sara serpa trio at Cornelia St Cafe - NYC, feb 17

  • photography by Clara Pereira / text by Filipe Freitas

Portuguese singer/composer Sara Serpa has been spreading charm through the powerful expressiveness of her voice, which is always set with sumptuous intention and melodic/temporal precision. Past collaborations with the peculiar pianist Ran Blake, the duo Serpa/Matos, and her project City Fragments demonstrate exactly that.
Her brand new trio composed of Ingrid Laubrock on saxophone and Erik Friedlander on cello is a bold project that combines the rigor of the written material with the improvisational vein and tremendous sound of its members.
Flowing at a crepuscular pace and steeped in the avant-garde genre with compound meters and beautiful counterpoints, the trio’s repertoire included Serpa’s originals - some of them employing Portuguese poems (“The Birds and the Trees”) or taking inspiration from the writings of the French philosopher and feminist Luce Irigaray (“Breathing As an Act of Resistance” and “Woman”), and enthralling renditions of Milton Nascimento’s “Trem Azul” and Ellington’s “Prelude to a Kiss”, both dressed up with atypical garments.
Despite the demanding compositions and arrangements, the trio successfully handled the undertaking on their very first performance.
Attentive listeners will find this music distinctive and rewarding.