All About Jazz review by Tom Greenland


RED Trio – RED Trio (CF 168 )
Although more associated in popular imagination with the longing, saudade-laden sound of fado, Portugal has long supported jazz, boasting Europe’s oldest jazz club, Lisbon’s Hot Clube de Portugal, important festivals and an active free improv scene. From Clean Feed, the Lisbon-based label with a stable of Portuguese (and other) creative musicians, comes RED Trio, with Rodrigo Pinheiro (piano), Hernani Faustino (bass) and Gabriel Ferrandini (drums/percussion), a non-hierarchical, piano-’led’ trio that, like the combos of Bill Evans or Paul Bley, grants equal airtime to each participant. One of the factors contributing to this effect is the closely matching tones and timbres of each instrument: Pinheiro’s prepared piano – emitting hammered, muted, scraped and bowed notes – is sometimes difficult to distinguish from Faustino’s high-pitched harmonics or Ferrandini’s scratchy cymbals and buzzing gongs. When all three take out their bows, as during the middle section of “Quick Sand”, the album’s epic centerpiece, the damped, metallic tones blend together seamlessly, like a factory full of flywheels, dynamos and random generators, each rotating at its own speed. In contrast, “Burning Light” comes on like a blast of cold thin air rushing into a rapidly depressurizing airplane cabin for 62 seconds of insanity.

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