Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Chamber 4, Marcelo Dos Reis, Luis Vicente, Theo Ceccaldi, Valentin Ceccaldi

I am happy to have over the years gotten a pretty good bead on the Portuguese avant-new music-free jazz scene. It is vibrant and vital, I think. Today something by Chamber 4 (FMR 393-0615), which turns out are four familiar players of note (familiar to me, familiar to you if you've followed my blogs or know otherwise of them). It's the very compatible foursome of Luis Vicente on trumpet, Valentin Ceccaldi on cello and voice, Theo Ceccaldi on violin and voice, and Marcelo dos Reis on acoustic guitar, prepared guitar and voice. All four have made some excellent music together and with others in the past. I've covered a fair amount of it. This one ranks among the very best.

We have five free collective improvisations on this CD, recorded live in 2013 at Lisbon's Les Devagar, LX Factory.

What strikes me listening is the considerably coherent dialog of the four, the timbral contrasts born of intelligent sound-color admixtures. Luis plays lots of trumpet, notefully fluent and sonically informed. Valentin and Theo use conventional and less conventional string attacks to once again give us the "string section" interplay that adds a great deal to the end result. Marcelo gets all kinds of sounds from the prepared and standard acoustic guitars and puts that well considered sound-texture/note choice to bear in the context of the total ensemble.

It's a new music chamber improv ensemble with free jazz overtones--and it straddles those two worlds with increasing fluidity and ease. The interplay is born out of a mutual music attuning that no doubt results from deep listening and a very comprehending familiarity with each other's stylistic penchants.

And the more you hear this one, the more it makes good, even inspired musical sense. These are players who excel together with an immediacy not so many ensembles of the free sort have achieved. I must say I am convinced for sure that Chamber 4 not only know what they are doing; they are doing superior work!

If you want an excellent example of what Portugal has to offer right now in the avant realm, do not hesitate. Get this one.

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