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George Haslam – tarogato
João Madeira – doublebass
Mário Rua – drums
Pedro Castello Lopes – percussions
I was in Lisbon for a short series with poet/author/musician Miguel Martins, an association we’ve had since 2008, exploring more poetry and music. On the free day I had I arranged to meet another old friend there, Mario Rua whom I had met through Miguel some years earlier; we had in fact recorded a duo CD in 2014 ‘Maresia’ (SLAMCD 331). We met up with Pedro Castello Lopes, whom I had briefly met at MIA Festival in 2017 and a new friend, bassist João Madeira. I slowly realised my ‘free day’ was to include this most enjoyable recording session – every take we played is on the disc – "warts and all", as they say. Hopefully there were not too many ‘warts’! George Haslam
Also available through all digital outlets, including:
1 - Ajuda / Help – 12.10 GBACW1801179
2 - Nice to meet you – 16.09 GBACW1801180
3 - Who are you? – 22.27 GBACW1801181
4 - Prazeres e Necessidades / Pleasures and Needs – 16.09 GBACW1801182
All compositions by Castello Lopes, Haslam, Madeira, Rua
Live recording at Ajuda, Lisbon, Portugal, 18 September 2019
Recording and mastering by João Madeira
Born in Preston, Lancashire in 1939, Haslam has an impressive CV that includes ground-breaking tours to Cuba, Mexico and Argentina and work with, for example, Arturo Sandoval, Mal Waldron, Steve Lacy, Charlie Mariano, Evan Parker, Paul Rutherford, Lol Coxhill, Howard Riley and Joachim Kuhn.
Long recognised as one of the most experienced and widely travelled musicians on what is loosely known as the free-music scene, Haslam established his estimable SLAM label in 1989 and has subsequently done a great deal to document and help develop free playing, particularly with regard to British musicians.
In 1992 he founded the British Saxophone Quartet with Paul Dunmall, Elton Dean and Simon Picard and early in the new millenium, SLAM did much to help make available the recordings of drummer Steve Harris’s genre-busting free improvising group ZAUM.
SLAM has long cast its net far beyond British shores and this latest release, featuring Haslam and a trio of excellent Portuguese free improvisers, is as good an example as any of the label’s open-minded internationalism. As Haslam explains in a short sleeve-note, Ajuda (Help) came about through the fortuitous meeting of these musicians and friends during a free day Haslam had while visiting Lisbon to work with the poet and musician Miguel Martins. All the collectively improvised music the quartet played that day is here, "warts and all", as Haslam puts it.
The only obvious (and minor) warts I can detect are at the beginning of the title track, where Haslam takes a few seconds to get his articulation and intonation up to speed on the tárogató – the double reed, clarinet-like instrument known chiefly through the folk music of Hungary and Bulgaria – and some similarly brief moments of questionable pitch in the concluding Pleasures And Needs.
The latter scarcely matters, for there is so much to enjoy in the fluid, dynamically vivid interactive field conjured by mobile (often arco) bass, drums and percussion, with Haslam sometimes essaying a folk-like sequence of phrases, sometimes digging deep and flying high into more unclassifiable realms. Occasional vocal "little noises" add to the enjoyment and my only (unreasonable) quibble is that the nature of the occasion meant that Haslam’s potent baritone is nowhere to be heard.
Michael Tucker 08/01/2021 https://jazzjournal.co.uk/2021/01/08/george-haslam-joao-madeira-pedro-castello-lopes-mario-rua-ajuda/
George Haslam tells us that on a short visit to Lisbon to meet with the Portuguese poet Miguel Martins, he had arranged to meet an old friend, Mário Rua, with whom he met another former acquaintance, Pedro Castello Lopes and a new friend, João Madeira. This album is the outcome of those meetings and Haslam confirms that every take from the ensuing recording session is on this disc.
One might think that the title of the album and the first track, Ajuda, which in English translates as ‘Help’, is the meaning intended, but this is not the case and it suggests that we shouldn’t translate the title anyway. It is in fact the name of one of the oldest districts in Lisbon, to be found on the side of one of the seven hills of the city and where these recordings took place. That story, I think, sets the ambience for the music we can now hear.
Haslam is highly thought of in Portugal, along with other prodigious British innovators of the Free Improv genre, such as Lindsay Cooper (bassoonist of Henry Cow fame) Lol Coxhill, Phil Minton, Evan Parker and Paul Rutherford. He has been collaborating since 2008 with Miguel Martins and the purpose of his visit last autumn was to continue their researches in music and poetry.
The CD starts off with the title track, Ajuda, and this is purely Free Jazz, probably as close to that as anything Haslam has ever played. Incessant improvisation and the dice are cast, but not reluctantly. Almost 70 minutes of inexorable invention, fluid dynamics, powered throughout and characterized by the harsh, insistent, and discordant sounds of the tárogató’s challenges to the double bass. There may very well be some structure in the percussion’s framework to the opening of the final piece, which results in its seeming more focused, more intense. That makes it all sound so much richer, so much larger, and justifies the journey by which this end is achieved.
Reviewed by Ken Cheetham https://www.jazzviews.net/haslam--madeira--rua--lopes---ajuda.html
Four pieces recorded in concert in Portugal by George Haslam on the Romanian tarogato (similar to a clarinet), Joao Madeira on bass, percussionist Pedro Castello Lopes and drummer Mario Rua create free flowing moods in songs ranging from 12 to 22 minutes. Haslam delivers a Middle Eastern mystique as he sears around Madeira’s throbbing bass on "Ajuda (Help)" and flails in a declaratory cry over the brooding bassist on "Nice To Meet You". Rumbling and rambling percussion along with scratchy tones on "Who Are You" conflict and contrast with the pizzicato’d stummings while rustling in the leaves with hand sounds and mouth percussion sound like things that go bump in the night, requiring a flashlight on "Pleasures and Needs". Spontaneous implosions.
https://www.jazzweekly.com/2020/09/slam-for-septemberviola-falb-bernd-satzinger-mark-holub-a-room-for-you-breadcrumb-trio-breadcrumb-trio-haslam-madeira-rua-lopes-ajuda-stephanos-shytiris-nikolas-skordas-invisible-war/ George Harris
Il sassofonista inglese George Haslam, qui al tarogato si è trovato a Lisbona insieme al poeta e musicista Miguel Martins, con cui lavora insieme dal 2008. In un giorno libero è andato ad incontrare il batterista Mario Rua ed il percussionista Pedro Castello Lopes, con cui si era incontrato brevemente ad un festival nel 2017, a cui si è aggiunto il contrabbassista João Madeira. A quel punto si è deciso di registrare in uno studio piuttosto informale da parte di un quartetto che non era mai stato insieme. Qui sono presentati quattro lunghi brani di questo incontro, in cui i musicisti si ascoltano e reagiscono trovando il piacere di una nuova musica in questa esperienza. È un dialogo fitto di idee, realizzato anche all’esperienza di Haslam, che fa sembrare il tutto compatto, come se la band avesse un lungo passato alle spalle. Il suo tarogato trascina i portoghesi, appena incontrati, fra questi il contrabbassista si rivela uno strumentista ricco di idee e di tecnica, che suoni in pizzicato o con l’archetto. L’avanguardia è ovunque, basta avere il giusto feeling e la possibilità di registrare, sembrano dire i quattro, che alla fine forniscono un risultato di tutto rispetto. Fra assoli e momenti in collettivo si procede con disinvoltura fino a che ci si è resi conto che la musica meritava di essere messa su disco.
Vittorio lo Conte http://www.musiczoom.it/?p=31962#.X0PX9MhKi1t
The English saxophonist George Haslam, here at the tarogato, found himself in Lisbon together with the poet and musician Miguel Martins, with whom he has been working together since 2008. On a free day he went to meet the drummer Mario Rua and the percussionist Pedro Castello Lopes, with whom he met briefly at a festival in 2017, joined by double bass player João Madeira. At that point it was decided to record in a rather informal studio by a quartet that had never been together. Here are four long passages from this meeting, in which the musicians listen to each other and react by finding the pleasure of a new music in this Between solos and collective moments we proceed with ease until we realize that the music deserved to be put on record.experience. It is a dialogue full of ideas, also brought about by Haslam's experience, which makes everything seem compact, as if the band had a long past behind it. His tarogato draws the Portuguese, just met, among them the double bass player turns out to be an instrumentalist rich in ideas and technique, who plays in pizzicato or with the bow. The avant-garde is everywhere, you just need to have the right feeling and the ability to record, the four seem to say, which in the end provide a respectable result.
O título deste disco (e do seu primeiro tema) vem com tradução inglesa, "Help", mas não se trata de um pedido ou de uma oferta de ajuda – alude, isso sim, ao bairro de Lisboa onde foi gravado, Ajuda. A referência alfacinha faz todo o sentido, pois está aqui documentada a mais recente vinda do saxofonista barítono (aqui apenas em tarogato, instrumento de sopro similar ao clarinete – ainda que mais estridente – e originário da Hungria) ao nosso país e à nossa capital. Aquele que é um dos grandes pioneiros da livre-improvisação em Londres, ao lado de gigantes como Lol Coxhill, Evan Parker e Paul Rutherford, vem colaborando desde 2008 com o poeta português Miguel Martins e a sua vinda em Setembro de 2019 foi para uma sessão de música e poesia com o autor e declamador. O dia que, por cá, tinha livre foi aquele em que Mário Rua (baterista com quem gravou o álbum em duo "Maresia", de 2014), Pedro Castello Lopes (percussionista que conhecera no MIA em 2017) e o contrabaixista João Madeira o levaram para estúdio. O resultado está aqui, editado pela própria editora de Haslam, a Slam Records.
A primeira improvisação, "Ajuda", não podia estar mais próxima da matriz free jazz de que George Haslam provém, chegando a parecer algo que poderia ter saído da "loft generation" nova-iorquina. Já "Nice to Meet You" (provavelmente dirigida a Madeira, que tem honras de solo na faixa e é apresentado como um «novo amigo») entra em pleno nos domínios da música improvisada, espraiando-se em mais de 18 minutos de desconstruções de motivos, sempre com as combinações do tarogato e do contrabaixo como vórtices de acção. "Who Are You?" é levado pelos músicos portugueses para terrenos ainda mais abstractos, mas Haslam deambula pelo meio com uma abordagem melódica e acentuadamente "bluesy", como que num jogo de reconhecimento e alheamento. "Pleasures and Needs", o fecho, é uma peça mais concentrada, e dir-se-ia até que com uma estrutura previamente estabelecida (pelo menos para o que acontece nos primeiros minutos), nela sendo de destacar o trabalho percussivo de Castello Lopes. Um CD que, nestes tempos de difícil desconfinamento, funciona como um «Haslam, volta, estamos à tua espera para mais uma»…
The title of this album (and its first theme) comes with English translation, ′′ Help ", but it's not a request or offer of help - it's alludes to the Lisbon neighbourhood where it was recorded, Ajuda. The alfacinha reference makes perfect sense, as here is documented the latest coming of the baritone saxophonist (here only in tarogato, wind instrument similar to the clarinet - albeit strident - and originating in Hungary) to our country and our capital. He who is one of the great pioneers of free improvisation in London, alongside giants like Lol Coxhill, Evan Parker and Paul Rutherford, has been collaborating since 2008 with Portuguese poet Miguel Martins and his arrival in September 2019 went for a music and poetry session with the author and declamer. The day he was free here was the one where Mário Rua (drummer with whom he recorded the album in duo ′′ Maresia ", from 2014), Pedro Castello Lopes (percussionist he met at MIA in 2017 ) and bassist João Madeira took him to the studio. The result is here, edited by Haslam's own publishing house, Slam Records.
The first jam, ′′ Help ", couldn't be closer to the free jazz matrix that George Haslam comes from, coming to look like something that might have come out of the New York loft generation. Already ′′Nice to Meet You′′ (probably directed to Madeira, which has solo honours on the track and is introduced as a "new friend") enters full of impromptu music domains, spraying himself over 18 minutes of deconstructions of motives, always with tarogato and bass combinations as action vortices. "Who Are You?" is taken by Portuguese musicians to even more abstract grounds, but Haslam wanders in the middle with a melodic and accentuously bluesy approach, as if in a game of recognition and oblivion. "Pleasures and Need", the zipper, is a more concentrated piece, and it would be said that with a previously established structure (at least for what happens in the first few minutes), in it being highlighted Castello's work percussive Lopes. A CD that, in these difficult times of definement, works like a ′′ Haslam, come back, we're waiting for you for another one "...
Rui Eduardo Paes https://jazz.pt/ponto-escuta/2020/06/22/george-haslam-joao-madeira-pedro-castello-lopes-mario-rua-ajuda-slam-records/?fbclid=IwAR2GNhSINLl-A6BsReUTABW0v7NuNepoSlUSToyCr_N4BcjjZV-hcOGZOV0