ALIPIO C NETO QUARTET – The perfume comes before the flower (CF 092)
Brazilian reedist Neto, here on tenor sax and flute, leads a quartet featuring Herb Robertson (trumpet, cornet, flutes), Ken Filiano (double bass) and Michael T.A. Thompson (soundrhythium percussionist – don’t ask) plus Ben Stapp, who plays tuba in three pieces. They present music that appears well constructed, not too complicated yet, in spurts, designed in reference to uncommon methods. Exactly in the moment when the mind gets used to the complex interrelations occurring in some of the parts, here’s a sudden opening which addresses the attention towards something that sounds more comprehensible – a squared-out theme, a graceful line. The leader possesses distinct instrumental voice and keen compositional intelligence to inform his material with, preventing the group to fall into the traps of musty jazz. Despite the often very intense swaps between him and Robertson, there are many and one moment in which we clearly perceive the indigenous root of the music; expectedly, one would say but it’s not so, as Neto declares postcard elements completely extraneous to his writing, furnishing us instead with a vivid reminder about the strong coalescence of hard times and happiness that spell “Brazil” in essence. The level of communication – both among the players and with the audience – remains high throughout the five tracks. Filiano, Thompson and the cleverly talented Stapp are all active contributors to a lingo that doesn’t cease to tickle interest, not even after repeated listens.