Chris Cheek (ts,, ss), Nico Scheepers, Rogério Ribeiro, Susana Silva, José Silva (tp, flh), Frank Vaganeé (as, ss), José Luis Rego, João Guimarães (as), Mário Santos, Zé Pedro (ts), Rui Teixeira (bs), Michael Joussein, Rui Pedro Dias, Daniel Dias.
Bar code: 8427328422772
Since 1999, the Orchestra Jazz de Matosinhos has been steadily gaining its place as one of the most original and distinctive musical groups in the current panorama of European big bands. Thanks in part to the intelligent strategy followed by its two mentors, Carlos Azevedo and Pedro Guedes: the gradual development of instrumental consistency and interpretative conscience. Saxophonist Chris Cheek demonstrates every step of the way how he managed to internalize the uniqueness of this repertoire, applying remarkable care, restraint a sensibility to the transformation of always enchanting and creative improvisations into a sort of extension and active complement of the distinctive thematic character of each piece.
"The OJM is a quality Portguese big band that is surely the equal of its better-known counterparts in Sweden, Denmark and Germany. The writing, by co-leaders Carlos Azevedo and Pedro Guedes, is well crafted, with a fine feel for voicings and texture, and the arc of each performance. In featured soloist Chris Cheek (tenor/soprano) they have a brilliant collaborator who responds to the lovely writing with the utmost sensitivity, instinctively tuning in to the nature of each piece. From the multifaceted colour of Does It Matter to the lyricism of FJP#2, Do Pé Para a Mao, Why Not and Pipiwipi, Cheek doesnt put a foot wrong. Throughout, he is central to the dialogue but never overwhelms it. A Marvellous performance of Jamiro seems complete in every respect."
Ray Comiskey -Irish Times
Cheek offers another side altogether - but with no less sensitivity or understanding of the music - as the featured soloist with the Portuguese Orquestra de Matosinhos. The music is by the celebrated composers Carlos Azevedo and Pedro Guedes and theyve created what they describe as simple concertinos for saxophone and orchestra. Cheek understands the dynamics of playing for a big band and hes deeply in touch with the harmonic and melodic elements of this music. Again, hes not about blowing a listener away or over and so he provides textures and colors that work for the music and are dazzling in their own way. This orchestra has been a unit since 1999, but Cheek sounds as if what hes doing for and with them is new. The effervescent sounds in Yuppie, for example, sound like Stan Kenton without the over-weight and in each phrase, it seems, the sections display their very extraordinary wares. And just when they reach an orchestral climax, Cheek enters like a blend of Wayne Shorter, Lee Konitz and more of the players who work with the elements of music in an organic way. Despite the fact the music is very deftly composed, each tune feels like a freshly improvised performance.
There is a beautiful mix here to the way the orchestral sections play off of each other and off of Cheek. On the beautiful ballad, Why Not the saxophonist seems to emerge from the light yet dense textures that Azevedo has created as cushion and springboard. Cheek manages to sound weighty and airy at the same time, just as the tune does. Much of this music has the kind of Latin/Brazilian blend indicative of, say, the Maria Schneider Orchestra and this gives the tunes a broader context. Its to Cheeks great credit that he sounds like a regular member of this band and understands the tunes as if he were born to them."
By Donald Elfman -All About Jazz