Wednesday, April 26, 2006

liberating music trio

[Moved out of the overly-long post it was originally in]

Musicians Moments has some interesting info (in French) on the role of music in the 1975 overthrow of Portugal's Salazar dictatorship. In short, the military strategist who led the revolt carefully thought out the broadcasting of two songs: "E depois do adeus" on April 24 1975 at 10:55 PM and "Grândola vila morena" at 12:30 AM. The latter became a symbol of the revolution, with the notable lyrics "O povo é quem mais ordena, dentro de ti ó cidade" ("It is the people who rule, inside you O city").

"Grândola vila morena" was written by Jose Afonso. Jazz fans may want to check out bassist Zé Eduardo's A Jazzar no Zeca – A Música de José Afonso (Clean Feed). It's fairly mainstream post-Rollins/Coltrane that's been opened up by 30 years of free jazz.Listening to it, I have little idea of what Afonso's music sounds like: I can often only guess at what the original melodies and other elements were. I'm sure the Portuguese audience this was aimed at (the liner notes are in Portuguese, even though Clean Feed liners tend to be in English, even for Portuguese musicians) knows the original songs well enough for the changes to make sense. The popular music base gives the trio an enjoyable everyman and real (in a Mingusian sense) feel and there's just enough arrangement (whether in the rhythms - fast swing to calyspo and a touch of reggae - or in the sax/bass and full-trio unisons) to balance out the freedom. Saxophonist Jesus Santandreu is resourceful, but Eduardo and drummer Bruno Pedroso are near-equal partners.