Susana Santos Silva compositions / trumpet / flugel João Pedro Brandão alto sax / flute Hugo Raro piano Torbjörn Zetterberg double bass Marcos Cavaleiro drums Maile Colbert field recordings (1/8)
In music, as in life, the impermanence of things is the only truth that feeds the development and creativity of our existence. The existence of everything after all.
When we realize what something is, that something is no longer the same. Or is it us looking at it in a different way? This is then the reason why this music recreates and transforms itself at every moment and never repeats itself.
Na música, como na vida, a impermanência das coisas é a única verdade que alimenta o desenvolvimento e a criatividade da nossa existência. Da existência de tudo afinal. Quando nos apercebemos daquilo que uma coisa é, esta já não o é da mesma forma. Ou somos nós que olhamos para ela de outra maneira. Esta é então a razão pela qual esta música se recria e se transforma a cada momento e nunca se repete.
All About Jazz Henning Bolte 10/18
Trumpeter Susana Santos Silva performed with her unit Impermanence, eponymous with the first album released with the configuration. It is the most Portuguese group of Santos’ many groups (see here) in terms of participating musicians. All musicians were from Portugal except bassist
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Susana Santos Silva, working and living in Stockholm and Porto, has become a known name in the European jazz field. She has collaborated and recorded with a multitude of creative key figures in Europe and in the US. I have followed her over the years, watched her impressive perseverance and effort to shape her voice and, out of strong conviction, contribution to collective improvisational processes.
There is much ado around the concept of silence in music in recent years. As a matter of fact silence is the opponent to sound making and as such can be quite significant in musical contexts, for example as a starting point, as interruption or as post-state. Other notions relevant here are disruption, confusion, collapse, fade out, transition, mutation etc., a plethora of possibilities and challenges for real time creation in music, improvisational expansions or detours. Departing from a fixed structure here meant not to play it as accurately as possible to a preconceived end but to actively distort and deform it in a way that again and again new themes and structures would emerge to be worked on in the same way. In doing this intentionally musicians give the audience the possibility to watch it as an interesting, captivating game to be played with wit and sophistication. It was quite daring to present this in the showcase straightjacket.
Distortion was not an end in itself but a method to discover hidden possibilities, to unlock incubating potentials. The musicians were very conscious of form throughout. They densified, accelerated, slowed down and swung into concentrated silence regularly or were marking time. Thereby a lot of attractive sound-gestures and soundscapes were generated, passed by and transmuted. The piece “Sound of Thought” using electronics and field recordings was a kind of soundtrack for a neural network firing at an increasing rate, from which a clear gestalt emerged. Compared to the realization on the album Impermanence (Portajazz, 2015) pieces worked on in the showcase had more rough, sharp and edgy qualities.
Free Jazz Blog Stef Gijssels 11/15
“Impermanence” is a hard to categorise album. It brings composed pieces, with strong themes and arrangements, yet it also deliberately colors outside the lines, disorienting listeners who thought they were on an easy ride, and obviously also offering a lot of space for improvisation.
The first track, “Many Worlds” is a good example of this, the angular theme is soon disrupted by electronic sounds, and then the whole carefully organised edifice collapses for some undefined music, with a moaning trumpet leading the way into this wonderful universe of strong contrasts, because before you know, you’re listening to some post-boppish rhythmic band interaction, only to end with electronic high-pitched tones. “Many Worlds” indeed, and it also give a good idea of the album’s title “Impermanence”, the common ground of shifting sounds, changing ideas and life that floats through multiple forms, from solid tangible ground to ephemeral abstractions and everything in between, never repeating itself, always re-inventing itself, and so is this music.
The band are Susana Santos Silva on trumpet and flugelhorn, João Pedro Brandão on alto and flute, Hugo Raro on piano, Torbjörn Zetterberg on double bass, Marcos Cavaleiro on drums, and Malle Colbert offers field recordings for two tracks.
“Oblivious Trees” starts with a very intense and in-your-face dialogue between muted trumpet and arco bass, as if both are arguing or quarreling or even fighting each other, yet then the plucked bass takes the lead position, guiding us into more boppish territory with a flute solo, supported by percussive piano chords, then again shifting into a disciplined drums solo to end the piece.
“Imaginary Life” is playful, starting with unison horns supported by light piano arpeggios and sophisticated percussion and when the band stops, Santos Silva’s trumpet takes over for a unaccompanied solo that is full of contrasts between ferocity and gentleness.
In contrast, “Geringonça” is wild and energetic, starting like mayhem, yet gradually the band folds into patterns and even quietens down a bit as if collecting their thoughts for the unison theme that only emerges in the last seconds.
One more track that really stands out is “Sound Of Thought”, a piece that starts with what could be an impression of my own thought processes, full of chaos, darkness and opacity, yet halfway these various conflicting and contrasting sounds coalesce into one, resulting in a lightly boppish song, in which the alto plays a beautiful solo, before being joined by the trumpet, and all’s well that ends well.
In short, the most accessible of the albums reviewed here, with often beautiful themes and heart-rending solos, even if the band does not shy away from adventurous moments and even daring conceptual ideas.
Salt Peanuts Eyal Hareuveni 10/15
It may be hard to believe but «Impermanence» is only the sophomore solo album of Portuguese trumpeter Susana Santos Silva. She is one of the most interesting voices to rise in the European scene in the last few years, busy working with the LAMA and De Beren Gieren trios, frequent projects with Swedish double bass player Torbjörn Zetterberg and Slovenian pianist Kaja Draksler, as well with fellow countrymen drummer Jorge Queijo, the ensemble Coreto and the Orquestra Jazz de Matosinhos.
The limited-edition «Impermanence» was created in her hometown, Porto, with the local jazz musicians association Porta-Jazz, augmented with Zetterberg, and released by this association label. Silva states about this album that «in music, as in life, the impermanence of things is the only truth that feeds the development and creativity of our existence». This realization leads to the conclusion that answers «why this music recreates and transforms itself at every moment and never repeats itself».
Silva succeeds to balance her qualities as a musician with a personal voice of her own, a commanding leader and her skills as a distinct, quite varied composer who know how to sketch intricate, melodic textures, full of intriguing tension and an expansive interplay. She builds on her prior experiences with her group musicians. Her immediate understanding with Zetterberg feeds most of the compositions. It is highlighted on the long piece «Oblivious Trees», that begins with the two alone in an intimate, associative talk, later in the restless, rhythmic «Geringonça», the moving ballad «No Trees Land» and concluded on the mysterious sounding «Sound of Thought».
The rest of her group – sax player João Pedro Brandão and pianist Hugo Raro, with whom she played in the Coreto ensemble (including the recent «Sem Chão – ao vivo na Porta Jazz»), drummer Marcos Cavaleiro, who played on her debut album, «Devil’s Dress», and sound and visual designer Maile Corbert, with whom she performed before – flesh out her compositions with great detail and colors. Silva unique language as instrumentalist and improviser is demonstrated best on the elegiac «Imaginary Life».
Enola Magazine Guy Peters 10/15 (google translate)
An album which earlier this year appeared on the label of organization Porta Jazz, and where was remarkably little ink wasted on (the album also appeared in a small edition of 250 pieces) and that is just strange and unfortunate, because it leaves own a successful cross hear from Santos Silva’s qualities on the trumpet / flugelhorn, as a composer and bandleader. Together with saxophonist João Pedro Brandão (who also plays in Coreto with her), pianist Hugo Raro, drummer Marcos Cavaleiro is actually a real-together from Porto, where Zetterberg is further added. It leads to a remarkable album which initially appears to lack cohesion, but that just makes a continuous transformation asset. It is something that already indicated by the title of the album. Just as nothing can ever be eternal, or changing before our eyes, the music is also subject to continuous stilistische- and mood swings.
A track may start out as fairly cheerful and nice mating jazz, like opener “Many Worlds”, but that does not mean it’s going to end as well, because it turns into electronics in which a sci-fi -randje to shows, the interplay can disintegrate into a more sober approach (with a lovely moment in which Santos Silva, her voice let seep into her trumpet playing), a freer passage or, eventually, end with field recordings of Maile Colbert. And so you get different moves, making this course of 55 minutes, repeatedly emits a different sound. In the longer “Oblivious Trees” stand Santos Silva and Zetterberg in the foreground with a lyrical turn, already is the bassist little later rampage with whimsical bow game that recalls his powerful invasion turn at Angles Nine in May this year. And in the second half bends it back into jazz that gets a somewhat exotic vibe by the whistle of Brandão.
A little later, in the ensuing “Imaginary Life” is unpacked by a grand lingering walkway with a wonderful combination of elegiac blow job and turned on the piano. In “Geringonça”, the jazz city center, with crackling bladder work on the trumpet, angular rhythms and clever tightness. Once you reach valve “Sound Of Thought” have arrived, with its soundscape-like sounds and abstract approach to the realization that this band actually just be seen as a counterpart to what De Beren Gieren do. It is music that abstraction and compactness, a focus on melody and harmony, but also in texture, is able to unite very handsome, with an approach that is thoroughly contemporary. Not only a rich group album then, but also an ideal entry plate to further explore the work of the trumpeter.
_______ Ípsilon by Nuno Catarino 09/15
Gravado em quinteto, Impermanence resultou de uma parceria com o festival Guimarães Jazz, tendo sido registado no Centro Cultural Vila Flor. A acompanhar Santos Silva estão João Pedro Brandão no saxofone alto (e na flauta), Hugo Raro no piano, Torbjörn Zetterberg no contrabaixo e Marcos Cavaleiro na bateria. O quinteto trabalha um conjunto de temas originais de Santos Silva, que se consagra aqui como excelente compositora, fazendo uma música de horizontes largos, a explorar os pontos fortes de cada um dos seus parceiros. Tal como a recente geração do jazz nortenho mais criativa (Ensemble Super Moderne, octeto de João Guimarães e Coreto Porta-Jazz), o trabalho de composição de Santos Silva atravessa diferentes universos, assumindo aquilo que parece ser uma marca de contemporaneidade: a abertura a uma grande amplitude estética. E, apesar dessa diversidade, a música resulta fluida, salientando as dinâmicas de grupo e aproveitando as características individuais de cada instrumentista. Esta música não se fixa, balança entre mundos, ora embala na ginga de Geringonça, ora soa austera como no arranque solene de Oblivious trees. Mas se há tema representativo, será Imaginary life: primeiro às voltas na melodia sedutora, sempre recorrente, envolvendo os vários elementos do grupo, até que o final se abre para a exploração solo do trompete, com Susana a exprimir todos os seus recursos.
Não gostei particularmente do concerto de apresentação deste disco em Coimbra, aquando do festival Jazz ao Centro – referii isso mesmo aqui na jazz.pt. Reconheci a qualidade das ideias composicionais de Susana Santos SIlva, reveladoras de que está a apostar também na escrita, mas algo impediu que a música “passasse”. Agora que ouvi o disco compreendo porquê: havia um problema de performatividade, de apresentação em palco dessas mesmas ideias. O certo é que “Impermanence” é um grande disco. Um desses discos que nos enchem a alma, muito bem pensado e tocado, imaginativo, desafiante. Porque não correu bem a actuação? Só encontro um motivo: esta é uma música difícil, conceptual, que necessita de uma tradução cénica forte. Esse impacto faltou em Coimbra, mas está aqui bem plasmado.
Percebe-se que o modelo deste álbum está nas composições de Peter Evans para o seu octeto, mas as coordenadas da trompetista do Porto são outras. Vão do jazz elaborado da Blue Note no período áureo da editora a fórmulas da música livremente improvisada, combinando processos convencionais com alguma experimentação. Consigo, Santos Silva tem João Pedro Brandão (saxofone alto, flauta), Hugo Raro (piano), Torbjorn Zetterberg (contrabaixo) e Marcos Cavaleiro (bateria). No primeiro e no último temas, ouve-se ainda a electrónica de Maile Colbert. Trata-se, pois, de um quinteto, por duas vezes transformado em sexteto, mas parecem mais os intervenientes: a experiência orquestral da líder, membro da Orquestra Jazz de Matosinhos, tem óptimos resultados na forma como trabalha com os timbres, tirando o máximo proveito das suas combinações. Em termos de execução instrumental, é especialmente de assinalar a magnífica contribuição de Raro – temos pianista!
Jazzin.rs Belgrade Festival by Igor Mišković 10/15
“A specific compound of free-improv approach to the instrument, group improvisation, classic arrangements, counterpoint moments between saxophone and trumpet and minimalism filled of good taste. The quintet consisted of Portuguese jazz musicians and Swedish bassist Torbjörn Zetterberg, all under the baton of young trumpeter Susana Santos Silva. The concert had an organic quality in which the tracks originate from the interaction of the musicians, written arrangements and melodic fragments. The whole performance flowed very naturally and one got the impression that the songs flowed into one another reinforcing the meditative atmosphere of melancholy and transience that is the leitmotif of the album “Impermanence”. Often the double bass would stand out from free improvisation textures to a line that led the band towards a more coherent expression. Susana, charismatic and discreet leader, was always very concentrated, like the rest of the band, listening to every sound she produced (which included noise , screams, whispers and the sound of air out of the trumpet), as well as of the other members of the quintet.”
Jazz.pt Festa do Jazz do S. Luiz by Rui Eduardo Paes 03/15
Outro ponto alto da Festa do Jazz foi a apresentação do álbum “Impermanence” por Susana Santos Silva em formato de quinteto. Com um vídeo de Maile Colbert, artista “intermedia” norte-americana residente em Portugal, projectado por trás e transições gravadas de música electrónica, aquilo que faltou – presença – num dos primeiros concertos do projecto em 2015, inserido no Jazz ao Centro, teve merecida correcção. Cartão-de-visita da trompetista enquanto compositora, o jazz geométrico e algo cerebral (no bom sentido, porque conceptual) proposto tem alguns riscos performativos, mas estes foram magnificamente ultrapassados pela trupe que a acompanhou, designadamente João Pedro Brandão no saxofone alto e na flauta, um cada vez mais afirmativo e galvanizante Hugo Raro no piano, Torbjorn Zetterberg no contrabaixo (notável a solar) e Marcos Cavaleiro na bateria. Uma referência óbvia era o octeto de Peter Evans, mas traduzida numa música com personalidade própria e exigindo escuta atenta.