The Elephant’s Journey
Maybe the most composition oriented of all the projects lead by Portuguese (but established in Holland) double bassist Gonçalo Almeida, and also the one in which his links with Portugal are more present, thanks to the involvement of trumpeter Susana Santos Silva (Orquestra Jazz de Matosinhos, Susana Santos Silva Quinteto, SSS-Q), Lama is one of the most intriguing European groups of the day. Its music can be poetic and mellow without losing the driving sense and the warmness we associate with the term “jazz”. It has an exploratory edge not being a derivation from free jazz, and its formal accessibility is not far from the mainstream, even if you can’t find the usual bop stereotypes on any piece performed by the trio. The connections with the tradition are self-evident, but the commitment to the idea to create a new formula for the 21st century takes priority. This is electro-acoustic jazz, and as such you can recognize elements coming from other music sources, and namely the experimental and club electronic tendencies (hip-hop and R&B flavored dance music is the other area where Canadian – relocated to Rotterdam – drummer Greg Smith does some work). After a very successful collaboration with saxophonist Chris Speed, the guest in “The Elephant’s Journey” is the Belgium clarinetist Joachim Badenhorst. With him the project gets more abstract and dark, but that’s exactly what is required when the music is a reading of a novel by the Nobel Prize winner José Saramago.
All music by Gonçalo Almeida, “Murakami” by Greg Smith
Recorded by Fonkeltoff at Studio Santeboutique, Rotterdam / Mixed by Greg Smith and Gonçalo Almeida at BGS Studio, Rotterdam / Mastered by Luis Delgado
Produced by Lama / Executive production by Pedro Costa for Trem Azul / Design by Travassos