Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Carlos "Zingaro," Live at Mosteiro de Santa Clara a Velha

Hearing the music of Carlos "Zingaro" for the first time at this later date is a little like walking into a room in the middle of a conversation, except his music speaks for itself whether you know past recordings or not. I missed his earlier work but have covered several later ensembles where he is featured (type his name in the search box above for those reviews). And I am very happy to hear his latest, a free solo violin concert, Live at Mosteiro de Santa Clara a Velha (Cipsela 001).

Zingaro is a legend on the Portuguese musical scene, having flourished in spite of Salazar's anti-art repressive rule, which lasted through 1974. Zingaro's group Plexus thrived with an innovative melding of rock, classical and improvisational styles. He gave Portuguese artists the possibility of improvisation and it is to him we look as the founder of the now very vital improvisational scene in Portugal today.

The current recording shows us a Zingaro far more than just a foundational artist. On solo violin throughout, Zingaro gives us some extraordinary extemporizations. His violin alternately soars into a melodic stratosphere, then thickens the texture with various color techniques showing non-standard combinations of pizzicato and bowing techniques that extend his sound and give expressive weight to the phrasings.

He is a real original and this concert brings home to us how good he is. It is a must-not-miss release for anyone concerned with free improvisation and a true joy to hear!

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