Mofrancesco Quintetto | Maloca

Guto Lucena (Tenor and soprano Sax, Bass Clarinet) | Johannes Krieger (Trumpet) | Iuri Gaspar (Piano) | Miguel Moreira (Drums) | Francesco Valente (Double Bass)

Produced by Francesco Valente. Recorded in July/September 2012 in Namouche Studio, Lisbon. Mixed and mastered in August/September 2012 by Beat Laden at Groundzero, Lisbon. Artwork by Janja Rudolf.

Tracklist: 1. Tchap Tchap Tchap (J. Krieger) 2. Maloca (F. Valente) 3. Hamsa (F.Valente) 4. An evening at the village (Bela Bartok – arr. F. Valente) 5. Ket Roman Tan (Bela Bartok – arr. I. Gaspar) 6. Buciumeana-Romanian folk danses (Bela Bartok – arr. F. Valente) 7. Naira (F. Valente) 8. Soul (J. Krieger)

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MoFrancesco Quintetto

The project was born at the end of the academic year 2010/11 of the degree in Jazz Music at ESML, Escola Superior de Musica de Lisboa. On the occasion of the last recital of Francesco Valente, on 28/06/11, this quintet has emerged that exhibited with original compositions. Following training began acting in Lisbon in several places where there is a weekly Jazz agenda, and began to act also outside this context (Italian Film Festival, Volvo Ocean Race, Universidade Nova with David Murray, Quinta da Regaleira Jazz etc.). In this past year the quintet have recorded his first album “Maloca”, wich it was released by Art of Life Records.

The Quintet proposes a modern jazz and fusion music with Mediterranean and Iberian classic and traditional music. The aim is to join the universal language of jazz music and an array improvisative original arrangements and also expressing the essence of the music from the land of origin of the musicians, in particular different styles and sounds of the Mediterranean.

Maloca

is a reference to the ancestral house used by natives in Amazon, the reason about this reference is the interest of Francesco Valente about the culture of Brasil, in his diversity and hibriditys forms, in precolonial, colonial and post-colonial periods. Maloca have the meaning of centre of the universe, and at the same time the house where natives receives foreign people, where they enact the interchange of knowledge, experiences, music, social practices and diversity: the idea of the album was born during a trip that Francesco Valente did in Brasil, Bolivia and Peru (the art cover is a photo of him in Uyuni, a place in Bolivia). So through this album (and the 5tet), he would like to suggest the parallel idea of a meeting of people from differents parts of the world sharing experiences, ideas, friendship, and music, here in Lisbon (their imaginary maloca where its happen this cosmopolitean encounter).

Maloca is truly a hidden gem of an album and bassist Francesco Valente and his remarkable MoFrancesco Quintetto, are the reason why this impressive debut, sparkles all over. — Edward Blanco (All About Jazz, Feb 2014)

The music that results is soundly rooted in Latinesque jazz with a further, almost indefinable refinement that no doubt results from Valente’s august education. The compositions are complex, yet melodic and the instrumental support and integration is completely formed, precise and accurate. — C.Michael Bailey (All About Jazz, Feb 2014)

Thinking man’s music, Euro jazz/fusion at its very best: Bartok would have approved. — Chris Mosey, (All About Jazz, Jan 2014)

Maloca is a refreshing and invigorating session that stays within tradition while still exploring and creating a new voice. A solid debut from Francesco Valente and his MoFrancesco Quintetto. Highly Recommended.– (JazzWrap, feb 2014)

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Francesco Valente

is italian, living in Lisbon for seventeen years. He is graduated in languages and literatures of hispanic and lusophone country’s, at Universita Statale di Milano, and in Music Jazz/Double Bass at ESML, Escola Superior de Música de Lisboa. He obtained a Master’s of Art Degree in Ethnomusicology, defendeding his tesis about Spokfrevo, an orchestra of frevo/jazz of Recife, Pernambuco/Brazil, having as advisor Salwa El Shawan Castelo Branco and Carlos Sandroni as co-advisor, both investigators internationally acclaimed. Currently he’s getting the Phd degree in Ethnomusicology at Universidade Nova de Lisboa.

He studied double bass and jazz theory in Portugal with Afonso Pais, Massimo Cavalli, Nelson Cascais, Bernardo Moreira, Joao Moreira, Pedro Moreira, Bruno Santos, Andre Fernandes, Goncalo Marques, Ricardo Pinheiro and Lars Arens. He attended Jazz workshops with John Taylor, David Binney, Marc Miralt, Mike Mainieri, Carlos Bica, Carlos Barretto etc. He collaborated in recording and live sessions with many international musicians (David Murray, Mike Mainieri, Marcos Suzano, Mario Tronco, Orchestra di Piazza Vittorio, Sara Tavares, Paulo Flores, Antonio Zambujo, Aline Frazao, Ne Ladeiras, Ney Matogrosso, Vitor Santana, Chico Cesar, Tito Paris, Pedro Joia, Cool Hipnoise, Kumpania Al-Gazarra, Groove Quartet, Andre Cabaco, Eneida Marta, Fogo di Mar, Loopless, Ponto de Equilibrio, Raimundo Amador, Mahesh Vinayakram, Kutla Khan, Oori Shalev etc.). Actually he play in various projects of jazz in Lisbon and Portugal: Tora Tora Big Band, Ricardo Pinto Quinteto, Chibanga Groove, Luis Vicente Trio, and MoFrancesco Quintetto as a leader.

Also he play electric bass & double bass with Orquestra Todos, Terrakota, Aline Frazao, Anonima Nuvolari etc. He played and still plays in numerous international festival of World Music, Jazz and Pop.

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3 thoughts on “Mofrancesco Quintetto | Maloca

  1. Italian bassist Francesco Valente’s fascination with the culture of Brazil inspired the title of this album. A moloca is an Amazonian ancestral longhouse and a habitat for sharing knowledge, stories and music. In this case, the communal home is his adopted Lisbon and Valente’s family is a multi-national quintet whose musical ancestors have bequeathed the jazz vernacular in all its global diversity. Together, the musical narratives that the MoFrancesco Quintetto shares draw from traditional and contemporary jazz, Iberian folkloric flavors and 20th century European classical music.

    Melody and rhythm are key components of Valente’s compositions and form the launching pads for collective and individual improvisation. German saxophonist Johannes Krieger—a long-time collaborator of Valente’s in world-fusion groups Terrakota and Tora Tora Big Band—and Brazilian saxophonist Guto Lucena carve melodious motifs in unison that bookend the compositions; in between, pianist Iuri Gaspar and Valente’s evolving ostinatos combine with drummer Miguel Moreira’s inventive rhythms and subtle dynamics to create a marked sense of groove.

    Only on the boppish “Naira” with its fast walking bass and on “Soul,” a throwback to the hard-driving gospel blues of saxophonist Julian “Cannonball” Adderley’s bands is the idiom overtly in the classic North American tradition. Elsewhere, the arrangements have a more expansive quality and there’s greater ebb and flow to the group’s voice. Valente gives the soloists plenty of rein and “Tchap Tchap Tchap” introduces extended trumpet, saxophone and piano solos, accompanied by just bass and drums.

    Latin rhythms color the episodic title track. Bass and piano join in a compelling groove as Krieger and Lucena announce the snaking melody. It’s Gaspar who tears loose first, propelled by Valente’s searching bass lines and Moreira, whose whisking brushes skip like a cajon. From a tranquil quintet space, Lucena on tenor builds patiently. As soon as he steps on the gas Moreira—reverting to sticks—and Gaspar follow suit as the quintet builds a head of steam. Reunited with the head, a celebratory unified cry of “maloca!’ concludes a stirring chapter. “Hamsa” beguiles with a smoldering passion that catches fire when Lucena’s keening solo hits full stride.

    A triptych of Hungarian composer Bela Bartok’s compositions provides a different foundation for exploration. Valente’s bass faithfully traces the melody of “An Evening at The Village” with minimal piano accompaniment. Shortly, Bartok’s nostalgia is replaced by a dancing, Latin-tinged piano-trio passage of sunnier visage. Bass and piano then revisit the original theme. Valente’s sparse arrangement, with trumpet and saxophone sitting out, highlights the beauty in Bartok’s simplicity. “Tet Roman Tanc” is a mini-suite onto itself; in turn somber, buoyant, serenely lyrical and comedic. On “Buciumeana—Romanian Folk Dances” bass once again replicates the defining melody before muted trumpet, bass clarinet, piano and drums inject fleeting crescendo. Krieger’s sweetly melancholic alto gives way to wistful unaccompanied piano before a unified closing segment of chamber ensemble elegance.

    Whatever the source of inspiration or the idiom that Valente’s quintet converses in, the dialog is engaging, passionate and lyrical. The ancestors would surely approve, though in Valente’s pursuit of original music, so too will many in the modern jazz family.

  2. Having appeared as a sideman on countless albums for over a decade, Italian bassist Francesco Valente finally unveils his first effort as leader with the modern jazz and fusion-like Maloca fronting his MoFrancesco Quintetto as they perform a session of fresh new originals exemplifying some of the styles and sounds of the Mediterranean area. Valente honed his skills as a musician while living in Lisbon, Portugal for sixteen years, performing in local venues and at various international festivals all while enhancing his academic credentials with a music degree from Escola Superior de Musica de Lisbon (ESML).

    Opening up with the blistering “Tchap Tchap Tchap,” Valente unleashes his very able horn section comprised of German trumpeter Johannes Krieger and Brazilian saxophonist Guto Lucena, on a Krieger original that sets the stage for an unexpectedly rousing session of music. Pianist Iuri Gaspar and drummer José Miguel Moreira also make their presence known with impressive musicianship. The bassist displays his appreciable chops on the opening statement to the title track, an up tempo burner with a contemporary feel to it. The fusion and improvisational nature of the music comes into play on the intricate Valente piece “Hamsa.”

    The bassist takes center stage on his arrangement of Hungarian composer Bela Bartok’s classic “An Evening at the Village” where his pronounced play leads the music on a mid tempo romp of this reimagined song. Bartok’s influence on Valente is obvious by the inclusion of two additional compositions, “Ket Roman Tanc” and “Buciumeana-Romanian Folk Dance.” The leader’s original “Naira” features some great saxophone work from Lucena in what is one of the swinging tunes of the set.

    The quintet brings it all to a fiery close with an almost funky-styled gyrating finale on the Krieger chart “Soul,” aptly titled for it indeed exhibits a great deal of soul. Maloca is truly a hidden gem of an album and bassist Francesco Valente and his remarkable MoFrancesco Quintetto, are the reason why this impressive debut, sparkles all over.

  3. A maloca is an ancestral long house used by Indians in the Amazonian jungle to receive outsiders and exchange knowledge and ideas.

    Italian bassist Francesco Valente became fascinated with the idea of the maloca on a trip to Brazil, Bolivia and Peru. A close perusal of the album cover reveals him doing a push-up between the M and the L of MALOCA at Uyuni, in Bolivia as a tropical storm looms.

    Valente, 39, now lives in Lisbon, where he studied jazz bass at the Escola Superior de Musica and now studies ethnomusicology at the city’s Universidade Nova. Through the latter he discovered classical composer Bela Bartok and the work he did to preserve the traditional music of his native Hungary.

    When he formed a quintet featuring Guto Lucena, a Brazilian now living in Sweden, on saxophones and bass clarinet and Johannes Krieger, from Germany, on trumpet, Valente invited Bartok into the musical maloca they created.

    This, the quintet’s first album, features jazz versions of Bartok’s “An Evening At The Village,” “Ket Roman Tanc” and “Buciumeana-Romanian Folk Dances.” They are all remarkably accessible, perhaps not that surprising. Bartok, while initially suspicious, took an interest in jazz, writing a concerto for violin and clarinet which was performed at Carnegie Hall in 1939 with Hungarian violinist Joseph Szigeti and Benny Goodman as soloists.

    If all this makes Maloca sound like some kind of academic exercise: it ain’t. The album really cooks right from the off, trumpeter Johannes Krieger’s “Tjap Tjap Tjap,” featuring fine work from the leader and Iuri Gaspar on piano.

    The title song, as you might expect, is Latin-tinged and percussive with Gaspar’s piano bringing to mind McCoy Tyner. It ends with a joyous yell of “Maloca!” Valente sees this as “an explosion of enthusiasm but also a defiant proclamation of how much better the world would be if all our houses were open to diversity.”

    Thinking man’s music, Euro jazz/fusion at its very best: Bartok would have approved.

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