Reviews Stem

Their first record was a strong musical statement, their “Empire” album with John Butcher confirmed their musical vision and that exceptional power is equalled by this new album with Nate Wooley on trumpet. RED Trio are Rodrigo Pinheiro on piano, Hernâni Faustino on bass and Gabriel Ferrandini on drums.

No doubt the RED Trio is among the most fascinating piano trios of the moment. Without relinquishing the real jazz ingredients of harmony, repeated patterns and rhythm, they push this over the limit of convention into a far more expressive and sometimes terrifying sonic universe. They are not afraid to dive off musical cliffs, then requiring all the energy and teamwork to fly with grace, moving forward coherently, using sonic clusters and high outbursts of violence to change course if needed, or stop moving at all, hoping that somehow they will land safely, and they do, they do.

Then add Nate Wooley, the iconoclast of the trumpet, the artist whose instrument can sound as if he’d ripped it open from mouthpiece to horn before he started playing, the musician who knows how to turn sound into effect with the listener. The approach is exacerbated. The match is perfect.

Whether on the great intro piece “Flapping Flight”, or on the slow and mysterious second part of “Ellipse”, or the fully voiced anti-rhythmic madness of “Weight Slice”, or the barely audible of “Tides”,  … the match is perfect, the vision is coherent, the common tone spectacular, the outcome grandiose.

This is jazz at its very best. The opening track alone is worth the purchase. Listen how blues and bop and even romanticism are part of the language, but get distorted, intensified, turned into new levels of expressivity, in which the anguish and distress of today’s life are evocated, at the same level as sweetness and beauty, of a nature that is more difficult to capture, less sentimental, but deeper, more meaningful.

Highly recommended!



Stem finds Nate Wooley in the company of one of Europe’s most interesting small groups, Portugal’s RED trio: pianist Rodrigo Pinheiro, bassist Hernani Faustino and drummer Gabriel Ferrandini. Somewhat akin to ARC (Corea/Holland/Altschul) or the Howard Riley Trio, RED subverts the traditional roles of piano, bass and drums to create a continual hum of percussive- melodic activity. Pinheiro uses the full resources of the instrument, muting and plucking the strings while generating a stark, tense environment from obsessively repeated clusters. Toward the end of “Flapping Flight” he creates a steely drone underneath Wooley’s shrieks and sighs, outlined with brush patter and Faustino’s low harmonics. Swiping whistles across some flat object on “Phase”, Wooley mirrors a palimpsest of feedback and piano resonance before crumpling into a distorted whinny, as the trio’s muscularity is positioned front and center. Subversion is part of the RED aesthetic too, Pinheiro matching the trumpeter’s terse, hot monochromes with well-behind-the-beat chords and rhapsodic head-butts. RED are highly economical and well apprised of the Tradition – at least one can hear it in the pianist’s ringing melodic stabs, which somehow occupy a region between forcing a series of phrases and sweetly caressing them. This coy aggressiveness mates well with Wooley’s clear, instantaneous response and hackle-raising explosions. The foursome are constantly in action even when ostensibly ‘hushed’ – pursed exhalation, bowed cymbals and low rumble aren’t alien to their palette, maddeningly approaching Nuova Consonanza extremes on the closing “Tides”. Each of the five pieces presents a different group axis, often discomfortingly set between the well-marked poles of brash expressionism and coiled reflection.

Clifford Allen  New York City Jazz Record



The RED trio have made an impact with several excellent albums in the past several years. For this latest they add the forceful presence of trumpeter Nate Wooley in a set they entitle Stem (Clean Feed 249).

Rodrigo Pinheiro, piano, Hernani Faustino, double bass, and Gabriel Ferrandini, drums, aka the RED trio, have struck me consistently as an avant improvisational unit that has both passion and great smarts. They are deliberate as well as spontaneous; they get a great deal of interplay happening without responding overtly to one another much of the time. Each member goes in a similar direction to realize a particular musical moment in time and the consistency of result is very high.

With the addition of Nate Wooley there is a vibrant fourth color to work off of–and both Nate and the trio are very actively colorful soundmasters. The results are not necessarily denser, but there is more potential sound-figure spontaneity to work off of. And that potential is very much actual in this set.

All four players can flow lines or share a piece of the collective line constructed. Both happen with intelligence and passion, fire and implied endlessness.

I especially like how Rodrigo and Nate, as the front liners, work together, one punctuating the other, both streaming lines together. And then Hernani becomes a third line, Gabriel a fourth, so that everybody is soloing/nobody is soloing in a dynamic give and take.

It’s an inspired set of freedom sounds. Listening should be the response. That was mine. It pays the aesthetic dividend of a statisfying artistic-musical communion of self and disk! So try that out if you can spring for a copy.                           Grego Applegate Edwards 


Nate Wooley and the RED trio (pianist Rodrigo Pinheiro, bassist Hernâni Faustino and drummer Gabriel Ferrandini) first met in 2010, literally introducing themselves on stage. In the subsequent two years, their knowledge and mutual admiration have grown to the point that they have become a rugged unit able to touch all the cardinal points of improvisation tinted with jazz undertones. In the liners, Wooley compares the events taking place in an improvisational team as the mirroring of all the virtues and defects typifying the usual pros and cons of everyday’s conjoint living. The balanced eloquence of the action in Stem demonstrates that, when tempered intentness prevails upon the necessity of affirming self-pride, there is no problem whatsoever in creating music which is brilliantly questioning, ruled by dynamic reactiveness and perfectly set to resuscitate the intelligent connotations of modern jazz that too often tend to be forgotten in a whirlwind of chichi poses and unpurposed notes.

Though absolutely nothing sounds calculated, the five tracks show a degree of congruity that, in some instances, might induce someone to define the interplay as “cold”. But we all know that in many occasions sternness is just a facade hiding a heart that, when the right moment comes, beats rather impetuously. Listen to how “Phase” starts from a quietly mounting exchange featuring Ferrandini and Faustino, then gradually escalates to a wholehearted collective flare-up whose effects are in any case kept under control by the quartet’s inherent efficiency, never allowing elements of mayhem to predominate in spite of Wooley’s shrieking tantrums and Pinheiro’s emphatic punctuations and flurries. The piece offers the vision of a natural course characterized by the need, by each participant, of remaining an active part of a lively wholeness, without the egotistic traits frequently associated to the excesses of fraudulent fervency.

If we want to consider aesthetics, there’s no room for unbelievers: the overall vibe is entangling, tactile, but not overwhelming. Again, impartiality seems to win over sanguine volubility. Yet in “Ellipse” the fire of freedom burns blazingly even when everything calms town to EAI-like volumes (there’s a section in which the connection of inside piano and near-ephemeral trumpet is comparable to a dialogue between a slack-string guitar and a muted fax machine). The systematic nonattendance of an orthodox pulse reminds us that we’re dealing with artists who, hopefully, are not going to fall victims of dubious “revolutions” bathed in bundles of banknotes and establishment-regulated festivals.  Massimo Ricci


Like the old saying goes, “wine gets better with age,” so too does the fantastic Portuguese group, RED trio.

A phenomenal yet minimal self-titled debut that features a wide array of improvised occurrences with stellar insights in composition went further with the follow up, EmpireEmpire featured British saxophonist, John Butcher as the interpretive foil to the trio’s experimental exploits. This session seemed to awaken a challenging spirit within the band (especially on the title track). Now that inquisitive spirit has collided with the free form agility of one of my recent favourite trumpeters, Nate Wooley for the superb, Stem.

This quartet came together only a few months ago as a live collaboration but you can feel that RED trio quickly developed a unique chemistry that makes this session even more personal and entertaining than Empire. The outstanding opener, “Flapping Flight” features jagged edges and improvised chords by the trio intersecting with short delicate notes by Wooley that rise and fall with romantic flavour. The piece expands as it moves into it’s middle movements and creates similar exchanges to that shared on the trio’s work with Butcher. Wooley and Pinheiro share a rolling battle of notes towards the end that is both captivating as it is complex.

Pinheiro’s playing is at times very straight while delightful chaos occurs around him. “Ellipse” is one of those moments. Pinheiro’s performance is almost Jarrett-esque but it is punctuated by canon of experimentalism on display by the rest of the group. Ferrandini’s drums put on a quiet Billy Higgins type display. Rhyming when necessary and floating freely when called upon. Wooley goes from a stoic and melodic tone to dark quiet breathy exchanges with the trio almost silent adding a haunting yet organic nature to piece that is revelatory.

“Weight Slice” has a frenzied pace that holds the listener in place while short burst of notes almost coalesce into one pattern but then brilliantly explode in the opposite direction. Wooley has individual dialogues with the trio throughout this piece. “Weight Slice” is probably the best example of the camaraderie this group has developed in such a short amount of time. The quiet almost ethereal departure of “Tides” is remincesent of RED trio’s debut. A spacious conclusion with slow droning effects and low tones that make you stop and investigate each note.

Stem is the best work to date by RED trio and the addition of new musicians over the last two outings has only made this group better, inventive and fresh – like aged wine. Stem is one of those albums that will last with you all year long. Highly Recommended.

Stephan Moore


Nate Wooley is the preeminent trumpeter of our generation, perhaps because his playing seems adaptable to any situation. From tightly composed works to the most far out free improvisation, he always has something interesting to say. STEM, his new recording with RED trio (pianist Rodrigo Pinheiro, bassist Hernan Faustino, and drummer Gabriel Ferrandini) was recorded less than a year after their initial meeting and on record they sound inspired and engaging, their chemistry defying their lack of history together.

“Flapping Flight ” opens with spirited trumpet runs that reference the combined vocabulary of the greats while sounding unlike any of them. RED Trio push and pull the music around Wooley’s blowing until it eventually slows into a lulling passage, punctuated with tinkling piano and drum harmonics. The tune continues further into dirge territory with scuttling percussion, while Wooley’s muted tones mesh with bowed bass. He then signals the end with what seems to be a quote of Herbie Hancock’s “Riot” as the group once again congeals into a frenetic unit and slowly breaks down the song structure, ending the piece as it began in fragmented dialogue.

“Phase” begins heavy on the percussive chatter. Bass and drums interact with piano chords suspended in mid air, and underneath, Wooley is barely letting the air though the mouth piece, sounding like the first sputtering of a steam radiator in winter. The pace is picked up, but Wooley stays in the embouchure conscious zone of expression, occasionally letting out a low foghorn or high screech. Wooley’s mouthpiece seems to be every bit as important to him as the bell and valves. This is a man that has spent some time exploring his horn.

“Ellipse” hardly moves at all, instead choosing to ooze out sound events in moody succession. The fourth track, “Weight Slice” is more action-packed with a drums/trumpet duo exchange that brings some truly rambunctious improvising to fruition. Wooley breaths bent multiphonics that seem to grow hair as they lengthen, sounding a bit like Donald Ayler. Finally, “Tides” could be a summation of the previous tracks: a trio+1 of experienced improvisers expertly doing their thing. It’s thoughtful and precise, a controlled anarchy, if you will. This cd is rich on texture, and although RED+Nate Wooley have a studied feel about them, it’s a fresh and exhilarating listen.

Matt Schulz 


Ao terceiro disco o RED trio dá mais um grande passo em frente, na companhia do extraordinário trompetista Nate Wooley.  Há doisa anos o RED trio mostrava-se ao mundo. Com um disco homónimo o grupo de Rodrigo Pinheiro (piano), Hernani Faustino (contrabaixo) e Gabriel Ferrandini (bateria) desvendava uma música improvisada assente num léxico de base jazzístico, mas revisto de forma original. Marcadamente dialogante e democrática, a música do trio caracterizava-se ainda pela criativa abordagem dos instrumentos, pela criativa abordagem dos instrumentos, pela utilização inteligente de técnicas extensivas. No ano passado o trio arriscou fora da sua “zona de conforto”, convidando John Butcher para uma colaboração. O disco Empire, edição da lituana NoBusiness, confirmou o valor do grupo lisboeta, que soube integrar-se, em óptimo nível, com o saxofonista inglês. Este novo disco, de regresso à Clean Feed, é uma nova colaboração e representa um passo ainda mais além no percursso do trio. Colaborando com o trompetista americanno Nate Wooley (um dos grandes inovadores do seu instrumento, a par de Peter Evans), o trio de Ferrandini, Faustino e Pinheiro afirma mais uma vez a sua fantástica capacidade de adaptação a diferentes cenários. O trio adapta-se ao novo parceiro, conjugando o seu som de piano trio irreverente ao trompete elástico de Wooley; o inverso acontece também e Wooley aparenta ajustar-se com absoluta naturalidade aos processos do trio. De forma dinâmica, RED trio e Nate Wooley embarcam numa comunicação fluída, desbravando terrenos comuns, intercalando fraseados, acentuando e alimentando ideias. O trio +1 – pela unidade demonstrada seria justo chamar-lhes quarteto – balança entre momentos de alta expansividade (alcançando instantes de intensíssima energia) e situações texturais de enorme subtileza e contenção (como acontece na última faixa, “Tides”). Mágnífico.

Nuno Catarino, Publico newspaper


“RED trio to znakomity portugalski zespół który nie pierwszy raz pojawia się katalogu oficyny Clean Feed. O ile jednak pierwsza ich płyta przynosi muzykę która hipnotyzowała energią, ale i po pewnym czasie nużyła przewidywalnością konwencji, to zupełnie inaczej ma się sprawa gdy dołącza do nich gość zza oceanu – muzyka nieco traci na żywiołowości, ale zyskuje zdecydowanie na otwartości i kreatywności.

Pierwsza płyta tria, jak i ich koncerty, przynosi muzykę dosyć schematycznie zbudowaną jeżeli chodzi o formę – od poszukiwania i preparacji instrumentów muzyka zyskiwała na energii aż to energetycznej erupcji gdy muzycy zapętlali jakiś krótki rytmiczny motyw, po którym następowało gwałtowne wyciszenie i proces rozpoczynał się od nowa – czasem nawet kilkakrotnie w ramach jednego utworu. Oczywiście w toku improwizacji krystalizowały się z tego małego składu dialogujące duety, było miejsce na starannie budowane partie solowe, ale forma zawsze była taka sama – od jednego energetycznego spazmu do następnego. Oczywiście skład ten jest niesłychanie zgrany i rozumie się w półdźwięku, więc słuchało się tej muzyki z dużą przyjemnością, ale po kilkukrotnym spotkaniu okazywało się, że już nie ma ona przed nami tajemnic.

Muzycy zresztą chyba myśleli i czuli podobnie, bo na kolejną płytową realizację (dla litewskiego NoBusiness) zaprosili amerykańskiego saksofonistę Johna Butchera. On otworzył ich muzykę i wyrwał ją z zaklętego kręgu napięć i rozprężeń, uczynił narrację bardziej linearną i wzbogacił warsztat poszczególnych instrumentalistów. W dalszym ciągu jednak nie była to muzyka w której nie myśleli oni “formą” poszczególnych kompozycji.

Taką zmianę możemy obserwować na najnowszym nagraniu grupy w którym towarzyszy im inny amerykański improwizator – kornecista i trębacz Nate Wooley. Muzyka traci zdecydowanie na energii, ale dzięki starannej, przemyślanej narracji zyskuje “kształt” – to już nie jest zbiór dźwiękowa magma w której liczy się tylko muzyczne teraz. Przy tym zespół nie traci nic więcej ze swoich wielu atutów – znakomite opanowanie instrumentarium, kreatywność muzycznych preparacji, intuicyjne porozumienie. Czasami, gdy trzeba, Gabriel Ferrandini – młodziutki perkusista w typie Paala Nilssen-Love’a – potrafi niezwykle rozpędzić ten skład, ale Wooley – chyba dowodzący tutaj zespołem – nieprzykłada takiego znaczenia do rockowej energii, jak choćby Ken Vandermark czy Dave Rempis. Ważniejsze są dla niego harmonie i koloryt dźwięku, brzmienie kolektywu. I to zdecydowanie w tym nagraniu słychać. Jeżeli więc lubicie taką muzykę, nieprzewidywalną, ale wykrystalizowaną w formie – polecam ten album gorąco.”
autor:  Marcin Jachnik


Game – set – Match: Matcheballen vinnes i denne omgang av portugisiske RED trio, bestâende av Rodrigo Pinheiro, Hernandi Faustino og Gabriel Ferrandini. Sammen med new york – baserte Nate Wooley pa trompet utgjor de en fryktlos og energisk frijazzkvartett, som evner a kombinere spillerom for den enkelte med kraft og fremadrettet samspill. Bande oppsto live pa scenen pa Clean Feeds festival New York, mens dette opptaket skjedde ikke lenge etterpa i bandets andre mote. En slik andre-runde kan svaert ofte bli tam og blod-fattig, hvor den impulsive energien og nysjerrigheten fra et forste stjernetreff blir til usikker famling i morket . Men ikke denne gangen!
Kvartetten folger opp hverandres ideer, utvikler dem ogg spinner dem videre til materialet er uttomt og nye ideer oppstar i kjolvannet. Det er ingen grandiose soloprestsjoner her, men et sterkt  kollektivt uttrykk og orer pa stilk. Ogsa hos lytteren!  Svein Magnus Furu   Jazz Nytt Mag


RED trio (Rodrigo Pinheiro-piano-, Hernani Faustino -contrabajo-, Gabriel Ferrandini -batería y percusión) es una de las joyas de la escena portuguesa, tal y como ha ido demostrando en cada una de sus grabaciones. En ellas es habitual encontrar a figuras de la libre improvisación y del jazz de lo más interesantes. El trompetista Nate Wooley es el invitado en STEM. Los cuatro músicos, que controlan magistralmente la dinámica de la música, se entienden a la perfección. A lo largo de los cinco temas van desarrollando una tarea cuyo objetivo es construir diversos ambientes sin prisa pero sin pausa, en los que no rehuyen ni las melodías ni los momentos de un cierto lirismo (en especial las ráfagas de notas liberadas espaciadamente por el pianista Rodrigo Pinheiro), pero en los que tampoco tienen miedo a adentrarse por pasajes abstractos o incluso de un cierto expresonismo.

Pachi Tapiz


Dvodnevni studijski sešn pretočen je u pet numera, od kojih su čak četiri sa dvocifrenom minutažom trajanja. Ovakvim maratonskim komadima muzičari, kroz međusobnu interakciju, postepeno grade prostor za nesputano izražavanje i istraživanje. Tretiranje instrumenata na standardne i na netradicionalne način i intuitivna povezanost svih aktera, skupa daju neobičan rezultat. Za RED Trio je to karakteristično još od debi albuma, dok je Nate Wooley inovator na trubi koji već ima nekolicinu zapaženih izdanja.

Na albumu sve vrvi od nepravilnih ritmova i kovitlajućih zvukova, ali ne manjkaju ni statični momenti. Čak su primetni i periodi tišine, što je najizraženije u dvanaestominutnoj blago tenzičnoj završnici albuma. Wooley se odlično uklapa u celu priču istražujući mogućnosti svog instrumenta i eksploatišući ga do krajnjih granica –  njegova aktivnost nije samo pozadinskog karaktera, već je često dominantna i u samom centru zbivanja.

Truba nekada samo preteće lebdi iznad gustih zvučnih slojeva koje stvara portugalska trojka, a nekada se upušta u dijalog i sukobljavanje sa ostatkom instrumentarija. Kao rezultat imamo delikatne improvizacije izražene standardnim, ali i proširenim tehnikama sviranja koje doprinose da klasični instrumenti zvuče neočekivano i nepredvidivo.

Progresivne muzičke ideje se i ovde neminovno susreću, sudaraju i prožimaju, a njihove delove slušaoci mogu povezati pažljivim i koncentrisanim slušanjem. Treba uložiti mali napor i bez predrasuda uroniti u muzičko okruženje koje, u slučaju RED Trija i Nate Wooleya, zna biti samo prividno nepristupačno.  Predrag Vlahovic


RED trio’s latest free improvised collaboration is with Nate Wooley. Wooley returns from the lush drawn out soliloquy of The Almond back to the noise and jazz of his earlier recordings. Stem is mostly a continuation of the RED trio’s previous collaboration with John Butcher the year before on Empire with Wooley floating above the civilizations and wastelands the trio pour out of their bag. “Flapping Flight” begins in the normal uncouth fashion of contemporary free jazz then takes flight into “Phase” and reverses course in “Weight Slice”. The free non-jazz of “Ellipse” expands on the equation of “Pachiderm” as Wooley blows to an even greater deafening silence than Butcher that becomes almost pure silence on “Tides”, pushing normal and spastic “organized” sound over the edge and back around to the beginning where John Cage’s 4’33” meets the ubermensch; a state of refined primitivism ensues, a nihilistic nirvana, antiquating any notion of modernity. Andrew Stecz


Si alguna duda quedaba sobre la importancia del RED Trio en la renovación de estilosfreeStem aniquila gratamente aquellas ideas. No es un álbum sencillo, tampoco contiene ingredientes cotidianos; pero es jazz es su más puro estado. Allí donde la comunicación de los hombres reconstruye los episodios dictados por el intelecto de uno. La música contenida en Stem muestra que aún en una época de avanzada manufactura tecnológica, el jammin’ con la libertad del genio puesto sobre los instrumentos, y el albedrío recreado por una sola obsesión son capaces de crear un álbum cuyo impacto no se reduce a la contención de los especialistas en el tema, sino que refleja todo lo bueno que hay en el jazz, todas esas formas de hablar, tan únicas de la música como acto colectivo.

Luis Arce


Samen met Trumpet/Amplifier waarschijnlijk onze favoriet uit dit lijstje. Het Portugese RED trio (pianist Rodrigo Pinheiro, bassist Hernani Faustino en percussionist Gabriel Ferrandini) zorgde al voor een geslaagde samenwerking met rietblazer John Butcher en ook met Wooley krijg je meteen het gevoel van een organische eenheid aan het werk te horen. Net als op Scowl wordt hier aangeleund bij het akoestische experiment van de freejazz, maar dan met een stuk meer cohesie en spanning. Improvisatie als democratisch ideaal is dan wel een utopie, zoals Wooley argumenteert in de liner notes, maar het traject dat de vier hier laten afleggen, van het ongedurige geklieder van “Flapping Flight” en “”Weight Slice” tot het gefluister van “Tides”, is behoorlijk geïnspireerd. Dit is een vertoning van muzikale vrijheid met een indrukwekkende focus, discipline en urgentie.

Guy Peters–beeld-van-een-breed-perpetuum-mobile


Z free jazzem jest często tak, że można go kochać lub nienawidzić, a i niektórzy zakochani bywają nim czasem zmęczeni. Płyta STEM wpadła w moje ręce akurat wtedy, kiedy od free wzięłam urlop, jednak okazała się być bardzo miłym zawirowaniem w płynącym leniwie potoczku spokojniejszych nieco nagrań.  Jak to w wakacje przystało, można zaznać  trochę portugalskiego słońca , jak również na przykład zgłębić tajemnice jazzowej sceny Lizbony. Wytwórnia Cleen Feed, około rok temu wydała pod swoim logo  tę niezwykle ciekawą płytę autorstwa RED Trio, które do jej współtworzenia zaprosiło amerykańskiego trębacza : Nate’a Wooley’a. Formacja ma na swoim koncie jak do tej pory 3 płyty, a ostatnia, o której właśnie mowa, to chyba najlepszy ich krążek. Trzeba przyznać, że interesująco się mieszają te portugalskie promyki z nowojorskim powietrzem. Sam Nate pochodzi z Oregonu, jednak dużo ma wspólnego z Brooklinem,a mówi się o nim w środowiskach jazzowych, jako o trębaczu – ikonoklaście, mając raczej na myśli to, jak połamane dźwięki potrafi wydawać, aniżeli jak obrazoburczy stara się być. Sama muzyka na płycie nie jest tak zupełnie nieprzemyślana i nie rozlewa się w jakąś bezkształtną plamę, jak to często sie zdarza przy próbach improwizacji, a wręcz przeciwnie – wydaje się, że to Wooley nadał wszystkiemu jakiś szkielet. Sam z resztą określa tę współpracę, w kontekście improwizacji jako utopijnej praktyki artystycznej,  zbliżającą się jednak do ideału społecznej struktury demokratycznej.Może osobiście nie mieszałabym się w politykę, szczególnie na urlopie, ale Nate chyba najlepiej wie, co mówi. Osobiście płytę określiłabym jako iście sprinterskie kontrapunkty z długimi interwałami, tworzące kościec kompozycji, jednak wszystko to w duchu awangardy lat 60tych.  Może porównanie do, powiedzmy, TWET Tomasza Stańki, nie jest tak do końca trafne, jednak zaufam pierwszemu skojarzeniu i śmiało polecę tę płytę wszystkim fanom freejazzu i nie tylko.


Ao terceiro disco (o segundo com um músico convidado), o RED trio faz o pleno. Pelo que aqui testemunhamos, o encontro de Rodrigo Pinheiro (piano), Hernâni Faustino (contrabaixo) e Gabriel Ferrandini (bateria) com Nate Wooley (trompete) proporcionou um daqueles entrosamentos mágicos que só a prática da improvisação permite, mesmo que, até neste âmbito, consegui-lo com tal sucesso não é, nem comum, nem frequente. O conteúdo de “Stem” vai da mais mesmerizada manipulação de sons até situações claramente tonais, atravessando transversalmente vários campos de acção – os do free jazz, da música contemporânea, da livre-improvisação, do noise. Como no filme com o mesmo título português, “melhor é impossível”… Ou será que o melhor ainda está para vir?  Rui Eduardo Paes, REP no Sapo Blog


El primero de los álbumes en cuestión lleva por título Stem y reúne a la notable banda portuguesa RED trio con el prestigioso trompetista estadounidense Nate Wooley. RED trio (integrado por Gabriel Ferrandini en batería, Hernani Faustino en contrabajo y Rodrigo Pinheiro en piano) desde su elogiado debut discográfico en 2010 con RED trio acaparó la atención del público más exigente y demostró infrecuentes cualidades musicales. Más tarde ratificaron virtudes con Empire de 2011, álbum en donde se asociaron con el destacado saxofonista e improvisador británico John Butcher. Ahora, en Stem, prolongan ese espíritu colaborativo con epicentro en el concepto de libre improvisación y composición instantánea que caracteriza al trío pero aumentado por la presencia de uno de los trompetistas más brillantes de nuestro tiempo: Nate Wooley (Nate Wooley Quintet, Seven Storey Mountain, Harris Eisenstadt & Canada Day, Peter Evans/ Nate Wooley Duo). Sergio Piccirilli


Mettant en veilleuse les affres souterraines d’antan et bénéficiant de la présence rassurante de Nate Wooley, le RED trio (Rodrigo PinheiroHernani FaustinoGabriel Ferrandini) requinque son improvisation de couleurs quelque peu saturantes.

Sans parler de totale déconstruction, l’instabilité et le doute donnent quelques sueurs froides au combo. Ainsi, les suspensions se cristallisant après d’intenses batailles (Ellipse) obligent à ne pas considérer le RED trio comme une formation aux errements faciles. Visités par l’esprit frappeur (le duo trompette-batterie in Weight Slice), souvent scindés ou désunis mais convoquant parfois quelques vieilles brides de free jazz (Wooley, surpris plus d’une fois en des effleurements dixoniens), nos quatre amis gagnent à se défaire des facilités passées.

Luc Bouquet


Giving voice to Lisbon’s improvised music scene, RED trio has been asserting itself as one of the most vibrant and innovative groups of today. Despite its obvious ties with jazz, trying to describe or categorize the music of this trio is certainly not an easy task, but is worth trying…

Subverting the more conventional roles of jazz-piano trios, the RED trio conceives a continuous flow of energy guided by the contrast between silence and the most authoritarian ambiences. Through an experimentalist narrative, the three classical instruments (piano, double-bass and drums) give color to an exceedingly creative dynamic that moves on elements like improvisation, minimalism or the compulsive repetition of chords.

Formed on the initiative of bassist Hernani Faustino, which was joined by Rodrigo Pinheiro at the piano and Gabriel Ferrandini on drums, the RED personifies the irreverence and nonconformity of the new improvised music. After a promising and much-praised debut album in 2010 ( “RED trio”, Clean Feed CF168CD), this small collective has built a prolific path, supported by recordings (mostly annual), regular performances and guest artists that help giving its work new dynamics and a wider range of textures. Of its most important partnerships stands out renowned improvisers such as saxophonist John Butcher or trumpeter Nate Wooley, with whom the RED trio has recorded, respectively, “Empire” (2011) and “Stem” (2012).

After having played in New York with Nate Wooley in 2010, the RED trio expressed the desire for new collaborations and in 2011, taking advantage of the trumpeter’s European stay, it was carried out the work by the name of “Stem”. Recorded at Studio Namouche, Lisbon and released in 2012 by Clean Feed, this record is the product of visceral explorations carried out by this quartet of great improvisers. For over an hour in which excels the enthusiasm and complicity between the four musicians, this work offers an exclusive atmosphere and a liberating power.

The kick-off is given by “Flapping Flight”, a contemplative tune broken by rhythmic variations on an increasing intensity something recurrent in the trio’s music. By the interaction with the piano and percussion, the melancholic cry of Wooley’s trumpet naturally shapes to the atmospheric inflexions of all others. Amid moments of great inspiration, the penetrating sound of Faustino’s bass with bow or the attacks by Woodley are just some of the highlights of this long track of over 16 minutes long.

Bass and drums give continuity to the abstract minimalism with “Phase” on a crescendo of depth and splendor. With a remarkable sense of timing, the spaced piano notes and the breathy trumpet blowing add a unique value to this moment of grand collective improvisation. Definitely music from the guts, visceral and intuitive that range from the most subtle moments to the aggressivity of multi-directional discharges.

In another moment plenty of inspiration, “Ellipse” reveals a profound atmosphere, sometimes silent, of distant and experimental forms. In the same dose of intensity, flat and arid landscapes are interspersed with winding and rough forms. The use (apparent) of piano strings and distant electronics give an oriental atmosphere to the final phase of this theme.

In a tune of explosive creativity, the percussion by the highly talented Ferrandini join Wooley’s trumpet to set the tone to “Weight Slice”. If in previous tracks it appears to be a greater control, here one notes that space for improvisation seems extended to a moment of creative ecstasy. Improvisation, the common denominator of the RED trio music, appears here in all its plenitude. The tracery piano of Pinheiro intertwines with the trumpet and the duo drums/bass confers a spatial depth to the track. With the use of a wide palette of sounds, the last theme, “Tides”, reveals a mechanical and intimate minimalism. A dizzying sound with a dragged double-bass connects the different interventions before finally disappearing quietly… in space and time.

Oscillating between the more subtle sounds and the farther aggressive registers, “Stem” is a travel of asymetric contours where the melodic and rhythmic bases writhe in moments of intense irreverence and creativity. Although seemingly distant, terms like “freedom” and “discipline” seem to be key aspects in the performance of this original group. All members, without exception, equally contribute to a spontaneous sound in a superior creative process. Rather than trying to anticipate the direction of this intuitive and sinuous music, the listener is left to the power of imagination; rather than trying to listen to it in a rational way, the RED trio music should be breathed, absorbed instantly and in an unbiased manner.

The musical sensibility of the group members seem to have an irrevocable distance from the harmonic range and rhythmic refinement of the more conventional jazz. However, if that structural separation appears evident, some linkages to this secular genre remain deeply rooted. The pleasure of making free music and the way it flows naturally, are intrinsic aspects of RED trio’s music and inevitably of the continuous change process in jazz.

As with other trios that conquered their space by daring to drive jazz to non-explored territories (e.g. The Thing or The Necks) likewise RED trio is leaving an indelible mark in today’s music, for the quality of its performers but especially for the difference of its intense and invigorating sound. Mister W