Building on a famous quip from soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy, that “there was something on the other side” of Monk’s compositions, it is often true that knowing the ins and outs of a form are a way to push through towards the next thing — the next interest, the next level of artistic engagement.
Chinese Cookie Poets, an electric guitar-bass-drums trio from Rio de Janeiro, hold an impulsive cut-up sensibility that is reminiscent of Oval’s Markus Popp employing the no-wave immediacy of DNA — indeed, they’ve collaborated with Arto Lindsay. On Danza Cava, their second full-length and fourth release altogether, CCP are heard on six improvisational fragments joined by fellow Brazilian trumpeter Nicolau Lafetá, who is a post-Bill Dixon player along the lines of Jacob Wick, Nate Wooley and Mazen Kerbaj.
Lafetá's incisive, crumpled volleys glint off the Renato Godoy’s surging percussion while guitar and electric bass ferret and hack on“Lapetus l’uccello,” before the ensemble drifts into a fusion-y chug. Gone as soon as it begins, there’s a piled and brief charge in “Il semi-affetto degli argonauti” before the quartet unfurls the impressive and spare “Tiao Yue.”Papery chortles and kisses building into an explosive fracas, Lafetá leaps outfront alongside clattering rhythms and the skittering guitar of Marcos Campello on “Chang’e III,” bassist Felipe Zenícola thwacking mightily below and around the ensemble.
Certainly free rock enters into the picture across these six pieces, but there is an element of dynamic group listening and patience that has its own galvanic power apart from punkish vigor. Furthermore, the addition of an unpredictable brass voice has added a fascinating element to their codified yet open group language.
It will be interesting to hear where Chinese Cookie Poets head next, but for now we have a wonderful, cherished document of genre-busting brazilian free music. Ears should be open worldwide to these four important voices.
Clifford Allen, Brooklyn, NY.
released June 5, 2013
renato godoy - drums
marcos campello - electric guitar
felipe zenicola - electric bass
nicolau lafetá - trumpet
label: mansarda records
recorded in june 2011 by daniel lages at audio rebel