Recommended: Goncalo Leonardo Quartet – “East 97th”


There’s a dreamy presence to the debut by Gonçalo Leonardo.  Whether it’s the thick blues of “Just a Folk Song,” the soulful “Easy Going” or the Portuguese folk song “Ó Que Calma Vai Caindo,” the bassist crafts the melody so that it floats ethereally across the length of each piece.  It’s a lovely effect under normal conditions, but the approach really shows its value on a completely improvised piece like “Train Talk” and how the frenetic chatter still possesses the tonal qualities of something more tranquil.  That said, “Spring Beat” and “Which Way” front the magnetism of a pop song while going about the nuanced complexities of a modern jazz tune, and everything about how the quartet rolls those tracks out speaks to the heart of the album.

The guitar of André Matos goes a long way to pulling it all off, but the Fender Rhodes of Yago Vazquez plays no small part in the mechanics, as with the rhythmic approach applied by drummer Tommy Crane.  With East 97th, there’s some edge and some kick, and its greatest use is as context for the enchanting way this album drifts peaceably along.

Your album personnel: Gonçalo Leonardo (bass), André Matos (guitar), Yago Vazquez (piano, Fender Rhodes) and Tommy Crane (drums).

Released on Robalo Music.

Listen to more of the album on the artist’s Bandcamp page.

Music from Lisbon, Portugal.

Available at Bandcamp | Amazon