With her impressive 2011 debut as a leader “Devil’s Dress” (TOAP Music) and involvement in various European projects, highly-educated trumpeter Susana Santos Silva looms as a nascent voice within progressive-jazz circles. Here, the Portuguese artist works within the trio format. It’s a democratic engagement modeled on structure and deft expressionism akin to a multicolored water painting, where textural layers and atmospherics complement odd-metered unison choruses and knotty improvisational processes. Moreover, the band injects some Spanish bravura into the mix, contrasting loose movements, yearning lines and efficient use of space.
With free-form burnouts, eerie interludes and pensive soloing spots, the band executes a topsy-turvy sequence of events and presents a rather malleable outlook. The electronics are primarily used as additives or treatments atop accenting choruses and meticulously crafted solos. On “Overture for Penguins,” Goncalo Almeida gets matters under way with an EFX treated bass line that segues into a lightly flowing bass-drum ostinato groove via off-centered linear phrasings and Santos’ densely organized phrasings. And they branch out into an ascending impetus amid the numerous ebbs, flows, spikes, and a bridge section that spawns a sense of loneliness.
“Oneiros” is a prime example of Portugal’s thriving spin on jazz-centric expansionism. Therefore, Lama is a band that imparts a signature voice due to an abundance of persuasive concepts and alternating frameworks. – Glenn Astarita
Susana Santos Silva: trumpet, flugelhorn, electronics; Goncalo Almeida: doublebass, effects and loops; Greg Smith: drums.