NEW RELEASE – RICARDO PINHEIRO
Ricardo Pinheiro’s live recordings from 2009 with Chris Cheek make clear that the Portuguese guitarist had developed a personal style long before he became more visible on the international stages.
Ricardo Pinheiro (guitar), Chris Cheek (tenor and soprano saxophone), Mário Laghina (piano), João Paulo Esteves da Silva (Fender Rhodes), Demian Labaud (bass), Alexander Frazão (drums)
at S. Luiz Theatre, Lisbon on June 28, 2009
Inner Circle Music in 2022
Sereno (Para Patricia)
Open Letter (To Leo)
At the time, Pinheiro’s band no doubt gained ‘momentum’. It moves dynamically in and out of varying spheres, often within the context of one composition. Pinheiro’s airy sound gives his music something of its own. His music switches from Jethro Tull-type lines to funky fusion and elaborate ballads, embellished by Mediterranean and South-American spices, courtesy of 4/5th of his group’s line-up. Besides American guest artist Chris Cheek on tenor and soprano saxophone, Pinheiro is accompanied by pianist Mário Laghina and Fender Rhodes player João Paulo Esteves da Silva from Portugal, bassist Demian Labaud from Argentina and drummer Alexander Frazão from Brazil.
Pinheiro kindly answered some questions about his twin album release. He says: “Chris Cheek was part of my group back in 2008-2010. He is one of my favorite saxophone players in the whole world. We recorded these two albums in June 2009 live at the Teatro S. Luiz in Lisbon, and I became aware of this recording only in September 2021. As the artistic director of the Sintra Jazz Festival 2021, I encountered the sound engineer who showed me the recording – he recorded that particular concert back in 2009. I listened to it and thought the music was happening.”
About the exotic tinges of some of his compositions: “Maybe there is some hidden Mediterranean flavor in the music. Some harmonic progressions, melodies and rhythms maybe suggest this Southern-European utopian imagination, I guess! It must be something that comes out naturally, without any kind of imposition or overthinking. Melody drives my compositional process, and I always try to write beautiful melodies without over-rationalizing about them.”
Cheek probes and smoothly finds his way in the woods of Pinheiro’s sumptuous melodies. His interaction with Soleil Levant’s juicy rhythm is an especially interesting experience. Mário Laghina’s quicksilver piano and João Paulo Esteves da Silva’s Rhodes lines take the fusion of Pop-Up to a higher level. Although his sound here, more woolly than usual, gives the impression of a runaway satellite from a space station, Pinheiro’s statements are equally fulfilling.
Pinheiro and his men revel in their handling of the dream-like Isabel, an enticing and free-flowing piece of rubato lyricism, double-time as well as suggested rhythm, which kind of reflects the temperamental waves and swell of the sea, not least because of Pinheiro’s beautifully executed tone and volume control effects. Pinheiro would elaborate on his balanced bag of tricks on Pinheiro/Cavalli/Ineke’s Triplicity in 2018 and Turn Out The Stars in 2021 and Pinheiro’s Caruma in 2020. He has been very inventive in this respect.
By all means, Pinheiro’s belated album release of Gestures and Momentum by Greg Osby’s Inner Circle Music is not an unnecessary luxury.
Find Gestures and Momentum here.