Susana Santos Silva – “Giz”


Discovered this while wandering the internet and hitting up some of the artist sites on my various lists.

Giz isn’t really a proper album, per se. It doesn’t appear it’s even for sale.  [EDIT:  The album is now available for purchase on Silva’s Bandcamp page. Link below- DSS]  A set of improvisations by the trio of trumpeter Susana Santos Silva, guitarist Federico Casagrande, and alto saxophonist João Guimarães, the audio originates from a June 2012 performance at the Porto, Portugal bar O Meu Mercedes é Maior Que o Teu (which translates to “My Mercedes is bigger than yours”), a venue that has seen an array of strong acts perform there before they became a big thing.

Predominately meditative in nature, yet the directions taken by the trio don’t exactly travel through serene waters.  Often taking parallel paths that result in lovely messy tangles and fluid convergences, each musician nevertheless keeps track of the other trio members, and the symbiosis of their expressions brings a cohesion to the music that is terribly inviting.

Silva’s trumpet switches between the sound of distant calls out into the night sky and the low grumble of burrowing underground.  Casagrande’s guitar often picks a slowly meandering path, but intersperses warm melodic fragments at well placed intervals.  Guimarães offers languorous notes on alto sax, sometimes harmonious, sometimes ethereal and warbling.  And it all fits together so very well.

The album title Giz translates from Portuguese as chalk.  On her site, Silva explains that this refers to how this recording began as a blackboard drawing by the trio, from which the improvisations launched.

I’m thrilled that the trio posted this performance on Bandcamp to share with their listeners.

Some background, briefly:

I first became familiar with trumpeter Susana Santos Silva from her excellent 2011 release Devil’s Dress. an album I included in my Best of 2011 wrap-up (and which you can read HERE).  She’s also a member of Lama, an experimental outfit that mixes Jazz with electronics and drone (read more HERE).  Definitely one of the more exciting trumpet players on the scene.

I believe my introduction to Federico Casagrande was via his 2012 release The Ancient Battle of the Invisible (which you can read more about HERE), though I’ve been seeing his name appearing on other recordings, too, now that it’s familiar to me.  He’s not your typical jazz guitarist, so if you’re looking for something that stretches the boundaries of what jazz guitar can be, start checking out his discography, both as session leader and sideman.

As far as I can tell, Giz might be my introduction to saxophonist João Guimarães.  I’ll be checking out more of his music in the coming weeks and months, looking to learn more.  I’ll report back if I learn anything interesting.  I bet I will.

Released in October 2012, this album was Self-Produced.

Here’s a link to Giz on Silva’s Bandcamp page.  It appears that it can’t be downloaded, just streamed [EDIT:  The Trio has made the album available for purchase on their Bandcamp page, linked to just above- DSS].  Perhaps if the trio notice some attention paid to the album on their Bandcamp page, they’ll set it up for download and maybe do a price of NYOP (name your own price) to give listeners the opportunity to show their appreciation.

But in the meantime, enjoy.  I think it’s great that we have the opportunity, via the internet, to enjoy this performance, which originally occurred nearly a year ago in a city far away.  Outstanding.