João Mortágua alto and soprano saxophones | Carlos Azevedo piano
Leading figures from Porto’s vibrant jazz scene, saxophonist João Mortágua and pianist Carlos Azevedo, aka Calcanhar, announce their recording debut as a duo with the release of Jump, a full-of-beans feast of playful, telekinetic dialogue, chock-a-block with unfettered improvisations and freewheeling imaginative flights.
Often divining inspiration from paintings and poems, Calcanhar opt here for a totally spontaneous approach, Mortágua and Azevdeo drawing on their backgrounds in jazz and classical music, as well as time spent together in the Mazam quartet (whose sophomore album, Pilgrimage, was issued on Clean Feed in 2022), to zero in via the prism of an intensely-focused one-hour recording session, the pair’s virtuosity and unquenchable creativity, refracted through a helter-skelter of hopscotching post-bop refrains, melancholic blues-indebted leitmotifs, and impish, infectious exchange.
‘Jump’ harnesses an in-the-moment vivacity of a bountiful 60-minute summit, preserving its authenticity without edits or any post-production shenanigans, the tracks curated in the exact order they were recorded, testifying to Mortágua’s and Azevedo’s abundant ingenuity, versatility and lightening mastery of contrasting colours, timbres and moods.
Calcanhar translates as ‘heel’, and the sobriquet serves as a fitting allegory for the pair’s flagrant defiance of customary musical boundaries, a modus operandi unperturbed by the tyrannies of aesthetic bias. “The name Calcanhar, or Heel, perfectly encapsulate the essence of this project,” explains Azevedo. “It represents the footprint we leave behind as we navigate a constantly evolving musical path.”
All music by João Mortágua/Carlos Azevedo
Recorded by Suse Ribeiro | Mixed and mastered by André Fernandes
Produced by João Mortágua and Carlos Azevedo | Executive production by Pedro Costa for Trem Azul | Design by Travassos