Jean-Marie Machado/Orchestre Danzas: Pictures for Orchestra (RJAL 397033)


Jean-Marie Machado
Orchestre Danzas
Pictures for Orchestra

Jean-Marie Machado piano
Didier Ithursarry accordion
François Thuillier tuba
Stéphane Guillaume flutes
Jean-Charles Richard saxophones
Cecile Grenier viola
Severine Morfin viola
Guillaume Martigne cello
Elodie Pasquier clarinets
Artistic direction by Jean-Marie Machado and Gérard de Haro
Recording, mixing, mastering, Studios La Buissonne, Pernes-les-Fontaines, France
Recorded October 2-5 and mixed November 12/13, 2018 by Gérard de Haro
Mastered by Nicolas Baillard at La Buissonne Mastering Studios
Piano preparation and tuning by Alain Massonneau
Release date: March 8, 2019

After making his La Buissonne label debut with saxophonist Dave Liebman, pianist and composer Jean-Marie Machado returns with his most personal project to date. Though leading a nine-member ensemble of two violas, cello, winds, accordion, and tuba, he leaves off the roster an important tenth member: improvisation itself.

The set is held intimately aloft by three piano solos, each sweeping and painterly in its own way. The opening “Minhas três almas” is the most nostalgic among them. Like a child taking its first steps, it sparkles with unadulterated delight even as it foreshadows the hardships life is sure to put in one’s path. While some of what comes after is in an exuberant mode—including the Egberto Gismonti-esque greenery of “A água do céu,” the tuba-centric dance of “Trompeta Grande,” and the invigorating encore, “Oriental jig”—the heartbeat of this musical body runs on the electrical impulses of something far more introverted. The space within, it turns out, is grander than any without, for only the mind and soul are equipped to imagine infinity.

Dust and ashes float in the air of “Nebbia,” throughout which a viola sings in its highest registers as a mercy of chronological salvation. Kindred voices extend their loving arms across other terrains. Like the cello drawing moonlight between the quivering branches of “As ondas da vida” or the soprano saxophone grazing cloud in “Circles around,” every gesture has an echo, and every echo is the start of another.

The cumulative effect is an emotionally resilient biography of a life known by no other name than our collective own. Even (if not especially) when Machado arranges the work of Astor Piazzolla (“Vuelvo al sur”) and Robert Schumann (“FW.1855”), we hear our own experiences reflected in every dialogue. All of which accounts for another gem in the La Buissonne catalog.

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