All Music Guide review by Michael G. Nastos

Júlio Resende – Assim Falava Jazzatustra (CF 158)
Contemporary jazz pianist Julio Resende is dedicated to not only extending the tradition of jazz, but making it in his own inimitable way. Blessed with overwhelming technique and a good concept beyond where the canon of jazz should go, Resende and his European quartet play original music that stretches N.Y.C. neo-bop with a continental flair, using minimalist and repeat phrases that set up an unfettered realm of improvisation. Alto saxophonist Perico Sambeat — like Resende — is a unique performer with no discerible influences, while bassist Ole Morten Vågan and drummer Joel Silva are well-rehearsed, more than merely keeping up with the busy or refined nuances of the leaders. Excepting a single studio track, this disc was recorded during live performance in Lisbon, Portugal at the Fabrica Braco de Prata, where they know how to jam out and uplift a crowd. The opener “Don’t” is an ultimate tone setter, mixing hip funk and shuffle rhythms as Sambeat offers simple, one-note phrases that gradually expand, leading to spirit soul from Resende during his solo, and a bassline moving well past ostinato. The 13-minute “Sakatwala” dances in kinetic beats of eight, bouncy and happy with a South African flavor, while a heavier Bad Plus image for “Boom!” stomps it down like a nice llittle monster. A frantic, supercharged bop, “Jazz Pt” stretches spiky melody lines into an Eric Dolphy-type overtone display, while Sambeat’s chunky alto perseveres alongside the addition of the playful tenor sax of guest Desiderio Lázaro on the long, solo-laden “Caixa Registadora.” Resende does a beautifully extrapolated, exuberant solo take of Pink Floyd’s “Shine on You Crazy Diamond,” while the in-studio selection “Ir e Voltar” is a strange yet exquisite cross of cascading 5/4 piano against a juxtaposed rock beat with João Custodio’s bassline and Manuela Azevedo’s gothic vocals. This recording is a fine example of how European jazz musicians have taken cues from their American counterparts, and have upped the ante to a point where they are the ones making fresh sounds and unique statements, while many U.S. musicians linger stubbornly on tradition. Make no mistake, Resende and his band have got it goin’ on.

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