Ensemble Super Moderne comprises a group of exceptional, virtuoso musicians. It is important to see things that way as this astonishing music is what defines the ensemble in ways that are often quite indescribable. This music is dramatic, sweeping and utterly relevant. And were the band another group of artists—dramatists, for instance—this music would belong to Théâtre de l’Absurde. But there is apparently no need for that as Ensemble Super Moderne brings that spare and outrageously beautiful dramaturgy to this music, especially on this, reinforcing the belief among peers and critics that the music has created a theatrical piece—an eight-part suite—of considerable splendour and importance. The music must, no doubt, be judged as a series of movements in work for small chamber ensemble. Ensemble Super Moderne has created here to a very different repertoire demonstrating what a wide range of music he can with his intelligent, imaginative playing.
Much of the ultra-absurdist suite proceeds in a state of elevated emotion, with eight clear formal signposts. These are displayed as eight sections of this cycle from “La Capricciosa”—a marvelous caprice for strings, brass, reeds, woodwinds and percussion—to “Última Canção de 1013”. From the caprice past “The Dreary Life of Pugnacious Cacti” all the way down to the end, the Ensemble Super Moderne certainly doesn’t hold back from sweeping intensity, but they still retain a measure of objectivity, finding places to relax and never pushing the expression beyond what sounds beautiful, capturing perfectly the deep tranquility of the central “…Dreary Life of Pugnacious Cacti” with its distinctive angularity and abrupt changes in rhythm.
The sound worlds of the rest of the suite—bright and cool—are evoked with equal conviction. The saxophonists have a full plump tone and more of a classical sweep, and it is the Mr. Ângelo/Carlos Azevedo account more for expressive detail, hinting at moods of gentle nostalgia and emotional fragility. There is similar contrast between the horns and the rhythm section in “Ripolim”—Mr. Coelho and Mr. Teixeira more robust, with more strongly projected sound, Mr. Ângelo and Carlos Azevedo more delicate and intimate. In the bluesy movement (“Regui”) this produces startling results; the details are wonderfully idiomatic, yet the playing is initially so refines that when the music later breaks out of its shell, the contrast is extraordinary. It is like a strange, distorted dream of a jazz performance. The effect of “Ninja’s” and the rest of the suite are similar; precision in capturing the idiom, allied to vivid juxtapositions of power and delicacy. It all adds up to a must-hear album. The enterprising release is a limited-edition, rounded off by interesting packaging and his fleshes out a truly fascinating group of musicians playing inspired music.
Track List: La Capricciosa; Morpheus; Modern; The Dreary Life of Pugnacious Cacti; Ripolim; Regui; Ninja’s; Última Canção de 1013
Personnel: José Pedro Coelho: tenor and soprano saxophones; José Soares: alto saxophone; Rui Teixeira: baritone saxophone, bass clarinet; Paulo Perfeito: trombone; Eurico Costa: electric guitar; Carlos Azevedo: piano, synthesizer; Miguel Ângelo: double bass, electric bass; Mário Costa: drums
Label: Carimbo Porta Jazz | Release date: January 2015
Website: http://ensemblesupermoderne.com/ | Buy music on: amazon
About Ensemble Super Modern
With solid and accomplished musical paths, eight musicians come together to explore different ways of narrative, improvise and interact musically. With a strong compositional component that can brings together as many good influences as possible, Ensemble Super Moderne stands out for having not one sound but several. The concept of an aesthetic line as a unifying element of the project disappears. The Ensemble Super Moderne does not subscribe to any one musical idion, but embraces all. Find out more…