Norberto Lobo – Estrela (three:four records, 2018) ****
Gorgeous, surreal Tropicalia-inflected avant-garde jazz from the prominent Portuguese guitarist Norberto Lobo’s quartet, consisting of Yaw Tembe on trumpet, Ricardo Jacinto on cello, and Marco Franco on percussion. While not his first foray into a group setting (he’s had a long standing duo with the drummer João Lobo and is a frequent collaborator in the Portugeuse music scene), this marks his first group recording under his own name and his third for the excellent three:four label. His warbling, crystalline guitar flights are accompanied here by Tembe’s muted trumpet and the atypical shimmer of the cello/drums rhythm section provided by Jacinto (who plays pizzicato throughout) and Franco. The music is warm and gentle, perfect for winding down, but still engaging enough to satisfy the most ardently cerebral jazz fan. His haunting melodies are satiating, and you’ll find yourself humming them long after the needle has lifted.