Memórias de Quem

João Paulo

João Paulo (p),

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The piano solo format is a natural one for this musician of great inner density. João Paulo is a composer of exquisite melodic and harmonic sensibility. He’s also a very special improviser, with the same drive, deliverance and proficiency that we recognize in Keith Jarrett. But Paulo isn’t just a Lisbon-based disciple of Jarrett’s stylings and techniques, even if there are the same Romantic references, more Schumann than Chopin. With a classical Conservatory formation in which he had the highest classification possible and several prizes of excellency, he could have been an accomplished performer of “serious music”, but he preferred to adopt the jazz idiom and decided to relate it with a personal quest: to find the roots of his identity as a Portuguese artist and an European. He does so, for instance, using themes from the folk tradition of his country and from Sephardic old tunes. “Mi Alma”, “Ramagem” and “Durme” are clear examples of this. “Memórias de Quem” is an interrogative album by a pianist who searches deeper and deeper in an attempt to know and understand his own self through subconscious memories of sounds and feelings. The memories remind us of the Jewish presence in Portugal’s history, of Arabic influences, of all the mixing of cultures that took place here (Phoenenician, Roman, Spanish, French, African.) with the remaining characteristics of the original people occupying this territory, the Lusitans. Jazz, a music genre also resulting from several sources, is really the ideal context for this enterprise. This is a bright, sunny music, exactly as you would expect from the White City (Lisbon, as cinema director Alain Tanner called it because of its white light)


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