Sediments cs629









After I'd just discussed Trio KSZ & And George Lewis earlier this month, the similarly inspired Lisbon String Trio has released their twelfth album, Sediments featuring Gabriel Ferrandini on percussion, recorded live in Lisbon last month. It's a relatively short album, but opens with a (percussive) bang to make a strong impression: I hadn't been very familiar with Ferrandini (b.1986), that is outside of Red Trio (another group that had a run of quartet albums with various guests) & elsewhere alongside his usual bass partner, Hernâni Faustino. (It turns out that Ferrandini's more personal explorations are recently available on Clean Feed with Volúpias, an album of composed music for a classic free jazz sax trio — sonically dominated by the horn, as is traditional.) Ferrandini also joins fellow Red Trio member Rodrigo Pinheiro in recording with Lisbon String Trio, the latter's Rhetorica (discussed here this past August) having appeared recently as well. Ferrandini further joins Portuguese icons Sei Miguel (on From Faust) & Carlos Zingaro (on Theia) — both albums first discussed here in July 2018 — in recording with LST after developing a reputation elsewhere. But the most similar album, at least in some ways, might be Merz with Gil Gonçalves on tuba (discussed in July 2019), in that the soloist is relatively centered & quite audible in what comes off as a concerto format. (From Faust already showed some of this concertante character.) In this, compared to some of the subtler articulations in the series, it's relatively easier to hear & follow. The combination with strings & percussion also seemed relatively rare, but upon recalling some precedents, it's more the way that the musicians interact on Sediments that's different: There was actually a run of trio albums of this basic sort — i.e. drums, bass & either viola or cello — in 2017 for some reason (as I don't believe I've been ignoring them since): Natura morta's fourth album Environ (with Frantz Loriot) was discussed here that April, followed quickly by both Spinning Jenny (featuring Daniel Levin) & the Judson Trio's An Air of Unreality (with Mat Maneri) later that month, and then The Selva (featuring Ricardo Jacinto) in June. (Of course, there've been many other trios with e.g. guitar or electronics in an otherwise analogous sonic configuration.) What these albums have in common, though, is the basic layered format of a jazz sax trio, i.e. with the higher string as "horn" supported by a rhythm team. Sediments, besides being a quartet, adopts a different configuration, however, in centering the percussion in a concerto-like format. Perhaps a more relevant, seemingly classically-inspired example would be the album pair Blattwerk (quintet) & Zweige (sextet), likewise from Ernesto Rodrigues & featuring Vasco Trilla on subtly pervasive percussion amid string ensembles. (These albums also hinge with Trio KSZ via Kimmig's participation, and the second even seems to anticipate the LST series, as Alvaro Rosso joined the prior quintet already including Miguel Mira.... It's also interesting that, although Rodrigues records so often with other string players, his participation in such ensembles augmented by percussion — beyond those just mentioned with Trilla — has been relatively rare, the last trio apparently being the evocatively titled Aether with Monsieur Trinité, as mentioned here in October 2016.) Perhaps the most direct comparison, sometimes featuring marimba in this way, is still the quintet album Chant.... (And in another direction, I should cite the recent Trappist-1, on which Ramon Lopez & Mark Feldman perform strongly contrasting roles, but it's still creative percussion supported by classical-inspired violin, if more traditional in the latter case....) In any of these situations, it seems as though balance issues could present themselves, mandating either restraint or layering of roles: Indeed, struggling to hear everything happening has been part of the experience of listening to many of these albums in the past (although updated equipment has helped greatly), but Sediments takes a different approach. (It's also different from the similarly named Sediment — first discussed here in March 2015 — from drummer Carlo Costa: There, the geologic inspiration yields relatively impersonal layers to be traversed in time as a sort of travelogue, although it does end up being sonically similar at times....) Sediments instead begins with a sort of percussion eruption, as even the strings are percussive to start, a sort of initial uncoiling slowly sedimenting & smoothing into longer lines & legato string tones, as well as quietly rolling percussion, while retaining an original nonlinear dynamic. Later timbres can seem quite a contrast to the sharply metallic opening, passing through wood blocks & other material sonorities as they develop, until the opening seems almost to have exhausted itself — all while balance issues are ultimately handled impressively (in both loud & quiet modes). There's a lot of presence, and generally some lively figures, even as the sediments start to harden. I don't feel personally transformed as a result (although Sediments does transform its own material), but such a "percussion concerto" arrangement has much to offer: It's the flashy opening that continues to make the strongest impression, with little aura of jazz per se, but the various timbral combos & nonlinear directions generated by the quartet on Sediments already suggest many (more) possibilities for such a combination of forces. Todd McComb's Jazz Thoughts