Carlos Bica feat. José Soares, Eduardo Cardinho, Gonçalo Neto

Carlos Bica  double bass |  José Soares  alto sax | Eduardo Cardinho  vibraphone | Gonçalo Neto  guitar, banjo


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Whether ingeniously interpreting the works of Beethoven, collaborating with the likes of saxophonist Daniel Erdmann and experimental turntablist DJ Illvibe, or leading his long-standing Azul trio with Berlin-based guitar genius Frank Mobüs and New York drum wizard Jim Black, the inescapable essence and distinctive lyricism of Portuguese double-bassist and composer Carlos Bica always shines through.
His prolific, innovative and constantly engaging output has seen him take a deserved seat at the top table of Europe’s jazz scene, while his lasting melodies have graced major festivals around the world and emboldened collaborations with such great musicians as John Zorn, Lee Konitz, Alexander von Schlippenbach, Ray Anderson, Kenny Wheeler and Aki Takase, among many others.
On 11:11, the experienced Bica brings together an ensemble of young players for a sublime set of almost mirage-like offerings suffused in lush halcyon moods. Suggestions of bliss-kissed arcadian melodies are dappled here in exploratory dialogues of light and shadow, tentatively unravelling like a half-remembered promenade through the verdant gardens of Pascal Quignard’s All The World’s Mornings, while rarer angular moments suggest the universe’s many inscrutable numerological riddles, incumbent within Bica’s cryptic title choice.
More apparition than album, 11:11 is zoned with benevolent spirits: the spectral ripple of Eduardo Cardinho’s vibes on gauzy opener ‘Roots’, the subtle cinematic phantasms evoked by Gonçalo Neto’s Frisellian guitar blues during ‘Love Boat’, José Soares’ breathy, wraithlike alto flickering across ‘A Place You Will Never See’ and, aching persistently at its heart, Bica’s deep, yet dulcet timbre, evangelising raw emotion in a tender angelic tremor.
But 11:11 has one final ghost to raise, for this year marks the 50th anniversary of Portugal’s Carnation Revolution, an event synonymous with liberation and freedom of expression. During ‘A Noite’ the quartet supplements an archival recording featuring the disembodied voice of singer-songwriter, actor and activist José Mário Branco, orbiting his poignant croon in barely-there tracery, before wreathing his dreams in garlands of flame, as Soares’ sax and Neto’s axe strike up an audaciously recalcitrant coda.
At a time when, tragically, too many of his fellow natives refuse to learn the lessons history has taught them, Bica pays reverent tribute to one of his all-time heroes, who fervently believed in democracy and was willing to fight for it all the way.

All compositions by Carlos Bica except: 01 and 08 by Gonçalo Neto, 03 by Carsten Johannes Daerr, 11 by José Mário Branco, 12 by Carlos Bica and Gonçalo Neto | The arrangements of the songs on this album are the result of collective work by the band

Recorded by Nelson Carvalho at Arda Recorders Studios, Porto, 27-29 March 2024 | Mixed by Johannes Feige at WoAnderland Studio, Berlin, May 2024 | Mastered by Hans-Jörg Maucksch at Pauler Acoustics, Northeim, May 2024
Produced by Carlos Bica | Executive production by Pedro Costa for Trem Azul | Design by Travassos | Photos by Sebas Ferreira

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