About André Matos
Press Release for "Lagarto" 2012, Self-Released.
The ten songs on the 2012 Lagarto's self titled and self released full-length debut album take us through the many shapes and faces this trio can delve into.
Lagarto (it means lizard in Portuguese) was born when the guitarist André Matos introduced drummer Colin Stranahan to the Argentine and Portugal resident bassist Demian Cabaud. That first encounter, that happened to be right in the studio, resulted on Lagarto's EP (2011).
The 2011 Lagarto's EP, was mostly focused on improvised pieces, favoring subtle textures. The present full-length debut combines that element within a context of solid songs. The melodies stand out and develop into moody but strong stated improvisations. Sometimes those melodies are the prime event and the trio revolves around them with exquisite and minimal approach.
Matos, who is a native of Sintra, a small town near Lisbon, Portugal, moved to New York in 2008 after graduating from New England Conservatory. He has been busy since then performing and recording with Sara Serpa, João Lencastre and Mikado Lab among other projects. His most recent solo album "Quare" 2010 was released on Inner Circle Music, Greg Osby's independent label. Colin Stranahan, recently placed 3rd on the Thelonious Monk 2012 Drum Competition, has been touring with Kurt Rosenwinkel, and has a new album with his co-led trio Stranahan/Zaleski/Rosato on Capri Records. Demian Cabaud, whom Matos met in 2002, moved to Portugal in 2004, and he is, since then, one of the most sought-after bassists in Europe, touring with Lee Konitz Nonet and becoming a member of the Orquestra de Jazz de Matosinhos.
"This was the natural trio for me, I met Demian in Boston a long time ago, and we became close friends and we've been sharing an interesting musical path together. Colin was part of the Monk Institute when I met him in Panama in 2008. His energy and positive look immediately called my attention. Since I moved to New York we've been playing on and off, but only now we were able to crystalize a mutual joy into one more steady unit. The three of us were able to put ourselves in a place that challenges us and is never settled, it keeps developing" Matos comments.
A short but intense tour in Portugal on the summer of 2012 preceded the recording of this album. Matos contributed with most of the compositions, with both Cabaud and Stranahan, each providing one original piece.
Matos's Skylight, the first track on the record, is a short but smart rubato melody that goes through different emotions, with a naive quality to it. The more open and more intense "Volta", features an adventurous group improvisation, with André Matos leading the way in and out of the tune. The pastoral and mysterious "Clay" has a cinematographic quality and takes us into familiar places.
The trio has a chance to rock out on "Rock Consciousness", a catchy Zeppelin-like tune, that features drummer Colin Stranahan and the scorching distorted guitar of André Matos.
"Fado" is a simple and de-ambulatory approach to the energy and melancholia of Fado, the traditional urban Portuguese music genre.
The album closes off with an ironic folksy waltz with the three musicians singing towards the end of the song. The title "Small is beautiful" was taken from an essay by Agostinho Da Silva, a Portuguese thinker and philosopher, who, in his turn, was quoting British economist E. F. Schumacher and his economic views of "small is beautiful" versus "bigger is better" published in his book in 1973.
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