Monday, May 16, 2011

Julio Resende: You Taste Like A Song

Julio Resende (piano)
You Taste Like A Song (Clean Feed; 2011)
Ole Morten Vagan (bass)
Joel Silva (drums)
Bruno Pedroso (drums)
Joao Custodio (bass)

This is an album I fell in love with after the first listen. Classically trained but quickly inspired by jazz at a young age, Portugese pianist Julio Resende is becoming a very important star on the scene. He has trained and performed in Portugal, Spain, France and the U.S. in addition to receiving great accolades in his home country. Resende's style has been described as somewhere between Keith Jarrett and Bill Evans. He has the playful adventurousness of Evans, and intricacies of Jarrett but Resende has also quickly developed an innovative voice over just the short span of three records as leader.

His latest, You Taste Like A Song, is a piece of sheer brilliance. It's a trio session with members he's performed with on his previous albums - this time featuring two sets of trio on selected tracks. Opening strong with the melodic ballad, "Silenciso-For The Fado", Resende shows his classical skills have not drifted into the background. His playing is beautiful and his bandmates improvise between the lines creating a very atmospheric nature to the piece. The titled track is upbeat in a more Northern European pattern but you can feel Resende's youthful rock influences (which later come out on an interesting version of Radiohead's "Airbag") as the group touches off a cascade of rhythms and beats that might leave you toe-tapping by the end.

"Improvisacao (Call It Whatever)" charges through with imagination and a clear sense of unity. Each member has some stellar improvised moments in addition to some terrific dual interaction and solo pieces (especially Vagan). "Improvisacao" shows the growth of Resende on the creative front. I felt like I was listening Jason Moran or Kris Davis at certain points. Resende really delivers with an astounding version of Thelonious Monk's "Straight No Chaser," Led by some unique drumming from Silva. A muffled effect on the drums gives them a distance and depth that is haunting. Resende's performance is sublime. It's not the usual keys you'd expect for a cover of Monk's material and that makes it a huge standout for me. Exquisite stuff from the young pianist.

You Taste Like A Song could be the album that sees Julio Resende arrive on the global radar for many jazz fans this year. It's well balanced and he demonstrates a creativity and enjoyment that you might not hear all year. I've discussed a lot of pianists over the last month. Not sure how that happened, but anyway... Julio Resende is one that I believe if you need something different in your jazz catalogue right now, You Taste Like A Song is the album to purchase. Highly Recommended.

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