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Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Frame Trio - Luminaria (FMR, 2018) ****½

By Stef

For a number of years now, Portuguese musicians Luis Vicente and Marcelo Dos Reis have released wonderful albums again and again in various ensembles and settings. On "Luminaria", they are in the company of Belgian bass-player Nils Vermeulen.

Luis Vicente's trumpet playing is excellent as usual, energetic, powerful and sensitive at the same time. He can make his horn jubilate in ecstasy, moan from despair and weep in deep sadness, while at the same time searching for new sounds, stuttering, groaning, whispering and howling. Marcelo Dos Reis' guitar playing is surely out of the ordinary: sometimes real chords get played, arpeggiated or not, but more often than not his instrument is a percussion and noise generator rather than a harmonic or solo instrument: the strings and the board get hammered, literally, squeezed, plugged and stretched,   and the resulting sound is usually not disorienting but quite to the contrary: it creates a hypnotic and rhythmic backbone for the music.

Nils Vermeulen is possibly less known, although the Belgian double bass player appeared in a recent review of the excellent album "Immediate Obscurities" by TONUS. Like the two Portuguese musicians, his interest resides in timbral explorations and sound vibrations. The long "Luminaria IV" starts with Vermeulen's sensitive and abrasive bowing, setting the scene for a wonderful and almost magic improvisation, with the bass keeping its mesmerising bowing for the entire piece, pixeled with the little rhythmic guitar sprinkles of Dos Reis, and Vicente's haunting trumpet. The result is uncanny.

Despite the band's instruments, they do not feel limited by genre. Dos Reis' rhythmic sense is more rock than jazz-influenced, driving the energy, the agitated and hypnotic pace, mixing many other influences, over which Vicente's physical trumpet-playing adds a sense of calm and space, getting more depth and relief thanks to Vermeulen's deeply resonating bass.

The great thing for listeners is that this young generation of improvising artists manages to create its own voice, open to other musicians to explore musical innovation in a way that is richer than ever.

Highly recommended!

Listen and download from Bandcamp.

Some other recent albums with Luis Vicente and Marcelo Dos Reis:

Luís Vicente, Seppe Gebruers & Onno Govaert - Live at Ljubljana (Multikulti, 2018)
Chamber 4 – City of Light (Clean Feed, 2017)
Onno Govaert, Marcelo dos Reis, Luís Vicente, Kristján Martinsson – In Layers (FMR, 2016)
Fail Better! - OWT (No Business, 2016)
Twenty One 4tet - Live at Zaal 100 (Clean Feed, 2016)
Marcelo dos Reis - Cascas (Cipsela, 2017)
Marcelo dos Reis & Eve Risser - Timeless (JACC Records, 2017)
Pedra Contida - Amethyst (FMR, 2017)
STAUB Quartet - House Full of Colors (JACC, 2017)
Marcelo dos Reis & Angélica V. Salvi - Concentric Rinds‏ (Cipsela, 2015)
Luis Vicente, Theo Ceccaldi, Valentin Ceccaldi & Marcelo Dos Reis - Chamber 4 (FMR, 2015) Fail Better! - Zero Sum (JACC, 2014)