By John Ephland | Published March 2017
This album begins slowly, graciously. And then, Brazilian pianist Vitor Goncalves moves past a moody, almost Erik Satie-like sound as the band joins him to embrace his “Sem Nome” with bassist Thomas Morgan taking the album’s first real solo. It’s an unconventional way to begin a rather unconventional album.
With drummer Dan Weiss joining in, “Sem Nome” becomes a lively a air, only to simmer down towards song’s end. By stark contrast, what follows is “Cortelyou Road,” a song that begins with Weiss’ ardent backbeat en route to a more or less lively arrangement featuring guitar and piano unison lines. Goncalves’ connection with Todd Neufeld shows most tellingly as “Cortelyou Road” unfolds, the guitarist and pianist going back and forth like two sides of a coin while Weiss continues his attack across the drums.
“Samba Do Perdao” is more intricate still between all members residing in varying time signatures, both serious and playful, the arrangement almost pinning the music to the mat with so many harmonic turns. The Brazilian Hermeto Pascoal in uence remains persistent as Goncalves continues to mix genres, harmonies and time signatures with “Desleixada.”
With “Se E Por Falta De Adeus” we fully relax, this rare beauty of a song by Antonio Carlos Jobim played with delicacy and warmth and a slight samba/bossa feel, while “The Touch Of Your Hand,” a solo tribute to Goncalves’ wife, brings us full-circle to what seemed to be with “Sem Nome,” prior to takeoff.
Vitor Goncalves Quartet: Sem Nome; Cortelyou Road; Samba Do Perdao; Desleixada; Winter Landscapes; Se E Por Falta De Adeus; De Cazadero Ao Recife; The Touch Of Your Hand. (51:34)
Personnel: Vitor Goncalves, piano; Todd Neufeld, guitar; Thomas Morgan, bass; Dan Weiss, drums.