Chiaroscuro cs736









And then with Chiaroscuro (recorded March 2022 in Lisbon), Rodrigues (viola) & Parrinha (clarinet & bass clarinet only here) turn to an ensemble formation with fewer obvious precedents, adding Maria da Rocha (violin) & José Oliveira (percussion). Rocha had appeared with Rodrigues on Iridium String Quartet (with e.g. Miguel Mira on bass, reviewed here in May 2016), but I hadn't noticed her since: Much of her work seems to involve classical music, including integrating electronics, but Chiaroscuro does appear to be an acoustic album. And Oliveira appeared on some of the earliest CS albums, but most recently on Pentahedron (along with e.g. Carlos Zingaro), another album under half an hour in length that I reviewed here in March 2020, calling it (potentially) a crowd pleaser...! It brought more of a "traditional" free jazz vibe, while more of a 20th century rhetorical balance does also maintain on Chiaroscuro, including via some "classical" figurations. Oliveira functions as a colorist on both albums, adding (especially) various metallic tones (e.g. chimes), as well as a sort of bent metal "bass" to Chiaroscuro. (The latter can be rather subtle, although the bent metal is at its most distinctive — & higher pitched — after a slowdown in the interaction about two thirds through.... Oliveira also opens the album with a tinkling figure, soon joined by pizzicati.) And then both the close coordination & independence of the quartet are remarkable, proceeding through a single track that (per the norms of free improv...) does have its slower moments, but sparkles with creative new textures & intriguing exchanges almost throughout: The title explicitly evokes the play of light & shadow, as well as (perhaps) a sort of 2d canvas, but Chiaroscuro has a significant "3d" aspect as well, its play of foreground-background forging a sort of equivocating texture overall, a mingling of solidity & space: The musicians forge such an impression via close interactions & attention to timbre & grain, i.e. technique beyond impressionism per se. One might even sense something of a café scene (pace Dada...) for instance, but also various skittering, an orientation on line that suddenly isn't line.... (One might even question what I call elsewhere segmentation, i.e. the "chunking" of perception into entities: The musical play of light & dark here can take on the character of illusion, but the segmentation-entities in our world are not given, i.e. are not "real" anyway. They are learned & culturally contingent.) There's consequently a sort of clustering sound in motion, traditional counterpoint at times, but just as seamlessly becoming unwound... sometimes sunny, maybe biological (e.g. via zoo-mimesis), but always (usually tightly) shifting perspectives. There's thus various motion through different styles, but in close (nuts & bolts) correspondence, and not really in a linear-temporal format, e.g. what I've characterized previously as travelogue style, moving onward: Maybe in that sense, Chiaroscuro can be characterized as a perspecti-logue... i.e. a tangled (nonlinear, ongoing) shifting of perspectives. (And Rodrigues does rarely seem to get bogged down in linear-temporal, i.e. narrative, progressions in general....) Such equivocation then suggests its own sort of translucency, although coloration does often appear more solid (if actually illusory) here. Yet, as the "café" remark already suggested, and the raising of "perspectives" per se only confirms, this is also human-social music: Evocations are not merely observed or narrated then, but felt & inflected. (And it's been difficult to find comparisons elsewhere, but e.g. Nauportus involves some similarly quiet & shifting counterpoint, but with more of an "anthro" feel, as well as a more soloistic horn.... And then New Dynamics, also featuring Rodrigues from 2016, suggests some vaguely reminiscent quartet counterpoint, but more in the realm of parity than spectral interpenetration....) Chiaroscuro thus ends up being short yet engrossing: Its density isn't overwhelming, but very real (making its duration seem significant...). As is its interrogation of perception, perspective & ontology per se — as figured into chamber music. And its basic sense of refined texture-in-motion, its sort of transverse intensity..., can be understated, but also relatively immediate. Todd McComb's Jazz Thoughts