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Saturday, November 13, 2021

José Lencastre Nau Quartet + Pedro Carneiro - Thoughts Are Things (Phonogram Unit, 2021) ****½

 By Stef Gijssels

How many times have I listened to this album? Possibly fifty times. And I'm sure I will listen even more to it in the future. The band is saxophonist José Lencastre's Nau Quartet with Rodrigo Pinheiro on piano, Hernâni Faustino on double bass, and João Lencastre on drums. The new voice is Pedro Carneiro on marimba to become a quintet. 

They present us four tracks of around ten minutes, all clearly improvised, but how! The piano and the marimba form an unexpected great match, both creating a flowing harmonic river that creates the structure for José Lencastre's strong tenor or more sensitive alto. The bass and drums actively participate in creating the fullness of the band's sound. 

Whether in the more intense opener "One Way To Cultivate Courage", or the slower and more lyrical "Thought Atmospheres", the vibrant "Your Latent Powers", or the gentle "The Magnet Of Thought", the whole band is in supershape, making music that is cohesive and unidirectional. 

Like with Lencastre's other bands or with the RED Trio, the music is warm, emotional while being free as the wind and flowing as the river, even to the point of being hypnotic. As the listener, you can only sit back and well ... listen and enjoy this warm blanket of sound to envelop you, to rejoice in the solos and the interplay. Despite its inherent freedom, the music has a post-boppish accessibility with sometimes even bluesy undertones, only showing that they are deeply rooted in jazz tradition. 

Listen and download from Bandcamp

Watch "Thought Atmospheres" on the video below.