The specialised Clean Feed sublabel “Shhpuma” keeps surprising with their excellent choice of new music coming out of Portugal. And this piano percussion duo performance is another hit in the bull’s eye. Paulo Mesquita plays prepared piano and Pedro Oliveira prepared drums.
It isn’t jazz, Mesquita comes from a classical background, and the typical 7th chords are totally absent from his playing, making the music probably more accessible to non-jazz fans, but then the nature or the character of the music is “fire music” if I can use the term. The duo improvises but more on rhythmical and percussive core ideas than with lyrical expansion. Mesquita is excellent at keeping his music focused on a few key ideas, to be explored in immediate interaction with the drums, and I must say that the role of the drums here is quite unusual and without a doubt playing a role as important as the piano. Oliveira does not have a classical background, he’s been playing in rock and pop bands mainly, yet the interaction of both musicians is free improv of the welcoming kind, something that may please broader groups of listeners, but then again, they’re not afraid to take things far beyond the accessible.
It’s hard to find immediate musical references. Benoît Delbecq comes to mind at times, Michel Wintsch too, and at moments even Jarrett, but then this music is still too different, more dramatic, more percussive, more explosive, more evocative of nature, with quite a unique voice.