Gapplegate Music Review – Sousa / Berthling / Ferrandini – Casa Futuro


By Grego Applegate Edwards

Casa Futuro (Clean Feed 334)? Well, yes indeed. All of us old enough lived through the promise of a future that would somehow be utopian, modular, modern in the fullest sense of the word. And then the future came, almost as a parody of that future, with zombies walking the earth staring at their cell phones for what? The ad that reminds them to stop at a burger place who paid for the recommendation? One of my friends the last time I saw him before he died interrupted his what turned out to be last meeting by finding on his cell phone a suggestion to go to a burger place down the street. Eat one before you die. You must fulfill your destiny on planet earth. Leave your friends now and go consume!
Just about everybody I run into on the street, they are madly texting god-knows-what to god-knows-who as they traverse through a world that no longer is here-and-now, but rather there-in-then? But hey, there’s water on Mars so everything may be coming about after all, our long dead Martian brethren may speak to us out of the remains of their civilization, who can say? Meanwhile everybody goes somewhere in order to capture their selfie with the “there” as backdrop. So where ARE we, really?

Casa Futuro reminds us that the future has been here for many years, even though most people do not recognize its existence. The avant garde in architecture, art and music has ever posited that future. And the trio whose album we contemplate today is firmly attached to the tradition of that future in the “jazz” realm, as first experienced so shockingly (for those who listened) in the ’60s free jazz, new thing movement.

Pedro Sousa (tenor sax, etc.), Johan Berthling (double bass) and Gabriel Ferrandini (drums) give us some worthwhile free sounds from across the pond (for those reading this in the States), from Portugal, where things are still hopping, a center for modernity as is New York, Chicago, Berlin and a good deal of other places, though ironically most folks out there don’t know a thing about it much.

Anyway as we press forward this is a trio that comes out of the “new jazz” convincingly and movingly. It’s all about the three-way improvisations that make of the trio a weighted, multi-beinged entity. Pedro shouts out incantations and epithets that follow and expand the footprints of the multi-timbred saxophonists like Ayler and Shepp, Trane and Pharoah, all those initiatory cats that heard Ornette’s cry and responded with cries of their own. Pedro Sousa has that in him and he brings out his own version nicely. It is a language of sorts after all, and he speaks it well.

Key to the sound of the music is Pedro’s multi-phonic approach and its interactions with multiphonic and wooden toned bass excursions by Johan. Johan too builds from the free roots of the tradition–of Silva, Grimes, Parker, and all the pioneering avant bassists who have given us the sounds and the possibility of new sounds to come. Johan has heard them, internalized them and made something of his own from them.

Drummer Gabriel works out of the new thing tradition too, with the open stance Murray, Graves, Ali, Altschul and the others put forward in the first period of freetime playing. He too has carved a domain of his own out of the tradition of the future.

So there are three improvised segments to be heard on this album, with plenty of nicely imaginative freeplay to be heard from three instrumentalists any avant player of notes would be happy, I’d imagine. to join together with. As it is the trio fills our sonic airspace quite effectively without the assistance of others. They are a casa futuro unto themselves.

The Beats were sometimes obsessed with the need to be instantaneously in the now. The New Thing wanted to create the same in terms of sound. Our cell phone texting brethren may think they are also virtually present in “nowness,” but it is not direct. This music IS.

And so this is a fine album, I am saying in so many words. The future may indeed be coming, but in the meantime we have good examples of its intimations in music such as this. Hear it if you can!

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