There is empirical evidence of a full and reverberating sound in the music of Louise Woolley; a sense-experience that come elongated spumes of melodies reinforced by glorious glissandos and the prolongation of arpeggios, reflected in the depths of the vibrant left hand measures. Naturally and most aptly, her 2016 studio performance is entitled Ressonâncias. If all the forward momentum of the music were linear that would diminish its beauty. This is not the case. As she becomes immersed in the melodic adventure, drawn into its intricate twists and turns, absorbed by the sonic mysteries and elaborate sub-plots Louise Woolley shapes it all with a rhythmic architecture that, magically, tumbles upward.
It’s not what you’d expect from a Brasilian musician, but then what’s not to expect from Brasilian music these days. Far from abandoning the Brasilian musical tradition, Woolley has, in fact, ground its rhythmic African-ness into a mistura fina and enriched its melodic scope by excavating the deepest recesses of emotions which no language could really describe except the language of music. Truth be told, Louise Woolley is a musician with such intuitive powers that she makes the dots leap and dance off the paper, and she can do it all single-handedly. The fact is that she embellishes her pianism not by giving into gratuitous virtuosity but by the inspired use of silence and space, tone and texture gives wings to her ability to animate her pianism with the warmth of human emotions.
Added to all of this Woolley’s talent for orchestration and the good fortune of finding like-minded musicality in the form of bassist Bruno Migotto, drummer Daniel de Paula, saxophonist João Paulo Barbosa, trombonist Paulo Malheiros, the flugelhorn player, Diego Garbin, and – most inspirationally – in the heavenly voices of her daughter Julia Woolley, and Lívia Nestrovski. All the better to amplify the sensuousness of feminine sinew, of course. Even the drums and the bass are made to give voice to the rhythms with an almost leonine grace, accentuating the musical yang, it would seem, over its yin. And with such balletic grace comes palpably sinuous musical textures, which bring a alegria e a “saudade” do Brasil; joy and an ineffable sense of Brasilian longing to life.
Such an inspired ability to animate her ideas by employing an orchestral approach together with a tonal palette alive with hue and texture was always in evidence right from Louise Woolley’s eponymously titled debut recording. On Ressonâncias the Woolley’s skills appear to be more finely honed. The nine songs unfold as if with the rhythm of a diaphanous garment fluttering in a hot, roaring breeze. So little is vouchsafed to other Brasilian pianists as to dynamics and expression and yet this music is clearly an exceptional inspiration for a pianist with Louise Woolley’s insights into musical history.
Much of the brilliant playing by Louise Woolley, aided by an excellent recording, is transferred to “Manhã de Saudade” an elegy to her father (the musician and bassist Pete Woolley) and to “Pra Lívia” and “Pro Michel” poignant sketched from the real-life characters of her fellow-musicians. But perhaps the utter delight and particular joy must lie in Louise Wooley’s realization of the contrapuntal part-writing that is such a feature of all the music on this disc, carving it with a strong-toned, easy fluidity and immaculate technique. This is clearly an album that will be making many returns to my stereo.
Track list – 1: A Caminho (Duo); 2: Pra Lívia; 3: Receba; 4: O Apego; 5: O Desapego; 6: Volta Bem; 7: Pro Michel; 8: Manhã de Saudade; 9: A Caminho
Personnel – Louise Woolley: piano e composições; Bruno Migotto: contrabaixo; Daniel de Paula: bateria; João Paulo Barbosa: sax e flauta; Paulo Malheiros: trombone; Participações especiais: Diego Garbin: flugelhorn; Julia Woolley: voz; Lívia Nestrovski: voz
Released – 2016
Label – Tratorre
Running time – 54:37