Hugo Carvalhais – Particula (CF 253)
A quintet date with Carvalhais (bass, electronics), Emile Parisien (soprano saxophone), Gabriel Pinto (piano, organ, synthesizer), Dominique Pifarély (violin) and Mário Costa (drums). I should say right off that the music is well outside of my range of the last couple of decades at least but, still, it’s quite well done and, even to these jaded ears, worms its way in and sits with surprising comfort. There’s something of a classic ECM feel, especially with the soprano tracing catchy unison lines with piano and bass, but also hints of Anthony Davis’ Episteme ensemble (the opening to “Capsule” bears more than a passing resemblance to Davis’ “A Walk in the Valley”) and, in Pifarély’s violin, a welcome tinge of Leroy Jenkins. As well, Carvalhais’ playing strikes me as owing a good bit to Dave Holland–his intro on “Simulacrum” almost sounding like an outtake from a Circle session–and Pinto occasionally recalls Paul Bley.
This can be problematic for me, needless to say, but on the other hand, the influences are well-chosen and the group manages to, to some degree, transcend them, creating work that somehow stands on it own without teetering. It may not be my current cuppa, but I can easily imagine it being greatly enjoyed by both fans of the earlier music and nascent ears looking for an attractive and intelligently played alternative to more humdrum attempts at maintaining the genre.