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World Music CD Reviews Europe

Bernando Sassetti Trio2

By Matt Scheiner
Published January 5, 2007

Ascent
Clean Feed

Bernardo Sassetti Trio2’s Ascent is like a puzzle that doesn’t reveal itself completely until the end of the album. Each track is a different piece with its own elaborate design and purpose within the whole. Sassetti’s work as a movie score composer is a powerful influence on Ascent, as the Portuguese pianist compounds intelligent, but not cerebral, jazz with whirring cinematic passages linked to an involved storyline. Although Ascent may make the most sense heard in one sitting, there are stand-alone tracks. “Como quem Diz” is a perfect example of how the Trio matches Sassetti’s compositional complexity with an impressive display of talent. Drummer Alexandre Frazão has impeccable timing and uses every conceivable part of the drum set, while bassist Carlos Barretto builds the floor that Sassetti tiptoes across. “(In)diferente” is another example of the group’s force, combining speedy chord progressions with intricate rhythms. But while the Trio’s straight-ahead compositions cruise with a cool fluidity, a few overly dramatic, violin-tinged tracks interrupt the album’s overall flow.