At last night's Edition label listening party on YouTube the xmas cracker in terms of a preview for early-2022 releases was easily the fantastic 'Short Shore' from Jangada (a word from the Portuguese that translates as ''raft'').
This sweeping piano trio piece from the pianist Mário Laginha with double bassist Bernardo Moreira and drummer Alexandre Frazão was recorded in a Lisbon studio in the summer and weighs in just shy of nine minutes, ''weigh'' because there is a lot of authority and sheer heft to the direction and fulfilment of the piece.
It all begins slowly, just solo piano. Laginha sounds a little like the much-missed Bernardo Sassetti. You certainly get a heart on sleeve swell when a tipping point is reached. Moreira brings with him his own transitional melody very much in the Dan Berglund mould as Laginha pulls back to play an accompanying riff. Frazão doesn't have to do much initially although entering like breaking glass and comes into his own switching away from brushes later when Laginha begins the major improvisation of the piece. The style falls in the modern-mainstream domain. That means it's fairly melodic and not overtly modernistic although containing a progressive feel. There is certainly no short cut to cop-out sentimentality in the trio's approach. And there is little chromaticism but chordally as it continues the changes become that bit more interesting and not at all sugary still steering within strict modal parameters. The challenge and cryptic puzzle to be resolved is in how the trio negotiate the increasing heat of the piece without bringing it prematurely to the boil.
Look for Jangada – which has the 17-minute epic 'The Stone Raft (A jangada de pedra): Lowlands, Raft, Crossroads, South' as its main statement – in February. Mário Laginha, above. Photo: press