By Dave Cantor | Published October 2020
The old saw goes like this: Jazz is a conversation. If that’s true, members of the Eloá Gonçalves Trio are whispering. Casa is a quiet take on the piano-trio setting with a subdued bearing that belies its acute musicality.
Gonçalves, a Brazilian-born pianist studying in Austria, leads her troupe with unerring quietude, the tune “Grace” earning its name and somehow reifying the stillness of weekend afternoons. There’s nothing showy here, just assuredness and light.
A few cuts break with presumptions, though: “Elo,” which draws on Béla Bartók for fuel, features Gonçalves’ left hand more prominently than elsewhere, lending it some rhythmic heft absent in other places across the recording; “Ainda Sem Titulo” adds in trombonist Karel Eriksson, layering on more cool tones.
To close out the disc, the bandleader reprises her “Choro De Pai E Mãe,” a tune she initially recorded with Trio Matiz. Vocalist Laura Zšschg, wordlessly tracing the melody, and cellist Mathilde Vendramin fill out another placid composition. Relative to the rest of album, it’s a work flush with color, but subdued like mauve or a faded orange. If Gonçalves’ strength across Casa is evoking warmth and calm, it peaks here, leaving listeners wondering what the composer might do with an even fuller roster of musicians.