Review: Filipe Monteiro - In Bad Company
In Bad Company
|Album:||In Bad Company|
|Date of Release:||2012/03/05|
|Country of Release:||UK|
|Sub-Genre/s:||Contemporary, Post-Bop, Brazilian|
|Date of Review:||2012/08/17|
In Bad Company
Released in March this year, Filipe Monteiro's In Bad Company is the guitarist's debut album. In terms of accomplices, he is actually in rather good company. The almost ubiquitous Roberto Manzin, one of the finest and most versatile woodwind players on the scene, excellent pianist Sam Leak, and Lewis Wright on drums, Fergus Ireland on acoustic bass, and Callum Armstrong on bag pipes for one number. (No, really, you read right, bag pipes. And to beautiful effect, too!) Not such bad company at all.
Monteiro's roots are most definitely showing. In terms of the music, that is, i.e., his Brazilian roots. Although In Bad Company is delightfully difficult, if not downright impossible, to classify, it is clearly rooted in Brazilian jazz and the music of Brazil's South, Música Gaúcha. But there are many other strong influences and traits in this music, including folk - even British folk! - rock, swing, and more.
Of In Bad Company's eight tracks, seven are Monteiro originals, while one is a Charlie Mingus composition. The original compositions are nothing less than excellent, superb even. Yet, somehow, there is a strange, very strong sense of déjà vu about this album, especially the title track and Salsaião and De Bom Com A Vida. One cannot help thinking, 'I have been here before,' that these tunes are somehow remembered. Perhaps this is just that kind of music, perhaps I just cannot remember, being somewhat overloaded with music perhaps. Déjà vu... A mystery. Or perhaps one should say, this album has a certain very attractive mystique about it. Déjà vu...
But wait. That opening of De Bom Com A Vida. Does that not remind of Gilad Atzmon...? Or Trane perhaps...? No, Atzmon, definitely, maybe... I lack the time to check out which particular Atzmon piece, but, surely! (Of course, composers sometimes quite unconsciously incorporate another's phrase or motif. It happens. Frequently. Just study the classics.)
The ensemble playing is as superb as the soloing all round, with Monteiro, Manzin, and Leak standing out in particular. Monteiro clearly establishes himself here as yet another wonderful asset to the British jazz scene. There must be something very special about the British jazz scene today that it attracts so much and such special talent from almost everywhere, including even from the United States.
Also standing out in particular are Armstrong's opening bag pipes on There Must Be Something Leaking. Subtle, somehow distant, this is about 1:04 of haunting beauty. Simply inspired.
Wonderfully consistent, especially so for a debut, In Bad Company is also almost hypnotically, magnetically attractive rather than merely compelling. That touch of mystique, that compelling sense of déjà vu, only adds to this. One is helpless and wants to play this album over again as soon as it finishes. In Bad Company is a highly enjoyable listen, an amazingly polished debut that is somehow irresistible, with sophisticated harmonies, melodies and rhythms, filled with charm and wit, as well as memorable tunes and some very Brazilian grooves.
Especially for any Brazilian jazz aficionado, Filipe Monteiro's In Bad Company should prove unmissable. And it should also prove most attractive to those who love contemporary jazz that is still highly accessible. Go for it!
1. In Bad Company - 8:02
Filipe Monteiro - guitar
Sam Leak - piano
Roberto Manzin - tenor & soprano sax, clarinet
Fergus Ireland - acoustic bass
Callum Armstrong - bagpipes
Lewis Wright - drums
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