funchal jazz festival - DAY 2 - funchal, portugal, jul 14 - RUDY ROYSTON ORION TRIO / KURT ROSENWINKEL CAPI BAND

  • photography by © Clara Pereira / text by Filipe Freitas


The efficient and in-demand drummer Rudy Royston, who had played in this festival twice before, brought his Orion Trio this year. He counted on alto saxophonist/flutist Jon Irabagon and bassist Yasushi Nakamura to embark on a musical trip that drew from his latest album Rise Of Orion.

The trio started in a more floating, introspective way, but provided denser textures as the performance moved forward. Royston and Nakamura, assuring a pliable yet unbreakable foundation, always found space to breathe and exhibit their individual qualities. Their malleable textures gave wings to Irabagon whose agile phrases kept creating multiple shapes loaded with attractive, often sequential motifs.

Intuition and ears were fundamental and tunes like “Man O To”, blossoming with funky rhythms, bass pedals, and swinging sections of variable duration, warmed up the audience. Focused on the challenging rhythms, Royston, hard on toms and cymbals this time, delighted the attendants with an energetic improvisation.

The beautiful ballad “Make a Smile For Me”, introduced by Nakamura, made everyone attentive, while the Latin-tinged “Sister Mother Clara” stimulated Irabagon's creativity. The saxophonist dominated through circular breathes, flutter tonguing techniques, and rhythmic polyphonies that seemed to be emulating a strange encounter between Irish music and the language of the birds.
The climax was achieved with “Rise of Orion”, a piece that reminisces Coltrane both in language type and mood. They left the audience craving for more.

photography by © Clara Pereira / text by Filipe Freitas


American guitarist based in Berlin, Kurt Rosenwinkel, closed the second night with his Brazilian-influenced Caipi Band, whose elements are Pedro Martins on guitar, keyboards and vocals, Olivia Trummer on piano and vocals, Frederico Heliodoro on electric bass and vocals, Antonio Loureiro on drums, vocals and percussion, and Bill Campbell on drums.

Happy vibes could be enjoyed right away in “Caipi”, the opening tune, and one of the strongest on the record. “Casio Vanguard” was next, in which the guitarist showed off his towering guitar licks in between vocalized Portuguese phrases.

While “Silver Flames” had a tripping disco-like start and no solos, “Know The Answer” infused funky pulses into a pop song adorned with indie touches and catchy choruses. It ended up anchoring in a rollicking rock style at the end. 
After “Casio Escher”, one of my favorite pieces, the band finalized with “Little B”, which initially  featured drums and tambourine, and then two drums for the final punch.

The audience responded well, even with some old fans admitting to need more time to embrace the exoticism of Rosenwinkel's new spirit.