The Perfume Comes Before the Flower
In just the last few years of working and living in Lisbon, Brazilian saxophonist and composer Alípio Neto has flowered, if you will, as an important force in free jazz. “The Perfume Comes Before the Flower” is evidence that his influence now extends way beyond the borders of Portuguese jazz scene. With partners such as New Yorkers Herb Robertson (trumpet and cornet with mutes, flutes), Ken Filiano (double bass), Michael T.A. Thompson (soundrhythium percussionist), and, on three tracks, young tubist Ben Stapp, Neto now has concocted one of the most exciting releases of the year. Working in the cracks between the traditions of hard bop and free jazz, and two approaches, composition and improvisation, Neto — the leader of the transnational bands IMI Kollektief and Wishful Thinking, both documented on Clean Feed — makes music of associations: pitch and texture, drive and detail, strict organization and near chaos. As though to emphasize this dictotomy, the pieces even have two titles a piece. As in perfume coming before the flower, you listen and wonder what must have come before in these sounds. You will never know for sure, such is the mixing of materials and references here. Superb and fundamental. Abstract and concrete. Rich and stark. But stunning at every turn.