Hugo Antunes – Roll Call (CF 197)
There are albums when you know from the very first minutes that something is “right” : in the fit of the musicians, the approach, the sound, the freedom. This is one of those albums, and one with an unusual line-up at that : with two saxes – Daniele Martini and Toine Thys, two drummers – João Lobo and Marek Patrman, and one forceful bass, played by Portuguese Hugo Antunes.
The first piece is a rhythmic delight of soft-spoken horns engaging deeply in free form, with a solid and subtle bass as the anchorpoint, with both drummers creating a great background of percussive shifting colors. The title track does what it says, a “roll call” of the various musicians, each one presenting himself, as an invitation for the others to welcome by joining the created context, then leaving for the short solo moment to the next instrument, and so on. The result is nice because each musician adds his own touch and approach, basically telling his story in a few notes, with the other musicians completing it together, which gives the piece a suit-like nature.
The third track starts with a long bass intro, setting a steady pulse over which both saxes weave a slow, ethereal and yearning sound.”Anfra” is more boppish, “Einfach” more subdued and atmospheric.
I will not review every track, but you get the picture, this beyond bop and post-bop, capturing the complexity, the improvisational power, the freedom and the emotional depth that are so the essence of jazz.