Primary Instrument: Band/ensemble/orchestra
The particularly dynamic and inventive Portuguese jazz scene has a new front with the trio LAMA. Curiously enough, the project was born in Roterdam, where the double bassist and composer Gonçalo Almeida and the trumpeter Susana Santos Silva were at the time (2008) studying in the jazz department of the local conservatory. There, they met the Canadian drummer Greg Smith, who used to work in the nearby dance school. Acting in the frontier line between the “mainstream” and the so called avant-garde, “Oneiros” proposes a particular jazz vision for the 21st century, with an interesting use of electronics. The double bass is assisted by a pedal box, and Almeida likes to loop his rhythmic lines once in a while. The trumpet is sometimes digitally processed in real time, giving us different results than the ones presented by Santos Silva with her own quintet or the Orquestra Jazz de Matosinhos. Both are distinctive figures of the Portuguese jazz circuits: Gonçalo Almeida as a member of the Luso-Italian quartet Tetterapadequ (still living in Holland, he plays also with Atos, Spinifex Quintet, and the Michal Osowsky Collective) and Susana Santos Silva integrating the above mentioned big band, which performed and recorded with people like Lee Konitz, Carla Bley, John Hollenbeck, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Mark Turner, Chris Cheek and Joshua Redman, among others. In his turn, Smith is a groove master, active in the International bands such as Colonel Red Live (England), Sandra St Victor’s Sinner Child (US/NL) and Kori Withers (US). Smith has also recorded and performed with NYC saxophonist David Binney. The main focus of the music here is in improvisation, and you’ll be surprised with how fantastic it sounds.
Lama, Oneiros: Let's just call this avant-garde...An alluring set of dissonance and drive. Also on the Clean Feed label, who smartly scooped up this trio up. RECOMMENDED - 17 Dots
long beautiful trumpet calls, low and serene, over a sea of electronics and gentle rhythms... Electronics swirl about in a desert wind..an animated journey... released on the excellent Clean Feed label, who has time again proven themselves unafraid to take chances with challenging recordings - Music is Good
A democratic engagement modelled on structure and deft expressionism akin to a multi-colored water painting... contrasting loose movements, yearning lines, and efficient use of space... Lama is a band that imparts a signature voice due to an abundance of persuasive concepts and alternating frameworks - Glen Astarita, ejazz
Jazz.pt - Best of 2011:
Best Album 2011: Oneiros, Lama - Rui Eduardo Paes Best Musician: Susana Santos Silva - Rui Eduardo Paes Best Musician : Susana Santos Silva - João Martins Best Album 2011: Oneiros, Lama - António Rubio Best Album 2011: Oneiros, Lama - João Moço Best Album 2011: Oneiros, Lama - Paulo Barbosa
Don’t believe the opening notes of Lama‘s Oneiros… they’re a lie and they’ll steer you the wrong way. The pronounced bounce and charge of trumpet and bass is like a doorway into a confused Ringling Bros. tent. It’s the opening statement to both song and album. It says, hey, this is what it’s all about. But it’s a lie. Because after the first 30 seconds, the carnival packs up and leaves town, and all that remains are long beautiful trumpet calls, low and serene, over a sea of electronics and gentle rhythms. It’s a dramatic moment on a dramatic album. Your Personnel for this album: Gonçalo Almeida (bass), Greg Smith (drums), Susana Santos Silva (trumpet). They all chip in on the electronics. The tempo and volume pick up on that first tune, then shift back down to staccato bursts of uneven sound, but Smith’s brushwork keeps it tied back to the serenity that grows distant on the horizon but keeps barely in sight. It gets one to thinking they know where they stand on this album. Keep your eye on that horizon, because the serenity is coming back. Hard to see it, but the thump of solo percussion foretells of its arrival, and the long strides of bass give credence to the promise. Santos returns with beveled notes that rise up and down at odd angles. Electronics swirl about her like desert wind. It appears that all is right with the world again. But don’t believe that… it’s a lie and it’ll steer you the wrong way. Oneiros is a name for the lord of Dream, and even in the most mundane of dreams, nothing is like it seems and nothing stays the same way for very long. And for this, Lama has most certainly not recorded a mundane dream. Sometimes it’s a spy story as with the suave “Dr. No”, and sometimes it’s an animated animal journey like the chipper “Overture for Penguins”. Don’t miss the firefly waltz of “Melodia Minúscula,” especially not after the naked-in-the-high-school-hallways nightmare of “My Fucking Thesis.” The album ends as it began, with the unnerving bounce and charge dispelled by a serene slow-build of benign tension. And as before, the electronics whip around, now with more bite, perhaps in anticipation that the dream will soon be over. Thankfully, once ended, recapturing it is as simple as pressing the play button. Oneiros by Lama is a 47 minute recording of modern jazz, released on the excellent Clean Feed label, who has time again proven themselves unafraid to take chances with challenging recordings. Dave Summer
Let’s just call this avant-garde. A trio consisting of jazzers Susana Santos Silva on trumpet, Gonçalo Almeida on bass, and Greg Smith on drums, with heavy infusions of electronica, Lama has contructed an alluring set of dissonance and drive. Her excellent 2011 release Devil’s Dress already on her resume, Santos continues to develop her voice, and the interplay between all three despite challenging compositions speaks to their history together. Also on the Clean Feed label, who smartly scooped this trio up. 17dots.com
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