Thursday, October 15, 2009

Signal to Noise - PAURA The Construction of Fear

Dennis González has spent time touring and recording in Portugal in recent years, and The Construction of Fear marks his first effort for Lisbon’s Creative Sources label. It’s nice to hear the trumpeter playing with violist Ernesto Rodrigues and his son Guilherme (cello and radio). Along with tenor/soprano saxophonist Alípio C. Neto and percussionist Mark Sanders, they make up Paura. They play music that is a bracing amalgam of scratchy Euro improv and bright lyrical declamations. Unlike a lot of music in this area, Paura doesn’t play with the kind of obsessive detail-driven retreat from expressionism that often creates tedium. Rather, they combine a feel for the meaningfully small with a feisty energy (a winning fusion that characterizes the opening piece). González can really show his range in such a setting: his soft wheezing and overtones on the spacious opening minutes of “Fear 2” make for a tasty synthesis of AACM genre-gestures and London insect music. Neto and G. Rodrigues provide fine contrast with a series of gutturalisms and insistent groans that glue things together. The album as a whole has a nice suite-like structure, with sweet’n’sour tutti passages that suggest chamber compositions, and lots of sub-groupings (the father/son strings areespecially tight in the middle sections), all culminating in the slashing, thudding conclusion. Jason Bivins (Signal to Noise)

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