Aug 9 2017
There’s nothing fancy or revolutionary about Axis Mundi. It’s just a whole lot of straight-ahead wonderfulness. Vibraphonist Rui Filipe Freitas leads a sextet through a nice mix of new school tunes, keeping the chatter lively and the melodies warm and bright as a noontime sun. “Duro de Roer” scoots right along, with a speedy rhythm carrying solos along on its surface. “Osiris” bookends some wild solos with a catchy melody and a cool groove. “Grace” reveals a sharp edge, whereas “Abscôndito” slows things down to show qualities far gentler.
There’s a likable consistency to how Freitas crafts a melody. It’s something that creates the sense of a bond between the individual tracks. But key to the album’s success is how he and his Sexteto slice and dice that melody up, presenting it differently with each tune, and going about its development with an approach that is anything but consistent. This album is straight-ahead jazz, but Freitas delivers each piece in a way that is unpredictable in how it will ultimately unfold from its opening notes. Tenor saxophonist José Pedro Coelho doubles up on bass clarinet, and that leads to some of the album’s stronger moments. That deep resonance and how it meshes with the icy brilliance of vibraphones is something that doesn’t ever get old, not even a little bit.
Just a real enjoyable recording. It’s one that I keep finding myself returning to, time and again.
Your album personnel: Rui Filipe Freitas (vibraphone), José Pedro Coelho (tenor sax, bass clarinet), João Mortágua (alto & soprano saxophones), Mané Fernandes (guitar), Filipe Teixeira (double bass) and João Martins (drums).
Released on Porta Jazz.
Listen to more of the album on the artist’s Bandcamp page.
Music from Porto, Portugal.
Available at: Bandcamp