Free Jazz Blog – Kaja Draksler | Susana Santos Silva – This Love


“This is by all means a recommended album, if only because we have a wonderful duo album by two of Europe’s most promising female musicians, Susana Santos Silva from Portugal on trumpet and Kaja Draksler from Slovenia on piano. The album is quite balanced in terms of compositions : two tracks by Draksler, two by Santos Silva and two joint compositions, organised in a circular way on the album, bookended by the improvisations and with Santos Silva’s composition at the centre.
The opening track, “Laurie”, is playful and fresh in the beginning, opened by the trumpet, with a strong entry by Draksler with some fast right hand runs, suggesting it as a kind of theme full of suprise and wonder, echoed immediately by the trumpet, then the intensity increasing, driving the discovered material into denser and more hectic mode, without losing the playfulness, taking it to quieter moments with the occasional pause, then up again moving it into darker territories, with growling multiphonics and dramatic piano-playing.
This Love” is a quiet ballad, lead by piano, gentle and mysterious, reinforced by the warm tones of the flugelhorn, deepening the emotional power of the piece, that is at the same time open-ended and determined, a strange kind of paradox that gives the music a special quality, as if certainty and uncertainty are both at play.
“Hymn To The Unknown” is dark and brooding, a typical Santos Silva composition, on which the eery trumpet tones are supported by deep rumbling in the piano’s interior, a piece that keeps evolving in tone and nature, with open spaces, small percussion by Draksler on the strings, evolving into lightness and quiet beauty.
“Foolish Little Something” is a playful unison high tempo piece with rhythmical complexities thrown in to increase the fun, with atonal chaotic middle part, a nice collision of ideas, and quieting down towards the end.
“Forgotten Lands” I would call a typical Draksler composition, clever and disciplined and fresh, built around arpeggio chords for the left hand, and post-boppish phrases with the right, sweet and somewhat nostalgic, and again the trumpet’s deep tones add a wonderful addition to the composition, making the piece both jubilant and solemn.
“You Persevere” ends the album with again an open duo improvisation, one which uses more extended techniques on both instruments, more adventurous, and really strong, with Santos Silva demonstrating her incredible sonic skills on the trumpet, not to show off, but to create an uncanny and eery soundscape, supported by a piano that produces apparently endless sustained notes and percussive scraping.
I would suggest you listen for yourself. Both young artists have produced an album worth looking for, with music that is on the one hand balanced and controlled, and at the same time adventurous and exploring, and in doing so creating strong musical and emotional contrasts, often within the same composition of improvisation, taking the listener by surprise, but then surprises of the pleasant kind.“

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