Bar code: 8427328422505
Francisco's own band, the Francisco Pais Quintet, features some of NY
best players and plays primarily original music that blends elements
of American jazz with European classical music and Pop. The quintet has been touring in Europe for five years, playing at a number of famous venues and jazz festivals including the Hot Club of Lisbon, the Cultural Center of Belem, the Almodovar Jazz festival, and Tomar Jazz Festival .As the leader of the quintet, Francisco has been fortunate to collaborate with musicians such as Chris Cheek, Massimo Biolcati, Dayna Stephens, Peter Slavov, Albert Sanz, Ferenc Nemeth, Nathan Blehar, Leo Genovese and Demien Cabaud. They have helped to shape the sound of his band and inspired his compositions.
"This is strong, exotic and compelling music played by a great band. In Francisco you hear a thoughtful and focused improviser and composer. His music is a provocative blend of traditional and modern jazz, very easy to listen to yet not lacking in depth, excitement or imagination. This CD confirms [to me] that Francisco is well on his way to discovering his own musical voice. I applaud his efforts, and the fine results he has achieved here."
- Hal Crook, trombone player
1. Water From the Moon 8:40
2. Gratitude 6:39
3. Tides 11:39
4. Always Dreaming 5:07
5. Melody for Damien 4:49
6. Transfiguration 8:18
7. Lift your Head From the Sand and Face Reality 5:44
8. Desert Of Colors 6:10
9. Charmed 3:56
Recorded in Brooklyn, NY, December 2004.
All compositions by Francisco Pais.
"In this lively session of original compositions, guitarist Francisco Pais leads his quintet through hot impressions that entice and excite. Not afraid of color? Theyre not afraid of anything. They love originality and show it with their unbridled enthusiasm. The sound is contemporary, and yet the quintet remains firm in its portrayal of jazz tradition.
Based in New York, just under thirty and a cum laude graduate of Boston's Berklee College of Music, Pais has energy, ambition and desire. Its paying off on schedule. He proves through his music that the creative spirit can release thousands of impressions at once. His guitar soars in passionate displays that weave strong ties with his bandmates. Their cohesive union makes for a strong foundation, which in turn releases a creative tide.
Transfiguration blends the timbres of the Rhodes with guitar and soprano saxophone for a light swirl of activity. Drummer Ferenc Nemeth ensures that the sessions colors never fade, maintaining a consistent scramble alongside. Pais and saxophonist Chris Cheek like to work in unison to begin a piece, and they work in parallel to create virtual firestorms. They return to the unison for a calmer period from time to time, but never stray too far from their exotic mood.
Desert of Colors opens with guitar and tenor octaves alongside cooler piano chords. Impressionism takes over as the quintet follows Pais lead through a vast ocean of solitude where musical thoughts come unadorned and free of any emotional burden. Theres release upon release. Like rolling sand dunes, the quintets format rolls evenly while the music builds and wanes. In the process Pais establishes a magical ballad countenance that enchants.
The recording closes with Charmed, a somber piece that features pianist Leo Genovese in a lovely dream sequence, bracketed by a warm tenor/guitar fury on both ends. This fresh look at jazzs modern mainstream comes highly recommended."
- Jim Santella, All About Jazz
"Instead of going for the typical chops-laden style that marks most releases, Portuguese guitarist Francisco Pais takes a more relaxed approach with Not Afraid of Color. Backed by a sure-fire quartet featuring saxophonist Chris Cheek and pianist Leo Genovese, his music is easy on the ears but also provides cerebral enjoyment.
Pais' compositional skills combine elements of American jazz with European classical and pop styles. The first selection, Water From the Moon, gets my vote for most interesting composition. It begins with a dreamy guitar/sax melody that's then bridged by a dynamic drum solo into a funky swirling pattern with frenzied Fender Rhodes and drum solos leveling back into the calm melody.
But the remaining selections carry the tone of the initial impression: soothing harmony. Pais is a very good musician, much more than just a Rosenwinkel or Metheny mimic: an individual with his own ideas. His playing is light, bluesy and intricate on Gratiude, allowing the other instruments to take the center until he comes in with a confident and swinging solo.
There are many places where one might want to hear more of Pais out front, but the emphasis is more on arrangements and quintet interaction on Always Dreaming and Desert of Colors where the guitarist adds harmonics and slight effects to color the somber mood.
His working quintet of five years understands this cool approach. On Charmed, Genovese delivers a dissonant and abstract solo into the pleasant melody. The solid rhythm section of bassist Massimo Biolcati and the extremely hot drummer Ferene Nemeth gets a chance to glow on the lively Melody for Damien, and Cheeks airy saxophone blends nicely with the exotic rhythm of Transfiguration."
- Mark F.Turner, All About Jazz
"Guitarist Francisco Pais was born in Lisbon, Portugal and graduated cum laude from Boston's Berklee School of Music after having studied with Pat Metheny, Peter Bernstein, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Mulgrew Miller, Mark Turner and Branford Marsalis. Following his gradution in 2002, he spent years touring through festivals and venues of Europe, as well as performing with American musicians.
Pais' debut presents nine compositons with his group of five years, featuring Chris Creek (saxophones), Leo Genovese (piano, Fender Rhodes), Massimo Biolcati (bass) and Ference Nemeth (drums). Fais seems to have composed this music to combine jazz fusion and the more contemporary swirls of electronic coloration which undoubtedly give this album its title.
This swirling sound emerges on the opening track, Water from the Moon, with Genovese's work on the Fender Rhodes sounding like the fusion keyboardists of the '70s and '80s. As I commented in my review of Mike Tucker's 2006 recording Collage, Genovese's use of electronica and acoustic piano reveals how superior the acoustic portion sounds.
Much to my surprise, Pais is a fine soloist in a most mainstream manner. If you were compare his style to Pat Metheny's, it would have to be the clean articulation and rounded notes of the latter's earliest days for ECM in the late '70s. Relative to Pais' other guitar influences (per his studies at Berklee, e.g. Kurt Rosenwinkel and Peter Bernstein), he clearly manifests the mainstream Bernstein more than the quirkier Rosenwinkel.
Is it my imagination, or do we get to hear Fais playing more during the second half of this album? Out of the sometimes swampy melody lines often comes a cleanly played guitar passage and solo. Fais provides guitar fills for Chris Creek's soprano sax on Lift Your Head From the Sand and Face Reality and then they do a clever reversal on the following track, Desert of Colors, where Creek does the same for Fais' guitar lines. Creek previously supplied a sturdy melody statement on Gratitude.
In a nutshell, I'm having difficulty matching the skill and talent of a new guitarist with his preferred mode of writing and sub-genre."
- Michael P. Gladstone, All About Jazz