There was a time that musicologists referred to the hybrid formula balancing classical writing and jazz scansion as the Third Stream. With his ensemble Danzas, which includes violins, cellos, tubas and accordions in addition to indispensable saxophones, flutes and clarinets, Jean-Marie Machado embarks on an intrepid musical adventure – one that depicts his sensations as if they were a pictorial narrative.

In defining color, we could identify the Portuguese titles of the first two tracks: “A Agua do Céu” (the water of the sky) and “Minhas Três Almas” (my three souls), which carry a little fatum (fate) and a touch of saudade. The music feels like rainy impressionism at times as in some of Monet’s paintings, and it sometimes veers more towards Slavic than Lusitanian lyrical romanticism.  

The writing and the arrangements are refined, though they mark their pace with the expressive power of “Vuelvo Al Sur” by Piazzolla, with the accordionist Didier Ithursarry and the vastly underrated saxophonist Jean-Charles Richard recalling the Piazzolla’s legendary meeting with Gerry Mulligan. This piece is the only one on the record that wasn’t penned by the leader, though he allows himself two lovely solo themes on piano.


Jean-Marie Machado & DanzasPictures For Orchestra (La Buissonne)

 

 

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