César Cardoso


Portuguese tenor saxophonist César Cardoso has taken an artistic stride forward with his third album, aptly named Interchange. With the addition of fleet alto saxophonist Miguel Zenon, the album bristles with impressive dual saxophonic textures and strategies, as on “7 E Tal,” weaving together and culminating in a sax-soli theme. Where Cardoso’s approach on tenor moves smoothly and artfully between crisply articulated flights and pensive post-Ben Webster-like lyricism, Zenon’s contributions often come smartly sculpted on the fly.

Thankfully, as engaging as solos on Interchange are, the bandleader keeps a focus on the musical integrity of the varied original material. He also understands the importance of a cohesive sound, maintaining a close rapport with guitarist Bruno Santos, bassist Demian Cabaud and drummer André Sousa Machado.

Framed by the infectious rhythmic bustle of “Interchange” and the tweaked soul-jazzy 10/4 pulse of the closing “1 De Abril,” Cardoso’s song-set manages the feat of being contemporary in feel and thought, while also being melodically motivated. “Tarde,” a sinuous bossa-esque invention, becomes a vehicle for Santos’ liquid guitar soloing—clean of tone and ready with a volume pedal—and “Ascending” asserts a handsome post-hard-bop persona.

Odd meters figure into the alternately swinging and kinetic “May 1,” while time melts into a rubato rumination on “Tudo A Seu Tempo.” That title translates roughly to “everything in due time,” a reasonable credo for Cardoso’s alluring musical trajectory.