2022 / PortoJazz
Review by Kathy Parsons
Hindrances is the fourth album from the Pedro Neves Trio, an amazing jazz trio from Portugal consisting of Pedro Neves (piano, composer), Miguel Angelo (double bass) and Jose´ Marrucho (drums/percussion). Neves is known in his country for creating "some of the most beautiful and delicate jazz music made in Portugal" (quoting Nuno Catarino), and I can certainly hear why. According to Buddhist tradition, "hindrances" refer to the various obstacles that prevent peace of mind and mental clarity and the music on Hindrances was inspired by an imaginary journey to the mountaintop seeking answers. Sometimes compared to the music of Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett and Brad Mehldau, Neves' music is a fascinating mixture of jazz and classical chamber music, blurring the lines between intricate arrangements and improvisation.
Hindrances begins with the title track, a 9 1/2 minute exploration that clearly indicates how jazz and classical styles are merged into Neves' music. Relaxed yet intense and colorful, this opening piece will grab your attention and draw you in right away. Neves is obviously the lead in most of the music, but he also gives trio-mates plenty of room to shine and express themselves. "Hindrances" begins with a beautifully-flowing one-minute solo piano intro before the bass and drums make their entrance. The second section of the piece is quite Baroque in style and then moves on to a slow, thoughtful jazz passage that gradually picks up speed and intensity, quieting near the end - a great starting piece! My impression of "Pictures I Would Like to Show You" is that the several different sections represent the photos being shared and the emotions they evoke. A quiet and intimate first section segues into a more rhythmic and upbeat section that becomes joyous and lively. The bass takes over one of the passages, conversing with the piano until the drums move the piece into another distinctly different theme. How the musicians do this so seamlessly is truly amazing! "One Mile of Walking" begins with a slow, easy groove that invites the listener to get lost in the music - hypnotic! "Development of Behavior" is a favorite. Its relaxed, graceful melody builds toward the middle of the piece, where it becomes almost playful and then settles back down as the drums build and take over to the close - fascinating! "Experience of Clarity" is low-key and calm with some wonderful bass work carrying the lead in places and the piano leading in others. "Bumpy Roads" is another favorite and again allows Miguel Angelo (bass) to take over the lead in several places. After a soulful, reflective start, the piece becomes hard-driving and a bit funky - just try to sit still for the second half of the piece! "Two Miles of Walking" starts with a drum solo that defines the groove before the piano starts. Driving and very lively, it comes to an abrupt stop at the end. "Meet You At the Peak" obviously refers to the end of the journey to the mountaintop and, hopefully, the peace of mind and clarity that it brings. A gorgeous slow ballad, it's a wonderful close to an excellent album.
I haven't been able to find Hindrances for sale in the US, but you can listen to it on Bandcamp. There is also a YouTube video of an interview with Pedro Neves. I will add more links as they become available. This is a great album and well worth the effort to find it!
October 29, 2022