Reviews RED trio & Celebration Band

This two-CD set documents a 2018 concert marking the tenth anniversary of Lisbon’s RED’s trio: pianist Rodrigo Pinheiro, bassist Hernâni Faustino and drummer Gabriel Ferrandini. It’s a longstanding band of equals, creating a three-way music in one of the most traditional formats in jazz. Since its inception, the group has distinguished itself not only in terms of the piano trio, but also as a superb collaborative unit, including a series of quartet recordings with John Butcher, Mattias Ståhl and Nate Wooley.

This commemorative concert combines the trio with the Celebration Band, a pool of 13 musicians, and employs the title Suite to link three pieces, each trio member composing/structuring his individual ensemble and segment. The pool includes both RED trio collaborators from previous tours ‒ Butcher (who appears twice) and Mattias Ståhl (a constant along with the trio itself) ‒ and 11 Lisboan associates from whom each trio member will choose four or five. While each piece covers a range of improvisational practices, each member creates a kind of self-portrait, but one realized by nine or ten musicians.

Rodrigo Pinheiro’s work resides at the intersection of free improvisation and high modernism, with quicksilver meetings of design, impulse and chance. Along with Butcher, Ståhl and Red Trio, he draws on several musicians associated with Creative Sources Records’ large ensembles: violist Ernesto Rodrigues, electronic musician Carlos Santos and alto saxophonist Nuno Torres, along with trumpeter Luis Vicente and cellist Ricardo Jacinto. “Corrente” (chain) begins at the edge of inaudibility until Ernesto Rodrigues’ skittering, splintering viola and Ricardo Jacinto’s plucked cello emerge against the plosives of Faustino’s bass, all eventually linked by the swirl of Ståhl’s abstracted vibraphone and Pinheiro’s drum-like prepared piano. The work stretches to 33 minutes, momentarily thinning, becoming more spacious, then creating contrasting phases of dense activity.

Butcher brings complex multiphonics to a field in which Pinheiro, Faustino and Ferrandini are the initial links. The other winds enter against splashes of piano, and there’s a sudden trio of Butcher, Torres and Vicente, spinning rapid lines knotted with flutters, bleats and choked shrieks, continuous threads formed in the rapid overlapping of compound events. A previously unheard sound occurs, between run and blip, so strange it takes relistening to yield Santos’s identity. Ferrandini has become a master of rapid, complex storms, sometimes drumming so quietly it can be mistaken for precipitation and making a trio of electronics, bowed cello and drum kit seem perfectly plausible. Red Trio is so highly attuned, yet open, that visitors can move with and through it in ways that suggest membership, Ståhl and Pinheiro at times creating the illusion that they are one another’s supplementary limbs. There’s a collective musical wisdom at work here, from the slow-quick-near-silence of Butcher’s soprano to Faustino’s bass as a central pivot amidst the swirl. Vicente’s point and edge stand out, as things somehow soften to a walk amidst field noise and some advanced collectivist sputter, a music containing various levels of quiet and pulse that have somehow synchronized.

Drummer Gabriel Ferrandini has spread his musical interests into several areas: free improvisation, jazz, noise rock and composition and his group make-up on the 28-minute “Mais Vale” (more value) represents those associations. Tenor saxophonist Rodrigo Amado and cellist Miguel Mira are here from Motion Trio; Other long-time associates are sometimes distant rock/noise bands: tenor saxophonist Pedro Sousa (also from the tuneful and subtle trio of Volúpias [Clean Feed] with Ferrandini and Faustino, and numerous other associations), percussionist David Maranha (from a percussion duo) and vocalist/ electric bassist Miguel Abreu (from the band Caveira).

“Mais Vale” begins with spacious, somber piano chords hanging in air, resonance massaging time as overtones die away and new tones are added, all strongly suggestive of Morton Feldman’s piano music and superbly articulated by Pinheiro. Ferrandini has demonstrated a knack for spacious, minimalist melodic composition (see Volúpias) in which reverie and menace can seem like intimates, unlikely but oddly secure. He has also ventured far into other idioms, some of which appear here. One of the principal elements is a vocal part, Abreu repeating an echoing phrase, almost a dirge, that hangs, for this listener, between hypnotic and irritating, something that may be a result of the mix or more likely the original hall acoustics. While it may compromise the ultimate effect of the piece, there’s much that’s brilliant here, including Amado’s extended tenor solo, almost a monotone of rapid-fire tonguing, like sped-up speech operating within the narrowest spectra of inflected pitch. There’s also a mercurial vibraphone solo, during which Ferrandini and Ståhl seem to pass through one another’s voices.

The longest work at 42:11, Faustino’s “Ditirambo” occupies the second of the two CDs. The band includes Butcher and Ståhl but its distinguishing mark is the presence of Sei Miguel, the pocket trumpeter who is almost a father figure to Lisboan free jazz, an introspective musician whose shafts of sound can be at once muffled and spiky and who appears here with his long-time partner Fala Mariam on trombone. The other musicians are Santos on electronics and Jacinto on cello, making this the hardest of these ensembles to characterize. It hardly matters. Like Sei Miguel, Faustino’s roots run deep in free jazz and the music is ultimately a triumph of these extended roots.

“Ditirambo” begins with a long stretch by the trio itself, richly dramatic, gestural music in which the three display the near telepathic empathy that can develop between musicians who play together for over a decade in multiple contexts. The first additional voice to enter is Butcher’s, at once machine-like and warm, elegiac and multiply-traditioned. It’s a mark of good improvisors that they can find the richest common ground available, and that is what every one in this band ultimately does, reflecting but not disturbing common roots that run to blues, Ornette, bop, Mingus, and some diverse version of swing. There is a long minimalist stretch towards the end when very few musicians are playing, but the sonic detail is so subtle as to blur bass, piano, drum, saxophone, and electronics together. Gradually welling pedal points call up a wondrously Mingus/ Ellington texture (where many bassists’ hearts reside). Though unexpected in the preceding terrain, it’s all achieved with no small thanks to trombonist Fala Miriam, whose subtly guttural smears and wails summon up voices like Britt Woodman and Quentin Jackson. The roiling piano and vocalic brass pull up something of unthinkable drama and tradition, a measure of the musicians’ and Faustino’s depth of musical personality, a dream of soul and community that can never be ideally realized but which cannot be escaped.

Lisbon is a remarkable outpost for improvising orchestras, from the continuously evolving ensembles of Ernesto Rodrigues and brilliant one-offs like Luis Lopes’ Lisbon Free Improvisation Unit in which many of these musicians play. RED trio + Celebration Band is another important development. Stuart Broomer


The Portugues RED trio is without a doubt one of the best piano trios in Europe. The trio of Rodrigo Pinheiro on piano, Hernani Faustino on bass and Gabriel Ferrandini on drums has received a lot of positive reviews over the years on our blog.

For their first album on Clean Feed in 2010, I wrote “It is incredible what kind of emotional depth and sonic visions this trio creates, out of nowhere, out of nothing“. It was no surprise that they were also open to add other musicians to join them at concerts, or the other way round, other musicians were interested in performing with them: John Butcher (“Empire“), Nate Wooley (“Stem“), Matthias Ståhl (“North And The Red Team“). Other albums are “Rebento” (2013), “Mineral” (2015), “Summer Skyshift” (2016).

Now, four years later, we get this memorable album with the “celebration band”, an ad hoc group of musicians, primarily also from Portugal but with the addition of some partners on the previous albums such as John Butcher and Matthias Ståhl. The other members are Sei Miguel and Luís Vicente on trumpet, Fala Mariam on trombone, Pedro Sousa and Rodrigo Amado on tenor saxophone, Nuno Torres on alto saxophone, Ernesto Rodrigues on viola, Ricardo Jacinto and Miguel Mira on cello, Carlos Santos on electronics, Miguel Abreu on voice and electric bass, and David Maranha on percussion.

The performance was recorded to celebrate their tenth anniversary at the Teatro Maria Matos in February 2018. The theater itself commissioned the concert “Suite“, a work in three acts, each written by one of the three founding members, and deliberately composed for the ensemble mentioned above.

The first track, called “Corrente” is written by Rodrigo Pinheiro, as an half hour long magnificent piece for the ensemble, and it by itself can be considered a suite, with its varying subthemes and thematic shifts, ranging from slow fragile textures to intense and dense interaction, with all restraints dropping away near the end of the improvisation. The second track, “Mais Vale“, is written by Ferrandini, and is for me a disappointment. It is less complex in texture, more pychedelic in its delivery, and the vocals are a complete letdown. I understand that this is a very subjective appreciation, but it creates a totally different musical universe than what we are used from the band.

Luckily, the third track, “Ditirambo“, composed by Faustinho, makes up for this. The piece is more than 42 minutes long and spectacularly good. Again, with this length, it cannot do any different than to bring a lot of variation. It starts slowly with the trio gradually creating their music out of little sonic ingredients, barely audible, which get more voice and volume for the first eight minutes: the trio as we know and admire them, creative, intense, mesmerising. Then some of the other instruments join, adding different layers to the already dense sound, which comes to a silent stand-still, offering the stage to the horns, with Sei Miguel and Fala Mariam setting up a sad dialogue challenged by the electronics of Carlos Santos and then Butcher’s sax. It evolves in unpredictable ways, navigating silence, then moving forcefully into full band power and volume, then to silence again, and leading us to a grand finale of bright and expansive music: a wonderful closure to celebrate the 10 years of the RED Trio.

Get the double CD. You will love it.  Steff Gijssels 





Since its inception in 2008 the RED trio has been one of Portugal’s foremost improvising ensembles. Pianist Rodrigo Pinheiro, bassist Hernâni Faustino and drummer Gabriel Ferrandini stand upon the shoulders of the egalitarian trio legacy of pianists Bill Evans, Paul Bley and Howard Riley; no-one leads, no-one follows, but, paradoxically, all three move as one. To celebrate a decade’s existence, a noteworthy milestone for a free jazz combo, the principals convened with former and current collaborators, in Lisbon, in early 2018; this double-disc album exhibits the outcome.
As a departure from the improvised norm, each member brought a chart for interpretation with a subset of the assembled company. Working with invited guests has been a fruitful tactic for the outfit, which maintains its identity while at the same time expanding its emotional reach, resulting in Empire (NoBusiness, 2011) and Summer Skyshift (Clean Feed, 2016) with British saxophonist John Butcher, and North And The Red Stream (NoBusiness, 2014) with Norwegian vibraphonist Mattias Ståhl. Both Butcher and Ståhl reappear here, along with luminaries from the fertile Portuguese scene such as Rodrigo Amado and Luis Vicente.
Each piece utilizes a different but overlapping cast, and each uses them in slightly different ways, revealing varying approaches to the conundrum of how to organize a large group of improvisers. While the numbers directed by Pinheiro and Faustino most resemble the RED Trio writ large, Ferrandini’s contribution points more towards some of his solo dates, such as the sort of moody, carefully calibrated terrain investigated on Volupias (Clean Feed, 2019).
Pinheiro’s half-hour opening, “Corrente,” presents a seamless series of instrumental combinations in quick-witted interplay. It begins with tinnitus level electronics from Carlos Santos which develop into a tangle of string plucks, sorties and taps from the threesome of Faustino, violist Ernesto Rodrigues and cellist Ricardo Jacinto. Perhaps inevitably, the brightest spots arrive when the RED trio itself comes to the fore, at two points during the proceedings, first with Butcher and later Ståhl. The track finally builds to a seething ensemble, with Vicente’s brassy shimmer a prominent texture before descending into murmurs then silence.
Faustino’s 42-minute “Ditirambo” unfolds in an episodic succession of small group interactions, with the first nine minutes devoted to the RED trio alone, albeit initially distributed in unusual formation. The cut opens with bass and piano strikes set amid space, inaugurating a drum solo which gradually gathers momentum and mass like a boulder tumbling down a hillside, demonstrating once again Ferrandini’s tremendous talent as an improvising percussionist.
Pinheiro adds percussive dampened piano and, suddenly, the trio is in glorious spate before being augmented by Jacinto’s wavering cello. Butcher is at the heart of several memorable moments, notably when his grasshopper chirping soprano saxophone is engaged in triple-pronged conversation by Fala Maram’s trombone and Sei Miguel‘s trumpet, then later in a bristling duet with Ferrandini. The piece concludes with the gentle pulsing of the essential triumvirate supplemented by an uplifting horn swell, which becomes a swirling rubato tutti to cap a remarkable performance.
Ferrandini’s 28-minute “Mais Vale” provides a striking contrast to the other two works, drawing on his interest in electronics, composition and noise. The voice of electric bassist Miguel Abreu, a pronounced feature in a doomy atmospheric-laden dirge, will probably prove the litmus test for many listeners. After a terrific start comprising slowly modulating piano tolling, which brings to mind Morton Feldman, Ferrandini marshals his band at a controlled simmer. The slow procession unfolds for glinting vibraphone, flinty cello picking and a buzzy circular-breathed saxophone squawk. But even though he has considerable firepower at his disposal, in the form of the twin tenors of Amado and Pedro Sousa, he ensures that the needle never flickers into the red.

With such disparate centrifugal forces at play, there is no guarantee the band will continue as a unit but, while awaiting any further reunion, this winning set will more than suffice.  John Sharpe



Portugal may be a small country located at Europe’s southwestern corner, but in the 21st century its improvisational music community has punched above its weight. The members of RED trio — pianist Rodrigo Pinheiro, bassist Hernâni Faustino, and drummer Gabriel Ferrandini — are vigorous participants in that scene. The trio formed in 2007 from a shared commitment to make music that is in a continual state of becoming. In its early years, that took the form of frequent private encounters, which the group recorded in order to be able to examine and discuss their own music. Then the trio went on to perform frequent, freely improvised sets, sometimes on their own but often with guests. In 2018, the group celebrated not only its longevity, but its network of affiliations, by inviting 14 musicians from Sweden, England and Portugal to perform Suite 10 Years Anniversary.

This event posed two creative challenges. First, how should the trio honor its tradition of ongoing change? And second, how does one get the most out of 17 improvisers? The solution to both questions was to have each member of RED trio bring in a composition that is structured enough to ensure some cohesion, but open enough to let surprises occur. Ranging in length from 28.13 to 42.12, each piece gives its participants plenty of room to maneuver. And since no track has more than ten musicians, interpersonal as well as structural flux comes into play.

Another RED trio commitment is the determination to operate in a democratic fashion, avoiding the keyboard and rhythm section dynamics of your average piano trio. Pinheiro’s “Corrente” flirts with disruption of that rule by placing his piano at the music’s center. But his rumbling presence provides more sonic foundation than authoritarian direction, with subsections of horns and percussion swirling and subsiding like a ballet performed atop a mesa by a troupe of tornadoes. Ferrandini’s “Mais Vale” scales another height — the tower of song. Electric bassist “Miguel Abreu’s” narcotized moan threads threw a quietly uneasy soundscape like an undead traveler navigating some valley where the sun never reaches the ground. The trio has the first ten minutes of Faustino’s “Ditirambo,” which takes up all of the album’s second disc, to itself. During that time the music rises from hushed stillness to unstable agitation, then subsides once more to stillness. From that pause issues a thread of small groups, sometimes of guests, other times guided by subsets of RED Trio. Each new ensemble speaks in a different improvisational dialect, illustrating the variability that has sustained the group through a decade of exploration and invention. Bill Meyer



In February 2018, Lisbon’s RED trio gathered friends from Portugal and beyond to record a tenth anniversary suite. Across the three parts, RED are joined by combinations of saxophone, trumpet, trombone, vibraphone, cello and electronics. Pianist Rodrigo Pinheiro’s “Corrente” has a beautiful feature for vibist Mattias Stahl, and an animated conversation between the horns in which Luís Vicente’s spit valve trumpet takes a star turn. Featuring Miguel Abreu’s haunted vocals, drummer Gabriel Ferrandini’s “Mais Vale” is a slow crawl of piano clusters and abstracted blues, like Jandek via Morton Feldman. Bassist Hernâni Faustino’s “Ditirambo” has a similar preoccupation with space, as Pinheiro’s questioning chords give way to Ferrandini’s skittering heralds the introduction of the other players, but even in the more dramatic ensemble passages, there’s an eerie sense of drift. Stewart Smith, Wire Magazine 



A truly monumental celebrations of the tenth anniversary of one of the most important formations of the Portuguese scene, whose discography is largely missing in this book. The band includes also international collaborators of the trio, like John Butcher and Mattias Ståhl. The celebration band include cream of the cream of the Portuguese scene and everybody has an opportunity to show her(his mastery. The suite consists of three parts of very different character. 33 minutes long “Corrente” by Rodrigo starts with a string fragment in a chamber music style, with a growing piano’s role. The winds enter then with strong riffs and collective improvisations. The support of drums and percussion, including vibes is remarkable. The piano with the vibes have a kind of solo/duo in the final part, although everything here is a joint effort. Before the final eruption of the band is cut suddenly and the second part, there are beautiful soprano saxophone and trumpet statements. The second part is “Mais Vale” by Gabriel Ferrandini that lasts a little over 28 minutes. It starts with a tranquil minimalist piano cadenza. After five minutes winds and strings enter, as well as Miguel Abreu with his psychedelic voice. Drumming plays in all that extremely important role shaping spacial character of the whole music. Around the 14th minutes the bass and vibes have their time, but Miguel returns with a beautiful support of the winds. Beautiful, meditative, trance music!!!

The final “Ditirambo” is by Hernâni Faustino, and it starts with a peaceful piano – bass dialogue, supported by delicate drumming and electronic. Hernâni then starts his solo statement, but soon is joined by the piano and the bass — a “classic” RED trio.

After another quiet fragment led by percussion and bowed bass, the winds enter: I would say the first is Rodgigo with his characteristic “m uting the saxophone with his leg”. But then more instrument appear, including the trombone, a trumpet and more. The drums return supporting a tenor sole and become very powerful for a while. Another beautiful, even “melodic” fragment starts led by Mattias Ståhl and Rodrigo. In the 27th minute the section starts a fast “walking bass” supports for the trombone and trumpet duo.

The mood tranquilizes again, to explode in the final reading of the theme by the RED trio, the brass and the saxophones.

For me one of the most important recordings of the Lisbon scene in this century!!!\\ Maciej Lewenstein


Obra de fôlego, esta, e em todos os aspectos: em primeiro lugar o fôlego que é necessário para suster um projecto tão desafiante como este por uma década, assegurando a manutenção da vibração primordial em cada novo passo, seja em estúdio ou em cima do palco; depois, a própria amplitude da banda convocada para a celebração dessa década de disruptiva e criativa actividade: são 14 os músicos convocados!!; finalmente, o tremendo fôlego das três peças que se espraiam por dois CDs e que juntas somam mais de 100 minutos de pura invenção sonora.

O concerto foi o resultado de uma encomenda do Teatro Maria Matos (ainda se lembram de como era o Teatro Maria Matos…?) e deu ao trio de Rodrigo Pinheiro (piano), Hernâni Faustino (contrabaixo) e Gabriel Ferrandini (bateria) a possibilidade de convocar para tamanha celebração uma banda com Sei Miguel (trompete), Luís Vicente (trompete), Fala Mariam (trombone), John Butcher (saxofones tenor e soprano), Pedro Sousa (saxofone tenor), Rodrigo Amado (saxofone tenor), Nuno Torres (saxofone alto), Ernesto Rodrigues (viola), Ricardo Jacinto (violoncelo), Mattias Stahl (vibrafone), Carlos Santos (electrónica), Miguel Abreu (voz e baixo eléctrico) e ainda David Maranha (percussão).

Para este dilatado ensemble, cada um dos membros do trio assina uma composição. “Corrente” foi concebida por Rodrigo Pinheiro, peça com quase 33 minutos, de vibração pronunciada, ainda que com diferentes graus de intensidade – por volta dos 21 minutos, por exemplo, depois de dramáticas secções, o piano assume uma clara dianteira, dialogando com o vibrafone de Mattias Stahl, em primeiro lugar, antes do sopranode John Butcher se juntar à “festa”, numa passagem que bem poderia figurar na partitura de uma qualquer peça de música contemporânea, o que atesta bem do inventivo poder do pianismo de Pinheiro.

É também com o piano de Rodrigo Pinheiro que arranca “Mais Vale”, a composição de Gabriel Ferrandini, em tom solene, como se as notas emulassem as badaladas de um relógio que nos diz que é chegada uma qualquer hora especial. O piano mantém-se solitário por vários minutos, apenas umas parcas notas e as suas sombras harmónicas, antes do espaço começar a ser povoado à sua volta, um drone soprado, estilhaços percussivos, outras frequências, a voz de Miguel Abreu, sombria e espectral. De progressão lenta, este tema é feito da tensão com a pressão do próprio tempo, de resistência, de vagar, mas evolui e apressa o passo quando mais um diálogo é estabelecido pelo vibrafone de Mattias Stahl, desta vez com a bateria de Ferrandini. A entrada do zunido insectóide de um saxofone faz subir o tom de tensão que precede mais uma quebra dinâmica que lança o tema numa direcção mais introspectiva que traz de volta a voz murmurada de Miguel Abreu para um final de crescente abstracção. Talvez a mais intrigante das três composições, esta.

A peça final fica reservada para o segundo CD e é a mais longa, ultrapassando os 42 minutos. “Ditirambo”, que tem assinatura de Hernâni Faustino, convoca, além do contrabaixo do compositor, pois claro, os instrumentos dos outros dois membros do trio, o piano de Pinheiro e a bateria e percussões de Ferrandini, e é a eles que cabe a abertura, plena de silêncios recortados por esparsos sons. A eles hão-de juntar-se depois Sei Miguel, Fala Mariam, John Butcher, Ricardo Jacinto, Mattias Stahl e Carlos Santos. Pinheiro protagoniza um incrível solo ainda antes do primeiro quarto da peça se cumprir, devidamente secundado pelos seus dois companheiros; num segundo “andamento”, regressa-se ao silêncio e convocam-se sopros e farrapos de electrónica para pintarem de negro um espaço já quase sem luz, mas que se vai progressivamente abrindo. E é esse jogo de contrastes, entre a luz e a penumbra, e entre o silêncio e a barragem harmónica, entre o sussurro e o grito, dinâmicas que pontuam este “Ditirambo”, que se evolui até um final “free” de convocatória geral, espécie de êxtase colectivo que traduz da melhor maneira o espírito original do trio, que só sabe tocar em modo de entrega absoluta, sempre no vermelho, sem concessões. Que venham mais 10 anos, pelo menos, pois claro. Rui Miguel Abreu 



Den Portugisiske trioen RED trio, hørte jeg første gang live på den nydelige utendørsfestivalen Jazz em Agusto i Lisboa i 2015. Da gjorde de en konsert med saksofonisten John Butcher, og mens flyene gikk inn for landing på byens flyplass rett over hodene på oss (gud forby om de hadde booket Keith Jarrett!) i kveldsvarmen, og de avleverte en strålende, frittgående konsert. Denne konserten ble senere utgitt på plate under tittelen Red Trio & John Butcher «Summer Skyshift» på Clean Feed, og anmeldelsen kan du lese HER.

Den 10. februar 2018 feiret RED  trio sitt eget 10 årsjubileum med en konsert i Teatro Maria Matos. Og til denne feiringen hadde de satt sammen et «Celebration Band» som skulle være med på å gjøre feiringen til en større «happening».

I trioen finner vi pianisten Rodrigo Pinheiro, bassisten Hernâni Faustino og trommeslageren og perkusjonisten Gabriel Ferrandini, og i jubileumsbandet hadde de hentet inn en rekke gode, musikalske venner som var med på å gjøre denne «happeningen» til noe spesielt. Her hadde de hentet inn trompeterne Sei Miguel og Luís Vicente, trombonisten Fala Mariam, saksofonistene John Butcher, Pedro Sousa, Rodrigo Amado og Nuno Torres, bratsjisten Ernesto Rodrigues, cellistene Ricardo Jacinto og Miguel Mira, vibrafonisten Mattias Ståhl, Carlos Santos på elektronikk, vokalisten og el.bassisten Miguel Abreu og perkusjonisten David Maranha, til å fremføre dette tredelte verket fordelt på to CDer, med «Pinheiros «Corrente» og Ferrandinis «Mais Vale» på den første CDen, og Faustinos «Ditirambo» på den andre. Besetningen skifter litt fra låt til låt, slik at alle musikerne ikke er på scenen samtidig, men det er ingen grunn til å nevne de enkeltes medvirkning på hver låt, for lydbildet er temmelig likt gjennom alle de tre delene.

Og det starter langt der nede med elektronikk og trioen i et samspill hvor det føles som de prøver seg litt fram innenfor det frittgående landskapet. Men etter hvert vokser musikken ettersom flere av musikerne slutter seg til, og jeg føler vi er inne i et landskap hvor mange større ensembler innenfor den friere improvisasjonsmusikken befinner seg. Dette er en historie som, i alle fall for meg, går tilbake til den spede begynnelsen til Jazz Composers Orchestra med Carla Bley og Michael Mantler i front, og de større ensemblene og sammenhengene man har hørt pianisten Cecil Taylor i. Særlig synes jeg det gjør seg gjeldende i Pinheiros utmerkede pianospill, særlig på den første sekvensen.

Dette er en gjeng fritt improviserende musikere fra Portugal, med et par avstikkere til England og Sverige, som virkelig kan lytte til hverandre og bidra med spennende innspill.

Mye av musikken kan fortone seg litt kaotisk, særlig i de sekvensene hvor alle musikerne bidrar, men det er kun i noen få partier. Ellers synes jeg det er ytterst spennende å lytte til detaljrikdommen i det som fremføres, alle de små bidragene de mange musikerne kommer med, og den utsøkte kommunikasjonen mellom musikerne.

Andresporet, «Mais Vale», som direkte oversatt betyr «mer dal», «stor dal» eller noe lignende, er en neddempet ballade hvor alt blir veldig gjennomsiktig og fint, og hvor hver lille tone kommer godt fram. Her kan man nesten føle at man beveger seg nordover og inn i landet i Portugal og til Dao-vindistriktet, hvor bergene bølger seg rundt oss og varmen er behagelig her oppe i høydene. Disse to første stykkene er på henholdsvis 32:58 og 28:13, mens den tredje «satsen» klokkes inn på 42:12, og alle de tre delene krever full oppmerksomhet fra lytteren. Men det er overhodet ingen problemer, selv om det selvfølgelig hadde vært bedre å være til stede i Teatro Maria Matos da «verket» ble fremført.

Den tredje satsen fortsetter på en fin måte, der man befant seg i andresatsen, i alle fall i de første minuttene. Men når pianist Pinheiro tar styringen skjer det noe i bandet. I en nydelig sekvens med kun trioen, gir de oss strålende triomusikk, hvor de beviser at dette er tre ytterst samspilte musikere som befinner seg i det moderne med røtter tilbake til Cecil Taylor og, kanskje særlig, Don Pullen. Men etter drøyt 12 minutter er ting ved å endre seg. Trombonist Fala Mariam legger an en «idé», før flere av de andre musikerne, særlig blåserne, kommer inn med spennende innspill, og særlig legger vi merke til John Butchers utmerkede tenorsaksofonspill. Deretter vokser låten litt etter litt, vi får en fin trombonesolo med en heftig bassgang i bakgrunnen og deilig trommespill, før de igjen tar det hele helt ned, og i det stille «landskapet» skapes det en intensitet hvor man bare venter på «det store smellet». Men i stedet glir det stille og fredelig over i et lyrisk parti som er ytterst vakkert, før alle musikerne kommer inn i en relativt synkron bakgrunn under pianoet. Dette er en sats som på mange måter oppsummerer «verket», men som ikke gir oss de heftigste utblåsninger, bare vakker og deilig, frittgående musikk som viser at RED trio har mange gode og kreative musikerkolleger som er med på å gjøre denne dobbelt-utgivelsen til en herlig opplevelse.  Jan Granlie



O início deste concerto e disco, ambos comemorativos da década de actividade com que o RED trio de Rodrigo Pinheiro, Hernâni Faustino e Gabriel Ferrandini já conta – uma comemoração feita com pompa e circunstância em 2018, juntando 14 músicos ao grupo aniversariante num concerto realizado no Teatro Maria Matos, em Lisboa –, fazem lembrar outro grande ensemble da improvisação portuguesa, a Variable Geometry Orchestra, mais conhecida por VGO, e não só pelo tipo de abordagem textural dos cordofones em acção: ouvimos a viola de Ernesto Rodrigues e o violoncelo de Miguel Mira e se, intrigados, consultarmos a ficha técnica, verificamos que estão lá outros elementos habituais da dita, como Nuno Torres e Carlos Santos.

Às tantas, quando a música já parece instalada e em estado de fluxo, emerge um piano totalmente a despropósito (Pinheiro) que muda os parâmetros camerísticos da música e com ele vêm dois saxofones tenor (aparentemente os de Rodrigo Amado e Pedro Sousa, porque na formação reunida também está John Butcher, que gravou dois discos com os portugueses, “Empire” e “Summer Skyshift”), um trompete (Luís Vicente) e um “drive” cavalgante alinhado com o free jazz. A peça em causa, “Corrente”, não fica por aí: há uma súbita pausa e o que vem a seguir associa computador (o acima referido Carlos Santos) e percussão (David Maranha junta-se a Ferrandini). O que ouvimos nesta parte é uma electroacústica que depois se desfaz com, de novo, o piano, num magnífico solo que persegue os cachos de notas de um Cecil Taylor. Outro solo se proporciona, o do vibrafone de Mattias Stahl, convidado do RED trio no álbum “North and the Red Stream”, e outro ainda, o do sax soprano de Butcher, que vem acalmar a geral intensidade. Aqui chegados, ficam a solar harmolodicamente (ou seja, em conjunto, sem posicionamentos hierárquicos) o piano (é Pinheiro o autor da peça), o vibrafone, o soprano e o contrabaixo de Faustino. Volta então o trompete de Vicente, furando por entre a massa que vai crescendo até ao “grand finale” e à dissipação conduzida por Ernesto Rodrigues. Uma delícia.

“Mais Vale” introduz uma contenção que não julgávamos possível neste contexto, com notas esparsas do piano, cada som a desvanecer-se no ar, juntando-se um vibrafone que também se dá tempo e depois, finalmente, acrescentando-se outro instrumentário e a voz de Miguel Abreu. Aqui, densidade não significa intensidade, com o autor do tema, Ferrandini, a evidenciar uma contenção que não lhe é, de todo, habitual. O saxofone alto de Nuno Torres ocupa o primeiro plano e a lentidão adoptada ganha uma languidez pouco habitual em actuações do RED trio. O solo que vem de seguida por parte de Stahl introduz intensidade e a música levanta voo, ainda que de uma forma especialmente lânguida.

Faustino é o responsável da peça que ocupa todo o segundo CD deste duplo álbum. “Ditirambo” arranca aos poucos, dando-se tempo, com súbitos “impromptus” por parte da bateria. De repente, tudo muda, com o piano e o contrabaixo a puxarem todo o conjunto e os inconfundíveis trompete de bolso e trombone alto de Sei Miguel e Fala Mariam, mais o sax tenor de Amado, a ocuparem a linha dianteira. A partir daí instala-se um “free for all” da secção rítmica (do RED trio colocado como secção rítmica) com os sopros que ora se adensa, ora mingua, de um modo ou de outro dando espaços de acção a vários intervenientes. Os diálogos entre piano e vibrafone colocam-nos de bicos dos pés, mas por uns minutos apenas, para tudo mudar de novo por meio de “drones” adensados pela electrónica. Às tantas, a música transfigura-se de tal modo que mais parece estarmos a assistir à actuação de um grupo electroacústico. Na parte final, despedindo-se, voltamos a encontrar um conjunto alinhado com o free jazz ou a free improv, colocado no dúbio meio-caminho entre os dois âmbitos. Magistral, para não dizer por menos. Rui Eduardo Paes