tak selektywnie i klarownie w wymiarze akustycznym. Wszystko zdaje się być, tak dramaturgicznie, jak i brzmieniowo, świetnie ze sobą skorelowane. Na bogato! Ojciec i syn saksofonu tenorowego Portugalii dają tu prawdziwy popis! Tuż po nich krótka, jazzowa ekspozycja gitary tłumi tę wyjątkowo ekspresyjną opowieść.

III. W ramach introdukcji, grzmot gitary, garść syntetycznych dźwięków, amplifikacja na strunach wiolonczeli. Nonet nabiera innego, bardziej brudnego brzmienia. Włącza się piano rhodes, a przed nami prawdziwie pogmatwane fussion. Od startu gęste, narowiste, krwiste i istotnie głośne. Na flankach znów pyskato! Gitara Lopesa też ma dużo prądu! W 5 minucie robi się z tego prawdziwa ściana dźwięku, w której rozsądek dramaturgiczny muzyków zdaje się szukać punktu zaczepienia i po paru chwilach, znajduje go pomiędzy strunami gitary i równie prądobiorczej wiolonczeli. Następuje silnie tłumienie i wybrzmiewanie, które toczy się na barkach długotrwałych dźwięków elektroniki i armii talerzy Ferrandiniego. To naprawdę długi i efektowny proces. Psychodelia znajduje tu swoje miejsce na ziemi!

1.Wstęp należy do Pedro Sousy. Pełen furii i sonorystyki, kolejny dowód na niebywale wysokie kompetencje tego wciąż młodego saksofonisty z samego krańca świata nowożytnego. Świetnie wchodzi w ten gąszcz dźwięków fortepian Pinheiro. Duet, który w mgnieniu oka staje się triem (Ferrandini!). Eksplozja free jazzu, krew na ścianach! Zaraz potem kontrabas i mamy kwartet! Fire music again! Pozostali muzycy step by steppodłączają się równie podekscytowani, doskonały zaś tenor pcha cały ansambl wprost do nieba! Wrzący tygiel ekspresji (Amado jest równie rozpalony, jak Sousa!), głośny, dynamiczny, gwałtowny! No, a ciągiem dalszym tej historii może być jedynie równie efektowne stopowanie, tu osadzone na gitarze i jej wciąż gorejących strunach. Przestery wspierane są elektroniką. Jakże barwna, niemal metafizyczna eksplozja! Szukamy ciszy i refleksji dramaturgicznej. Wspaniałe małe piano Pinheiro. Sustained streams ze strony wszystkich dęciaków. Muzycy wypatrują psychodelii, ta wpada im prosto w ramiona. Wszystkim na scenie udziela się delikatny trans. Cudowny smyczek na kontrabasie! Ta mocno już spowolniona narracja niespodziewanie zaczyna pęcznieć. Lopes czuwa, ale i dokłada do ognia. Zdaje się tu być prawdziwym mistrzem planu w wymiarze konstruktorskim. Finał tej doskonałej płyty muzycy osiągają dość nagle, aż chce się krzyczeć o więcej. So, let’s press the repeat!

*) dla tego, który trafnie odgadnie, o kim mowa, w nagrodę elektroniczny uścisk dłoni Pana Redaktora!

Andrzej Nowak 

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“Praise Of Our Folly” is one of the newest release of “Clean Feed Records”. Album was recorded by a “LFU (Lisbon Freedom Unit”. This experimental jazz ensemble is formed by famous and creative musicians – it’s Luís Lopes (electric guitar), Rodrigo Amado (tenor sax (left)), Bruno Parrinha (soprano sax & clarinet (center)), Pedro Sousa (tenor sax (right)), Rodrigo Pinheiro (piano & rhodes), Ricardo Jacinto (cello), Hernâni Faustino (double bass), Pedro Lopes (turntables & electronics) and Gabriel Ferrandini (drums & percussion). All musicians of the ensemble have original playing manner and inspiring sound. Their playing style is based on surprising and impressive changes, colorful surprises, bright and provocative musical decisions, modern instrumentation, special effects and various eclectic combinations of music styles, expressions and sounds. Musicians masterfully fuse together various styles of avant-garde jazz – they use the main elements of early avant-garde jazz. All the traditions and basics of 1960 avant-garde jazz are continued and creatively mixed together with experimental and contemporary jazz, electronic music and other music styles. The basics of the compositions are free improvisation and contemporary avant-garde jazz. Natural, organic and marvelous synthesis between various jazz and other music styles make an effort to bright, evocative, new and fresh sound.

“Praise Of Our Folly” is filled with creative, free, evocative and bright improvisations. Musicians are improvising spontaneously and free, they are making original and extraordinary musical decisions. The improvisations are totally based on free structure, polyphonic musical pattern, gorgeous and colorful background, sharp and dynamic harmony, wide range of rhythms, and expressions, bright, especially huge and bordering dynamics and many other elements of musical language. The music is constructed from many different music styles, famous citations from various very well-known compositions, eclectic combinations and bright stylistiv turns. Free improvisation, avant-garde and experimental jazz, bebop, post bop, neo bop and other modern and contemporary jazz styles, cool, fusion, contemporary academical music, experimental and electronic music. All these elements are creatively and organically fused together in one musical pattern. Despite that all these music styles are absolutely different and uncompairable, musicians cordially, expressively and inventively blend them together. The contrasts are the main basic of the album – whole wide and huge palette of sounds, timbres, tunes, colors and expressions are produced here. Musicians are paying attention to instrumentation – they are searching for new and original ways of playing. Specific ways of playing, sound experiments, inventive and extended playing techniques are gently fused together with traditional methodes of improvising. Solid and vibrant melodic section is created by reeds, electric guitar, piano and cello. The musicians are improvising masterfully and cordially – their music is filled with colorful and bright musical decisions. Marvelous and viibrant saxophones and clarinet solos, furiously wild, thrilling and roaring blow outs, expressive, playful, provocative and remarkable melodies, free, spontaneous and moody improvisations – all these elements are the main basics of the improvisations. Reeds section makes an effort to whole sound and musical pattern – it makes live, energetic and dynamic musical pattern and effective, expressive and bright sound. Sensible and tremendous solos or conversations between clarinet and sax are part of the most effective and expressive episodes of whole album. Electric guitar melodies bring hard, harsh, dynamic and interesting sound to the compositions. The music get some elements of modern jazz styles, rock and avant-rock – these mild intonations are gently fused together with basics of avant-garde jazz and experimental music. Piano melodies are very dynamic, moody and bright. Moving, touching and vibrant solos, expressive and colorful harmony, bright and variable rhythmic, energetic and vibrant mood, which is highly contrasting with silent, abstract and soft episodes. Bright, remakable and passionate melodies of cello, dark, deep and monotonic double bass line also make an effort to improvisations. Musicians are making vivacious and dynamic solos – their music is twisted on wide range of bordering and contrasting musical expressions, sounds and timbres. String section effects the melodic section and rhythmic basement – it makes the melodies more bright and intensive and much more colorful, gorgeous, fresh and evocative rhythmic section. The rhythmic section is based on free improvisations, tremendous solos, bright and expressive melodies, oraring, trembling, vibrant and extremely loud culminations, silent and abstract episodes. Drummer is using wide range of different musical expressions and rhythms. He blends all these elements in one place in the most bright, evocative and effective way. The synthetic sounds are produced and mixed together with acoustics – electronics are colorfully and sensibly integrated into the musical pattern. Drone, glitch, sonic system experiments, modificated and alterated sounds, field recordings, voice recordings, computer devices sounds and many other playing techniques of electronics are used here. The music of this album has interesting, evocative and bright sound – it’s made by sensible, impressive, inspiring and touching improvising by creative jazz masters. https://avantscena.wordpress.com/2018/08/17/lfu-lisbon-freedom-unit-praise-of-our-folly-clean-feed-2018/

 
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Olhamos para a formação: Luís Lopes (guitarra eléctrica), Rodrigo Amado (saxofone tenor), Bruno Parrinha (saxofone soprano e clarinete), Pedro Sousa (saxofone tenor), Rodrigo Pinheiro (piano e Fender Rhodes), Ricardo Jacinto (violoncelo), Hernâni Faustino (contrabaixo), Pedro Lopes (gira-discos e electrónica) e Gabriel Ferrandini (bateria e percussão). É uma equipa de luxo, encontramos aqui alguns dos melhores, mais respeitados e reconhecidos músicos portugueses ligados à improvisação livre. Formado por iniciativa do guitarrista Luís Lopes, este dream team reúne a nata dos improvisadores de Lisboa, músicos que têm estado muito activos nesta última década, oriundos de formações como RED Trio, Rodrigo Amado Motion Trio, Humanization Quartet, Garden, EITR, Peter Gabriel Duo, entre outros projectos e grupos ad-hoc. Este improvável noneto, designado Lisbon Freedom Unit (LFU), trabalha uma música puramente assente na improvisação livre. Sem composições ou bases pré-definidas, o grupo desenvolve um diálogo musical que vai evoluindo do zero pelas sugestões individuais, cada um alimentando o propósito de contribuir para o colectivo. Todos músicos com vasta experiência a trabalhar sem rede, Lopes, Amado, Ferrandini e companhia articulam ideias e, sem atropelos, lançam sugestões individuais de cada instrumento para o som comum, sobrepondo camadas, num processo de transformação que vai crescendo de forma contínua.  Exemplo do trabalho de pesquisa e diálogo é o início do segundo tema, que arranca com um diálogo entre piano e contrabaixo, primeiro soam perdidos, procuram pontos em comum, depois vão entrando outros músicos, contribuindo para a massa sonora crescer em volume e intensidade. Já no quarto tema ouvimos a dinâmica típica da improvisação enérgica, aquele rápido crescendo de tensão até chegar a rebentação, com aquela soberba energia que já conhecemos destes músicos, revelada noutros projectos. Os nove músicos expressam a sua facilidade de comunicação instrumental, combinando uma amálgama de vozes e ideias musicais, daí resultando uma música por vezes sensível, delicada, noutros momentos rugosa, bruta. E, com todos os músicos a participarem em simultâneo, chega um verdadeiro turbilhão. Quando, num longínquo futuro, se fizer a arqueologia da música improvisada em Portugal no início do século XX, este disco será um documento fundamental para se entender as dinâmicas da improvisação mais pura. Quem não quiser esperar, poderá ouvir já este disco. Nuno Catarino 

 
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The Lisbon Freedom Unit is a nonet comprising Luís Lopes (guitar), Rodrigo Amado and Pedro Sousa (tenor saxophones, left and right), José Bruno Parrinha (soprano saxophone & clarinet), Rodrigo Pinheiro (piano & rhodes), Ricardo Jacinto (cello), Hernâni Faustino (double bass), Pedro Lopes (turntables & electronics), and Gabriel Ferrandini (drums & percussion). As implied by the Unit’s name, this is a collaborative exercise where there is no leader but a subsumption to group sound and development, an approach to free improvisation probed in the early days of Brit Improv by AMM, the Spontaneous Music Ensemble and the Music Improvisation Company. As Evan Parker has observed, in the most general terms this involved finding ways of melding into the ensemble, most typically by either dissolving instrumental character with an emphasis on layered, commingled textures, or fragmenting individual voices, listening and interrupting using overlapping invitations and responses. Nowadays, and as heard on this album, what might be thought of as the gestalt versus multiple discourse strategies for collective improvisation are regarded as merely different points on a line, options amongst many for exploring group dynamics.

For good reason, this kind of improvisation lacks direction as that usually requires a director or an agreed route, means of organisation which are antithetical to extemporary investigation, though in other contexts they have their place. This doesn’t mean however, that it has no purpose or is devoid of narrative logic. Instead, there’s a procedure best summarised by Winnie the Pooh, “I always get to where I’m going by walking away from where I’ve been”, a non-teleological process of discovering fresh ground, or old ground in new ways, incrementally and from various angles, working with the unpredictable yet avoiding a mere succession of disconnected sounds. In short, creating by unexpected connections rather than making according to a preconceived idea. It’s in the space between the calculated and the chaotic that meaningful activity forms, and different ways of using informed intuition to find and plot that territory are what these four improvisations are about. The musicians are no strangers to such matters. Within the ensemble we find the RED Trio, an exemplar of band integration, the Garden trio, the duo Eitr, two-thirds of Rodrigo Amado’s Motion Trio, and half of the Luís Lopes Humanization 4tet; confirmation, were it needed, that Lisbon is a thriving centre for creative music.

The pieces are simply numbered I to IV, each under 15 minutes. None are ground-breaking – there’s a tendency to promote improvised music as innovative in order to be worthwhile – and the session reflects the traditional virtues of collective focus, alert listening and imaginative input. The ensemble is sonically varied, with sounds acoustic and electronic, plucked and bowed, blown and struck, tuned and untuned. The opening improvisation makes full use of this range in a stark landscape traversed by sounds tentatively connected: an echoing piano frame and damped keys, bass flickers, powdery electronics, percussive chatter and clarinet burbles, and across it all a mist of saxophones that hangs in the air. ‘II’ comes to life with convulsions on piano, bass, cello and guitar, which form themselves into uninterrupted lines that swerve, loop and intersect in ever-accelerating exchanges. The babel reaches a peak when after a long wait the saxophones join the fray, resulting in a burn-out that dwindles into fugitive shapes, disconnected fragments from the previous material floating back to their original state.

Given the levelling-out that takes place, there are times when it’s helpful to disregard what instruments are playing and consider the aggregate, a conglomerate that bustles with variegated life. For listeners as well as musicians, the ear is an extension of the brain and therefore not just a passive receptor but part of our processing equipment. ‘III’ is all scintillating hues and porous boundaries, a whirl of centrifugal and centripetal forces with occasional melodic shards breaking through. The texture is circled by a bleep set on repeat and eventually reduced to a group of low resonances, frequencies that are opened out like a piece of reverse engineering to reveal an inner world of assorted colour and motion.

At one time there was a conscious avoidance of the recognisably idiomatic in free improvisation but the idea that musical personality can be shed is unrealistic, and probably undesirable – memory is more than a simple attic of the mind. Its traces inform and shape the here and now and music cannot exist in a disembodied present. On ‘IV’, saxophones indulge is some hard, free-jazz blowing inducing a kinetic response in the rest of the nonet. As throughout the album, nothing stays the same for long as they’re submerged by repeating patterns at different speeds, themselves transformed into melting layers of sound, decomposed and reconstituted until the close.

The album’s name is a play on the title to Erasmus’ satire of human self-deception and that of his Church, a book that is ironic yet also a recognition of the necessary part our foibles play in life. For the Unit, I suspect the album title carries the suggestion that musically, when approached in the right temper the unplanned is a constructive activity, however foolish that might seem, and that it can bring about those serendipitous moments that are valuable stimulants to the imagination. Or, to revert to Winnie the Pooh, “One of the advantages of being disorganised is that one is always having surprising discoveries”. Yes, Indeed. Colin Green  

 
 
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Lisbon Freedom Unit, assembled by Portuguese guitarist Luís Lopes, is a new group of old friends: saxophonists Rodrigo Amado (tenor) and Bruno Parrinha (soprano), cellist Ricardo Jacinto, bassist Hernâni Faustino and drummer Gabriel Ferrandini; plus two not-so-old friends, both Pedros: Sousa (tenor saxophone) and Lopes (turntables/ percussion). LFU’s debut, Praise of our Folly, is a long suite broken into four movements. With all of these free-thinking cooks in the same kitchen and with Lopes deliberately keeping a low leadership profile, one might predict a culinary turf war, but the nonet, like Sound & Fury, exercises moderation and restraint. Yes, there are screaming food fights, especially during the third movement (“III”), but even then, amid the nervousness and mass scrambling, the tessellated climaxes remain balanced and blended, hitting across all frequency bands.

Tom Greenland  New York City Jazz Record

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I have been covering the Lisbon Avant Improv Jazz Scene on these blog pages essentially since I began the blog these now pretty many years ago. Fir anybody who has been following it (or are already following what is happening there without aid of this blog) there is a kind of summit meeting of some of the very most important practitioners of the art in Lisbon, the first of what one hopes will be many recordings of the group. They are dubbed LFU or Lisbon Freedom Unity and the album is named Praise of Our Folly (Clean Feed CF 480 CD).

It is a set that lives up to the promise of such a gathering. There is Luis Lopes on electric guitar, Rodrigo Amado on tenor, Bruno Parrinha on soprano and clarinet, Pedro Sousa on tenor sax, Rodrigo Pinheiro on piano and Rhodes, Ricardo Jacinto on cello, Hernani Faustino on double bass, Pedro Lopes on turntables and electronics and Gabriel Ferrandini on drums and percussion.

And the four-part program makes for the best sort of free improvisation, where all are attuned to one another and listen while also having each an important vision of what they can bring to each moment. Part One sets the stage with a kind of soundscaped panorama, Part Two rockets off to a pointillistic brilliance by the stringed instruments (that includes piano) and drums and on from there, without looking back and taking no prisoners. The horns join in, we launch skywards and there is memorable and riveting sojourns to places far beyond earth. The sound colors are rainbow-like and the collective contributions are far beyond, more than the sum of each individual part, though everyone can be listened to in focus with profit as well. It exemplifies what a larger group can bring to the freedom ringing.

In short, this is a summit worthy of the name, a rather monumental adventure that anyone who appreciates free improvisation will respond to. If you want to get a feel for what is happening in Lisbon, or even if you already know, this one is star-full! Yes, indeed. Grab this one! Gregory Applegate Edwards

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Luís Lopes is also responsible for what must be the most remarkable collective statement yet to issue from the Lisbon free jazz community, Praise of Our Folly, a four-part 52-minute suite culled (almost magically) by Lopes from four-hours of collective improvisations. LFU, Lisbon Freedom Unit, is a brilliant amalgam of different generations of musicians, complementary conceptions and pre-existent groupings, including Rodrigo Amado from Humanization 4tet, fellow Garden members Bruno Parrinha and Ricardo Jacinto) with the Red Trio of pianist Rodrigo Pinheiro, bassist Hernâni Faustino and drummer Gabriel Ferrandini, whose other allegiances here include membership in Amado’s Motion Trio and the recent duo “Peter Gabriel” with the other tenor saxophonist, Pedro Sousa. The ninth member, turntablist/electronic musician Pedro Lopes, has converted turntables into an advanced electronic percussion instrument.

The work begins with Pinheiro’s sharp blow to the piano’s metal frame, a gesture that couldn’t be more singularly dramatic, launching a movement of quietly swarming strings and percussion. The nonet’s reeds don’t come to the fore until the middle of the second movement when they erupt in a brilliant squall with Parrinha’s soprano stretched between the robust chaos of the two tenors. From there, there proceed numerous distinct zones and evolutions in which the densities of detailed burbling electronics contrast with the intensity of the horns, the two combining to create both coherent musical shapes and multiple points of interactivity among the layers. Within the overarching piece, every musician distinguishes himself, but some make special contributions to the whole: Pinheiro’s lively, transparent piano is a key element in creating an orchestral richness, while Pedro Lopes is particularly successful in translating his individualistic materials to the expanded collective idiom. It’s Luis Lopes’ editorial hand, however, that has carved a composition out of inspired material. Stuart Broomer

http://www.pointofdeparture.org/PoD66/PoD66MoreMoments2.html

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Insérer ce disque sur sa platine [1], c’est soudain comme si notre récent dossier consacré au Portugal s’agitait devant nous avec une joyeuse vigueur désordonnée. Projet mené par le guitariste Luís Lopes, dont l’instrument écorche avec sa sécheresse habituelle le carambolage en cours, le Lisbon Freedom Unit (LFU) est une sorte de manifeste de la liberté absolue et intranquille de cette scène lusitanienne déjà richement dotée : on connaissait notamment le Lisbon Improvisation Players de Rodrigo Amado, que l’on retrouve ici. Le LFU le complète. Il le déborde même, si l’on songe aux choix bruitistes de Luis Lopes et ses amis. Témoin la première partie de ce Praise of Our Folly, où le piano de Rodrigo Pinheiro et les platines de Pedro Lopes rivalisent de créativité avec la guitare. Parfois le silence s’impose, mais il est sur le qui-vive et peut se faire chambouler à tout instant. C’est ce qui oblige à l’écoute profonde et intense.

Comme souvent avec Lopes, c’est la dimension sauvage qui prédomine. Le son s’immisce partout, avec l’inexorabilité d’un lent tsunami chargé de métaux lourds. C’est d’autant plus prégnant ici que les cordes (remarquable travail de Ricardo Jacinto au violoncelle et Hernani Faustino à la contrebasse), l’électronique et les peaux semblent percoler d’un bourdon central, massif et en constante mutation. Ce matériel est constitué des trois soufflants qui se partagent les canaux : à droite, Pedro Sousa souligne et accompagne au ténor les rocailles de la guitare. A gauche, Rodrigo Amado porte le fer, à l’image de « Praise II » en jouant avec le chaos, non sans une certaine délectation. Au centre, Bruno Parrinha tient à la clarinette basse le rôle d’équilibre ou d’inertie, dans une démarche qui n’est pas sans rappeler le Garden qu’il menait avec Luis Lopes et Ricardo Jacinto.

Il serait simple de dire qu’avec ce premier disque du LFU, nous sommes dans l’univers de son leader. Dans cette fragilité poétique qui s’exprime par la rudesse des sons. Mais plus globalement, c’est bien un témoignage du son de l’avant-garde lisboète dont il s’agit. A l’écoute de « Praise IV », alors que Rodrigo Amado s’élance avec agilité dans un chemin tortueux, c’est tout l’orchestre qui le suit sans se soucier du précipice. Du piano à la contrebasse, la musique est véloce, brute, sans concession aucune. Derrière ce free hâbleur que la guitare agrémente de quelques éclats tranchants, il y a toute l’émulation d’une génération dorée qui a su faire des petits et fructifier. La musique de ce nonet est féconde et des plus relevée. On s’en délecte. Franpi Barriaux

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“Praise Of Our Folly” is
even more interesting. It is recorded with a the superensemble,
gathering the cream of the cream of the Lisbon
scene. Obviously, one tends to compare it with Memoria
Uno or Discordian Community Ensemble  yet it is
very dierent. The record is wonderfully recorded with
Rodrigo Amado being heard on the left, Bruno Patihna
in the center, and Pedro Sousa on the right. The record
contain one suite in four movements. “Praise Pt.1” starts
with collective quiet improvisation, full of real and “fake”
sounds, led in some sense by the lonely keystrokes of the
piano of Rodrigo Pinheiro. It is nostalgic and moody
piece, in which saxophones contribute in the rst half essentially
with effects, mouth piece and keys strokes etc.
More defined tones can be heard at the end. “Praise Pt.
2″ stats with prepared piano and guitar lines in dialogue.
They are joined by the drums and cello played pizzicato
(?), and the mood augments. In the sixth minute tenors
and soprano enter, and the whole the starts to boil and
melt at ultrahigh temperatures. The end is traquil again,
in a melancholic ballad style. Wonderful!!!”Praise Pt. 3″ is the most open ad complex track –
it stars with a collective improvisation with fragmented
motifs and plenty of electronic. The mood grows and the
tune becomes a collective, but structured noise of winds
supported by the rest of the nonet. In the middle parts
we return to more peace moods and wonderful electronic
motifs by Pedro Lopes. At the end saxophones and the
clarinet come back delicately. Beautiful!! “Praise Pt.
4″ starts with Pedro Sousa’s tenor saxophone statement
(on the right) supported by the piano and guitar. Then
the drums enter and track attains a “traditional” free
jazz character. At some instance soprano of Bruno and
the tenor of Rodrigo Amado join. After an orgasm of
winds, the mood lowers an we can hear piano and guitar
and some electronics. At the end some kind of hymn
motifs are build creating very monumental ad majestic
atmosphere. With his recent recording Luís Lopes proves that he
is one of the most interesting free improvising musicias not only on the Peninsula, but much more, more further. Maciej Lewenstein

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History has repeatedly demonstrated that it may be foolish to bring together large numbers of musicians without any form of roadmap. Those who have set out the slender case for the opposing view include the Globe Unity Orchestra and Peter Brötzmann’s Chicago Tentet, but not many more. To that number should now be added the Lisbon Freedom Unit, a summit meeting of Portuguese talent, convened by guitarist Luis Lopes. It helps that so many accomplished improvisers are on hand, such familiar names as saxophonist Rodrigo Amado and the members of the RED Trio, as well as the less-storied like reedman Pedro Sousa, whose Casa Futuro (Clean Feed, 2015) was an overlooked gem. 

Critical to their success is a willingness to subsume ego at the appropriate times in the service of the greater good, allied to an acute feel for when to step forward. Add to that musical expertise in placement, selection of pitch and volume, and mastery of texture. All these positives are embodied in “I.,” the first of four collective journeys recorded in the studio in 2015. It begins with a pointillist melange of flutters, piano strikes, hums and susurrations, which gradually builds in density without ever breaking into a recognisable solo, yet manages to derive an emotional weight from the richness of detail, delivered at glacial pace. 

“II.” reveals the ensemble’s ability to forge ahead meaningfully at speed. Piano, strings and drums supply a spiky bedrock, combining with guitar to propulsive but arrhythmic intent. As momentum accrues, the horns join, with Sousa’s tenor in what might be simultaneous soloing with Bruno Parrinha’s soprano and Rodrigo Pinheiro’s piano, but might equally well be a saxophone duet with comping, or some other arrangement entirely. It is open to interpretation and can sound different on each pass depending where the listener chooses to focus attention. What remains unchanged is the sense of adventure and excitement which it engenders. 

Such episodes of ambiguity abound in this program, not least in the high energy “IV..” Sousa again impresses, evoking a particularly impassioned Evan Parker with his chuntering tenor, before a triumvirate of reeds takes command. There follows a lengthy low-key but nuanced withdrawal in which communal action prevails. By the end, the only conclusion is that without doubt we should wholeheartedly give thanks for the folly overcome which this disc represents. John Sharpe

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A free-form super session among some of the most accomplished of Lisbon’s Free Music practitioners, this four-track, nonet recording invokes more praise than consideration of folly. Edited from four hours of music recorded at two local clubs, the cast of characters is notable. The conventional rhythm section consists of members of the RED trio: keyboardist Rodrigo Pinheiro, bassist Hernâni Faustino and drummer Gabriel Ferrandini. One tenor saxophonist is Rodigo Amado, who has a long history with guitarist Luis Lopes, who has also worked with the likes of Christian Lillinger and Ferrandini. The other tenorist, Pedro Sousa has recorded with Johan Berthling. Clarinetist/saxophonist Bruno Parrinha and cellist Ricardo Jacinto have recorded with Lopes, while electronic manipulator Pedro Lopes has worked with Sousa and Pinheiro.

Establishing the parameters among wave form crackles, piano string stops, horizontal air blowing through the reeds, percussion squeaks, Arco swipes and guitar flanges, the unit doesn’t accede to full energetic intensity until the second track, That massed assault then takes place with the power of an armored tank pushing through a stone fence. By that point hunt-and-pick pianism evolves in counterpoint to drum pitter-patter and tremolo cello slices creates a continuum for frails, fills, plinks and twangs from the guitarist while the three saxophonists launch gobs of stuttering squeaks and cries. Reaching a climax of glissandi snarls and juddering glossolalia, the three reedists separate, with the two lower pitched ones concentrating on honking and Sousa’s soprano providing a sweetened coda. Metronomic keyboard buffeting maintains the ambulatory line throughout the remaining selections, despite volcanic detonations of signal-processed swizzles and radio-signal-like static oscillations, croaking flutter tonguing from the reeds and unceasing stringed instruments’ strumming. The polyphonic exposition is so heightened that a few human screams can be hard among the sonic commotion that finally diminishes so a wispy reed flutter can introduce the final track.

Evolving with nuanced rapier-like thrusts rather than the broadsword-like swats of some earlier passages, the resulting narrative is both slinky and speedy, as reeds move from false-register lowing to triple tonguing, matched by Pinheiro’s kinetic comping at player-piano speeds. As the overlapping pressure subsides, methodical syncopation from the piano, resplendent reed shakes and sul tasto cello elaborations signal a descent to a relaxed finale.

Not only an electrifying Free Music romp, Praise of Our Folly also presents a cast of musical characters who can be researched for future reference.

Ken Waxman