Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Dennis Gonzalez/Joao Paulo - "Scapegrace"

Portuguese label Cleanfeed continues its ongoing documentation of Dallas trumpeter Dennis Gonzalez's musical journey with this stunning album of duets he recorded with pianist-composer Joao Paulo Esteves da Silva during a trip to Portugal in 2007. For these recordings, Gonzalez dispensed with the electronic effects he sometimes employs with Yells At Eels, and the pure sounds of his Bb cornet and C trumpet flow into the harmonically rich, dancing chords of Paulo's piano to create a music of simple, pastoral beauty. There are moments of tension and dissonance as well, as in the trumpeter's "Tolleymore," one of three compositions he contributed to the nine-song set. The sound's spareness reveals the lyricism of Gonzalez's lines, and he and the pianist intertwine their extemporizations with exceptional empathy. Overall, the net effect is something akin to a classic '70s ECM session, but with a wash of Iberian warmth in place of Manfred Eicher's Teutonic austerity. The title, by the way, is defined as "an incorrigible rascal" in Merriam-Webster -- a humorous touch from Joao Paulo.

Here's a video of the two musicians playing a concert in the square of the village of Torres Vedras, which reminds me of something out of the film Cinema Paradiso.


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