Jazz em Agosto – sharp those needles yet again
Photos: Vera Marmelo.
Two platters and vinyl, tonnes of it. On one side, Evan Parker, and David Toop stands on the other. A dim auditorium generates a strong contrast with the heat wave felt throughout the weekend and an audience full of gleaners. The first session brings a geo-referencing sound system and the second throws us back to the early stages of experimentalism with its proper historical context. The sessions of Sharpen your Needles knock on the door Café OTO for the very first time, and, while at it, they draw the attention for this year’s edition of Jazz em Agosto – watch out those needles. A reference somehow forced, we admit it, but with plenty of reasoning, at least that’s what we think, as we should draw the attention for one of this edition’s music shows – Pedro Sousa + Pedro Lopes (Saturday, August 5th). They do not need to be introduced. The former is acknowledged for his inexhaustible voracity, whether he is embracing the saxophone, creating an indistinct shape between the body and the instrument, or whether he is playing with his ‘compagnon de route’ Gabriel Ferrandini, or on the several projects that he keeps plunging himself into alongside David Maranha and Bruno Silva, or even with Thurston Moore and Marchin Church. Perhaps this has to do with the fact that is currently residing in Berlin, but the work concatenated by Pedro Lopes ends up being somehow neglected over here. But this explanation is vague and lazy. Those who already had the chance of seeing him playing in Lisbon in recent times, and we have to stress out his performances at Damas or Estrela, in yet another Estrela Decadente session, ended up dumbfounded by his ability to transform a turntable platter into an instrument. It’s that the function of any object goes way beyond the one considered to be its number one role. Susana Santos Silva, yet another border jumper, a trumpeter born in Oporto and currently living in Stockholm, will present Life and Other Transient Storms (2017), an album released by Clean Feed, on Tuesday, August 1st, alongside Lotte Anker (Tenor and soprano saxophone), Sten Sandell (Piano), Torbjörn Zetterberg (Double Bass), Jon Fält (Drums). Metamorphosis (2016 – Clean Feed), this time as part of the LAMA project, is equally worthy of a relentless use of capital letters, given the quality that it has. A high alert is a kind of warning that quickly becomes a mandatory condition.
And since nationality is not a criterion by itself, the top mentions go to the unavoidable performances by Peter Brötzmann & Heather Leigh, Monday July 31st, and by Dave Douglas, Sunday August 6th, who will close this 34th Edition. The German musician visits Portugal quite often, either in different editions of Out.Fest or at ZDB, or also in the penultimate edition of Festival Rescaldo, in which he played alongside Black Bombaim, something that prompted a discographic work recently released by Lovers & Lollypops. Brötzmann, an alto and tenor saxophone, clarinettist and tárogató player will share the stage with Heather Leigh, who brings her pedal steel guitar. Ears Are Filled with Wonder (Not Two Records, 2016) is the leitmotif and, based on the album cover, it will certainly leave us speechless. About Dave Douglas, we can mention the title chosen by Público back in 2005, when he played at CCB – Dave Douglas presents a mountain-dweller jazz at CCB. From that distant night in March, the trumpeter’s virtuosity is not the only element that is recalled, given his untamed willingness of trailing a path capable of turning itself into a one-of-a-kind identity. If the poem of António Machado had a dedication, it would have been dedicated to the American musician – “Se hace camino al andar” (“The road is made by walking”).
It would be an inglorious task to keep going with this sort of itinerary, and there are several reasons for this avoidance, given that it would put us in a level of pretentious absolute knowledge, which is clearly not the case, it would also confine us to the role of passive individuals, which is obviously not our plan, we intend to save room for discovery and, even more important, since there is an unavoidable circularity, we end up again at the scheduled activities outside the music show spectrum and, while at it, the release of the book Life is a Simple Mess (2017), by Travassos, published by Chili Com Carne should be highlighted, and it will be presented on the day when Larry Ochs, The Fictivie Five is scheduled to play, Friday August 4th. Travassos is a designer and an illustrator particularly skilled in album covers, mostly associated with jazz-related realms. Life is a Simple Mess, a made-up route divided into three stages Life is Simple, Life is a Mess and Mish-Mash, in which simple and complex shapes share the same living space in a natural and complementary manner. Throughout that path, the texts authored by Nate Wooley give us clues and revelations on a possible interpretation for this symbiotic real-unreal scenario.
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- Life is a Simple Mess
July 28 – August 6 2017