Mariá Portugal – drums, Paul van Kemenade – altosax, Jasper van ’t Hof piano/keys/pc sampling (BR-NL). CD: Daytime Sketches (2017)
This trio is brandnew and has booted just last february 2017. Brazilian drummer Portugal (1984) and Dutch alto saxophonist Van Kemenade (1957) met each other for the very first time on stage in Italy at the Roccella Jonica Jazzfestival 2016 where they performed in duo a completely improvised concert.
It was an overwhelming experience and Van Kemenade asked Portugal over to the Netherlands to record a cd in duo and also in trio with Dutch pianist-keyboard-player Jasper van ’t Hof (1947). Playing in this duo-trio setting felt very exciting and challen-ging and a great new trio is born. Together they recorded the cd ‘Daytime Sketches’ which will be released coming may 2017. All three musicians got lots of credits worldwide, toured all over the world and won numerous awards.
Drummer and percussionist Mariá Portugal is known from her works with a.o. Quartabê, Arrigo Barnabé, Dona Zica and Fernanda Takai.
Pianist-keyboardist-pc sampler Van ’t Hof performed with a.o Toto Blanke, George Gruntz, Archie Shepp, Charlie Mariano, Bob Malach, Manfred Schoof, Philip Catherine. He is founder of the very well-known group Pili Pili and received the Bird Award in 1997.
Altoist Van Kemenade is known for his collaborations with diverse musical disciplines and cultures ( South-West Africa). He played with Ray Anderson, David Murray, Han Bennink Markus Stockhausen, the Metropole Orchestra, Jorge Pardo, Jamaaladeen Tacuma and many others. Recieved in 1999 a lifetime achievement award ( Boy Edgar Prijs ) and a Royal decoration (2007) in the Netherlands.
Downtown Music Gallery (US)
‘Will the world of wonders ever cease to exist?!? Certainly not here’
‘fantastic album, musicians reach great heights’
‘Frankly, I did not find any songs on the album that I did not want to hear again.’
‘…lyrical playing combines ‘power’ with melancholy and poetry.’
VPRO Vrije Geluiden (NL)
Downtown Music Gallery (NY USA) May 2017
‘Daytime Sketches’ was recorded in a studio in the Netherlands and features a series of duos and trios. Mr. Van Kemenade has a touching, bittersweet tone on his alto, which works well with Ms. Portugal’s haunting drumming on “Gato”. Mr. Van’t Hof plays some sort of synth on the title track, getting a mesmerizing electronic sequencer-like sound, rather 70’s like but still enchanting so many years later. The trio sounds especially jubilant on “Count Us In”, certain to make us all feel better due to its joyous vibe. There is a nice, laid back, vibe to much of this, as if no one has anything to prove and take their time to get to where they want to go. The trio seem to dip into a diverse array of genres or influences, from gospel-like melodies to short free eruptions to tight duo tangles. Will the world of wonders ever cease to exist?!? Certainly not here!- Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
Jazzflits (NL) June 2017
The opening track ‘Daytime Sketches’ immediately shows the great power of saxophonist Paul van Kemenade. His lyrical playing combines ‘power’ with melancholy and poetry. As an advocate of improvised music in the Netherlands, he has built an unbelievably large and varied oeuvre. This year he celebrates his 40th anniversary as a musician, composer, and festival organiser. By now, he is an institution. This praise of Van Kemenade’s qualities might suggest otherwise, but on ‘Daytime Sketches’, the three musicians have an equal role. The Brazilian Mariá Portugal understands the art of having her drum kit sound like a melodic instrument. She subtly plays with sound and rhythm. Jasper van ’t Hof adds lots of variation to the music through his use of sampling and keyboards. Van ’t Hof starts off the CD on piano with ‘Prime time serenade’ with beautiful Ellington-like chords, while Paul van Kemenade weaves his melody around it like a Dutch Johnny Hodges. The duet between Mariá and Paul in Gato is of equivalent beauty. And those are just the first two songs of the CD. ‘Daytime Sketches’ is full of gems, varying from pieces with a firm rhythm and the necessary expressive power to modest ballads and anything in between. The binding factor on the CD is the high quality of the music and composition. The music stays exciting throughout the entire CD, but not in an exhausting way. And like with many of Paul van Kemenade’s productions, this is a CD you can enjoy for years to come. The shelf life of his music is long, very long. Sjoerd van Aelst
Jazznu (NL) May 12 2017
Paul van Kemenade has taken yet another direction. In parallel with his large number of CDs, he finds the opportunity to continuously sharpen his musical vision. This allows the listener to realise that his evolution is still very much ongoing. The alto saxophonist, who will be turning 60 one of these days, flourishes with creativity as never before. His latest CD, ‘Daytime Sketches’, is another shining example of this. During one of his tours abroad last year, Paul van Kemenade became acquainted with the Brazilian percussionist Mariá Portugal. His musical soul was more than stimulated. He immediately made plans to work together with her soon. Almost simultaneously with that occurrence was the performance with keyboardist Jasper van ’t Hof during the festival Stranger Than Paranoia, which turned out surprisingly well to both the audience and Paul van Kemenade. The plan soon came together: a CD needed to be released with both virtuoses, and quickly. And here she is: Daytime Sketches. The new CD radiates that both Mariá Portugal and Jasper van ’t Hof must have thought the same. The very strong impression the CD makes even when listening to it for the first time can only be generated by the enthusiasm that Daytime Sketches exudes. The way in which these three musicians challenge each other are a stepping stone to a higher level. And this is not a figure of speech: this CD spreads an incredible musical wealth in the broadest sense. If they were ever there at all, Paul van Kemenade manages to further rid himself of any restrictions, fears, or presumptions regarding his musical performance on Daytime Sketches. His play knows no bounds; he walks through all layers of his music like a manufacturer with his hands on his back. This often results in breath-taking moments. Sometimes, they are based on restraint (in Gato), sometimes on wilfulness, and other times on the intuition of a great musician. And there is always that almost sacred characteristic: the bursting lyricism, the fierce bottom-of-the-barrel play of his alto saxophone. Cries of joy, of delight, of unbridled playing pleasure; they have reached an even higher level on Daytime Sketches. The presence of Jasper van ’t Hof and Mariá Portugal is a surprise in itself, but the way in which they create a new unit together with Paul van Kemenade is an unexplored territory. Mariá Portugal is a miracle. She pairs her unlimited ingenuity with her superb skill, which she only uses to provide the music with cosmic elements. It is safe to say that Jasper van ’t Hof and Paul van Kemenade are old hands of the business. They have known each other for a long time, but did not collaborate until just recently. It appears that they complement each other well. The opening piece of the CD, Prime Time Serenade, testifies to that. The carefully dosed first notes are a platform for the alto saxophone and develop into – oh yes – a beautiful serenade for what is yet to come. Gato – the second piece of Daytime Sketches – needs no further explanation. Anyone who has ever heard of Gato Barbieri knows what to expect here. In the title composition, Daytime Sketches, you can hear Jasper van ’t Hof at his best. With jazz rock-related electronic sounds, compelling, with different tempos. This paves the way for Mariá Portugal, who flashed through the improvisations of keyboardist and alto saxophonist with equal melancholy. Here, you can hear jazz music in all shapes and forms. Music full of atmosphere and mystery, connected to the past and present. You could praise each composition in a similar way. Let us limit ourselves to Um Draminha Pro Senhor Incrivel, where the rhythm is drenched in Brazilian music and the soloing alto saxophonist nips sweetly of the native caipirinha. And to Hospel, which reminds of Coleman Hawkins’ Nighthawk, where Hammond organist Jimmy Smith swims underneath. But no, you are hearing Paul van Kemenade, Jasper van ’t Hof, and Mariá Portugal; musical magicians in these harsh times. Rinus van der Heyden
Jazzenzo (NL) June 04 2017
This fall, Paul van Kemenade will have been in the music business for 40 years. A career characterised by countless formations, international collaborations all the way to the African continent, Van Kemenade’s quintet and quartet, continuous quality, and the unwillingness to make concessions for the commercial landscape. In ‘Daytime Sketches’, the altoist excels in duos and trios with Brazilian drummer Maria Portugal and pianist and keyboard specialist Jasper van ’t Hof. A novelty. Although Kemenade has worked with imposing orchestras, flamenco musicians, classical ensembles, and much more, never before did electronic sounds infiltrate Van Kemenade’s work. A sensational experience, as in the title piece composed by Van Kemenade in which the altoist spreads powerful improvisations backed by Van ’t Hof’s grooving samples. The primal roar that brings forth the three duo pieces Van Kemenade recorded with percussionist Portugal is engaging. Freedom, tension, and emotion resonate through the entire album, but excel to breath-taking levels in the drum-sax improvisations. On another level still are the melodramatic ‘Hospel’ and the melodically edgy ‘Dance on the Water’, contagious trio compositions with hit potential, a potential lifeline for the ailing 3FM. The dynamically varied ‘Daytime Sketches’ delivers peak after peak in which the soul relationship between the musicians leads to fierce interplay and improvisations. Their source of creative angles is far from dry. He may have turned 60 in May, but Van Kemenade’s tone and compositions continue to cut through bone and marrow.
VPRO Vrije Geluiden (NL) May 2017
What is it about Paul van Kemenade’s sound that makes it so immediately recognisable – the energy he puts into it, its own specific character, the typical licks he processes in his melodies? And where does the man find the creative power to set up so many different projects – this time with young Brazilian percussionist Mariá Portugal, in duo with Stevko Busch, the quarter including trombonist Ray Anderson, the collaboration with old music specialists Cappella Pratensis, and not to be forgotten: his own annual festival Stranger Than Paranoia. What a cool CD: great songs (the keyboard in ‘Hospel’!), intimate and emotional pieces (‘Count us in’ with sensitive piano play from Jasper van ‘t Hof) and nice, groovy jams (‘Dance on the water’, a deliciously confusing dance). With Paul’s amazing alto saxophone on top every time. Highly recommended. AvN
Jazzquad (RU) 08 May 2017
Daytime Sketches album gathered musicians of three generations. The well-known Dutch altoist Paul van Kemenade (born in 1957) is its key figure. This year he celebrates not only his 60th birthday, but also the 40th anniversary of his creative work. His creativity brought him to every corner of the world and all continents, he traveled to many countries, from Russia to South Africa, and collected an impressive discography. He was working with many prominent masters of new jazz, both in Europe and abroad. This October Paul will give jubilee concerts in Tilburg and Amsterdam. In February he recorded Daytime Sketches also in Tilburg. The album was about duets and trio of van Kemenade with his partners. One of them is well known in the jazz world. This is Paul’s fellow, pianist Jasper van’t Hof (born in 1947). This year it’s his anniversary as well, the only dissimilarity is a 10 years’ gap. Jasper managed to become one of the founders of European fusion music (with Association P.C. band), and a legend of the jazz avant-garde, who worked with many of his stars, Americans and Europeans, and a master of solo piano concerts. But I had never heard before of Maria Portugal, the Brazilian woman from Sao Paulo (born in 1984). According to the data from the web, the sphere of creative interests of this drummer lies in the area where jazz, Brazilian folk music and choreography intersect. Maria is studying at the University of Sao Paulo; she is the leader of her own band named Sinamantes. She is taking part in other projects, acts in Brazil, Europe and the United States. During one of the jazz festivals in Italy in 2016, Paul and Maria spontaneously played an improvisational concert in a duet (previously they were not familiar), which was the impetus for the creation of Daytime Sketches. Most of the pieces of the album were written by Paul van Kemenade (two of them together with Maria Portugal). Two compositions were brought to the album by Jasper van’t Hof. I have been listening to Paul van Kemenade for a long time and with constant interest. This saxophonist is distinguished by a beautiful vibrant sound, high technique and a rare skill. He is not focusing on commercialization. He is making his music clear to the listener, expressing the most complex ideas with simple, lapidary and accessible language, when the beauty of a play can be equally appreciated by a brilliant expert of jazz, and a man who doesn’t know a lot about it. It is this kind of music that attracts new fans to jazz. In the Daytime Sketches project, Van Kemenade found worthy partners. The starting piece Prime Time Serenade immediately captures the hearts of listeners with lyrical emotionality. You can find emotions and true feelings in the next play Gato, which, judging by the name and mood of music, Paul dedicated to his jazz fellow, Argentine tenor saxophonist and composer Gato Barbieri, who deceased in 2016. Naturally, there is a Latin flavor in this music. It’s more obvious in the album’s single cover, the Brazilian play Um Draminha Pro Senhor Incrível, where all three participants of the project masterfully convey a special feeling of sweet sadness peculiar to this music. There is also one of my personal favorites, light and airy Dry Four play. But the album is not just about lyrics. There is no less emotion, only of another kind, in the energetic final Dance on the Water track. The rich polyrhythm of percussion supports the virtuoso passages of the saxophone in the title Daytime Sketches and Count us in compositions. In Time is up 2 musicians on high drive give out a sample of this free jazz, and their vision of gospel music is demonstrated in the mastery of keyboard and saxophone interaction in the eponymous Hospel play. Frankly, I did not find any songs on the album that I did not want to hear again. And I did it with great pleasure and gratitude to the performers. Leonid Auskern
Jazzquad (RU) may 2017
NRC **** 14 juni 2017
Grootse jubileumviering van Van Kemenade. De altsaxofoon van Paul van Kemenade fluistert in ‘Prime Time Serenade’, jubelt als het daglicht in ‘Daytime Sketches’ en zingt als het gospellied in ‘Hospel’. Op het nieuwste album van saxofonist Van Kemenade (1957), in samenwerking met de Braziliaanse percussioniste Mariá Portugal en pianist en ‘sampler’ Jasper van ’t Hof, bereiken de musici grote hoogte, zowel in de variëteit als in de afzonderlijke nummers. Dit jaar viert saxofonist en componist Van Kemenade zijn 40-jarige jubileum. Daytime Sketches is een indrukwekkende terugblik op zijn carrière en biedt nieuwe wegen. In nummers als de schitterende opening ‘Prime Time Serenade’ en ‘Count us in’ hoor je zijn wortels in de bebop. Maar zijn aandacht reikt verder, zelfs tot in de eigentijdse elektronische muziek en Amerikaanse jazz, zoals in het alle grenzen overschrijdende ‘Um Draminha Pro Senhor Incrivel’. Het resultaat is een groots album waarin piano en slagwerk op gelijkwaardig niveau staan als de altsax. Kester Freriks
Jazznu.com (NL) mei 2017
VPRO (NL) mei 2017
Jazzenzo (NL) 04 juni 2017
Jazzflits (NL) nr. 279 juni 2017
Het openingsnummer van ‘Daytime Sketches’ toont al direct de grote kracht van saxofonist Paul van Kemenade. Zijn lyrische spel combineert ‘power’ met weemoed en poëzie. Als voorvechter van geimproviseerde muziek in Nederland heeft hij een onvoorstelbaar groot en gevarieerd oeuvre opgebouwd. Dit jaar viert hij zijn veertigjarig jubileum als muzikant, componist en festivalorganisator. Hij is inmiddels een instituut. Deze lofzang op de kwaliteiten van Van Kemenade zou anders kunnen doen vermoeden, maar op ‘Daytime Sketches’ hebben de drie muzikanten een gelijkwaardige rol. De Braziliaanse Mariá Portugal verstaat de kunst haar drumkit te laten klinken als melodisch instrument. Subtiel speelt ze met klank en ritme. Jasper van ’t Hof geeft de muziek veel variatie met zijn gebruik van sampling en keyboards. Van ’t Hof opent de cd op piano in ‘Prime time serenade’ met prachtige Ellington-achtige akkoorden, waarop Paul van Kemenade als een Johnny Hodges van de lage landen de melodie eromheen weeft. Het duet tussen Mariá en Paul in Gato is van eenzelfde schoonheid. En dan hebben we alleen nog maar de twee eerste nummers van de cd beluisterd. ‘Daytime Sketches’ staat vol met juweeltjes. Variërend van stukken met een stevig ritme en de nodige expressieve kracht tot ingetogen ballads en alles wat er tussenin zit. De bindende factor op de cd is de topkwaliteit van muziek en compositie. Gedurende de gehele cd blijft de muziek spannend, maar niet op een uitputtende manier. Je hangt na intensief beluisteren niet lamgeslagen in de touwen. En zoals bij zoveel producties van Paul van Kemenade kun je deze cd na jaren nog uit de kast halen om intens van te genieten. De houdbaarheidsdatum van zijn muziek is lang, heel lang. Sjoerd van Aelst