Devils Dress (TOAP Records; 2011)
Ze Pedro Coelho (sax)
Andre Fernades (guitar)
Demain Cabaud (bass)
Marcos Cavaleiro (drums)
There's always that moment; whether it comes right out front or at the end of an album, when you realize you've just been blown away by some talented shit. That's the moment I had after being pierced by Susana Santos Silva and her hour long epic debut, Devil's Dress.
Susana Santos Silva is a young talent but deep, bold lyricism can match many of her more experienced contemporaries. "Devil's Dress" opens with a number of fearless performances by each member, notably Coelho and Silva who play off each other superbly. Fernades' guitar provides the raw energy and improvised tones these well composed pieces need, keeping you glued to each moving note. "Devil's Dress" combines brash, abstract indie rock themes with well balanced jazz tonalities into a lovely and harmonic siren call. The rhythm section force the issue here. With Cavaleiro leading the charge with some forceful and crushing cymbals. The piece later dissolves into spacial free forms with ethereal effects from Fernades and soft explorations by Santos Silva. It's a great ride that moves quickly and leaves you only with the memories.
You can feel these friends and bandmates having a great time on "Wishful Thinking." There's a jubilant banter between each musician with exchanges that are both electric and angelic. Santos Silva's tone at times reminded me of past and future (Freddie Hubbard/Arve Henriksen) throughout Devil's Dress but maintaining a modern focus. "Claudia" shows the quintet in a funkier light. The groove is augmented by some neatly placed stop/starts that allow "Claudia" to move from groove-laden to improvised very fluidly. Almost in a Donald Byrd style if you think of it as a fusion era piece.
Susana Santos Silva has created a document that is perfectly well rounded and exciting to listen to from track one to eight. Devil's Dress is diverse and Santos Silva's playing is expressive, clinical and opportunistic. Strongly Recommended.
This would later reveal itself in her next project, Lama...