17 Dots Jazz Picks by Dave Sumner

Carlos Bica & Azul, Things About (CF 239)
Double bassist and composer Carlos Bica has carved out a jazz niche for himself with his inventive style of avant-lyrical jazz fused with Portuguese folk music. With Frank Mobus on guitar and Jim Black on drums, this is yet one more fantastic release. Their first album came 15 years ago, a nice long stretch to develop an empathic bond for each others sound and ideas. Things About is a pleasantly laid-back affair (for the most part), with Mobus’s inquisitive guitar giving an eerie heard-but-not-seen, in-the-shadows effect, the footsteps echoing through Black’s percussive accompaniment, as Bica prowls alongside both, close but just out of reach. On the Clean Feed label, which is often characterized by its artists love of dissonance; Bica has consistently applied a lighter touch to that aesthetic and has lately recorded albums drowned in tranquility. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

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