«Live in Moscow» captures the third out of four performances of the Portuguese Nau Quartet in its Russian tour of 2018. Nau Quartet is led by alto sax player José Lencastre and features his brother, drummer João Lencastre, and two-thirds of the RED Trio – pianist Rodrigo Pinheiro, and double bass player Hernâni Faustino. This performance from September 20, 2018, at the DOM Cultural Center, presents the quartet at top form, perfecting its art of the moment where ideas and improvisation strategies from modern and free and free music converge and cross-pollinate.
«Live in Moscow» is the third album of the Nau Quartet, fully improvised and keeps the reserved, well-balanced interplay that was developed in the first studio albums («Fragments of Always» and «Eudaimonia», FMR, 2017 and 2018). The four pieces are titled after immediate impressions of the Russian capital, but the music is much more introspective and refined, open and sometimes even intense but not aggressive.
In this live setting, the Nau Quartet sounds greater than its parts. José Lencastre opts for a lyrical yet cerebral mode, rooted in the cool tendency of Lee Konitz, and develops his rich ideas patiently; João Lencastre often erupts with sudden, rhythmic shifts and adds imaginative colors; Pinheiro corresponds well with José Lencastre with his references to Thelonious Monk, Lennie Tristano, Paul Bley, and Cecil Taylor; Faustino grounds the spontaneous structures with some well-measured solo that define the collective course of the quartet. Eventually, all these undercurrents flow in an organic, collective manner, leaving enough space for personal detours before the Nau Quartet recollects itself again. This 42-minutes performance reaches its climax in the last piece, «Sunny Moscow», channeling its energy, emotional intensity, and poetic ideas into a powerful statement.
José Lencastre (as), Rodrigo Pinheiro (p), Hernâni Faustino (b), João Lencastre (dr)