‘Setembro’ is the brilliantly conceived and executed album from three supremely gifted and creative musical minds in Portuguese pianist Mário Laginha, English saxophonist Julian Argüelles and Norwegian percussionist Helge Andreas Norbakken. Their combined maturity and vision has produced an album of sublime beauty and personality distinguished by effortless and flowing creativity. With propulsive grooves, complex but ever-lyrical melodies, and open-minded interaction ‘Setembro’ demonstrates the vitality and importance of what is great about contemporary jazz in Europe.
Collectively the trio is able to surmount even these individual parts. The warmth of Mário Laginha’s pianism, the percussive energy of Helge Andreas Norbakken and the lyricism and English romanticism of Julian Argüelles bond on an album that is structurally bold, improvisationally audacious, emotionally open and undeniably beautiful. Argüelles has donated two compositions but it’s Mário Laginha who takes the major writing credit with eight songs. The brilliance and inventiveness of his writing illuminates this supremely gifted pianist and composer’s talents and although he’s relatively undiscovered outside Portugal, Setembro will be sure to ignite Mário’s profile throughout Europe and the world.
Rooted in the various traditions of its members, but never less than modern, the music on the album pursues its subtle beat. Take Laginha’s Coisas de Terra. Pulsating with melodic and rhythmic intensity from the start the emphasis quickly shifts, opening a more subtle and emotive vista where the lyricism of Arguelles saxophone and an ostinato figure from the piano intertwine while Norbakken spatters expansive colours from his uniquely diverse percussive setup.
The music is episodic and full of the delights of exploration viewed through the charisma of these great players. With Mário Laginha taking the majority of compositional credit, the aptly titled, Setembro, is an album that explodes in the warmth and energy of a Portuguese late summer in a celebration of what is great about European jazz today.
Out October 6, 2017