Dennis González & João Paulo – Scapegrace (CF 144)
What a great idea to bring these two musicians together. Dennis González on trumpet and João Paulo on piano turn out to be wonderful soulmates on this lyrical sentimental album. And I mean sentimental in the most positive sense of the word, as the truest expression of refined feelings. João Paulo is a wonderful pianist, playing in the jazz tradition of Jarrett, with lots of soul and a hypnotic kind of slow rhythmic drive, hesitating between romantic classical music and jazz, often playing “inside” but capable of coloring outside the lines too. I have listed the same qualities, or almost, for González in earlier reviews. The American is a free spirit, but very rooted in tradition, less so in the form than in the style and tone of his playing. His tone is clear, but then with a very deeply felt warm and bluesy inflection, of the kind that Lester Bowie used so often. Lyricism, often romanticism and impressionism set the tone, often with references to spirituals, but without becoming mellow or superficial.
The improvised composed music does not sound complicated, but delicate and fresh, and it enters the ears all sweet and easy. Yet the overall quality of the interplay is stunning, in finding the right notes, the right pace, and above all the same style, … and an incredible sense of humanity and authentic emotions. Excellent.