September 14-17, 2006
There are moments of real excitement, lots of them, from all corners of the quartet, which is augmented on four tracks by mandolinist Hamilton De Holanda. Most of the tracks, even the fairy tale-like arrangement of Erik Satie's "Gnossienne No.3," are driven forward by Philippe Aerts' energised bass. He solos rarely but is always at the centre of the action. Violinist Alexis Cardenas is another delight, a visceral, attacking player, whether in bowed or plucked mode, whose improvisations, like Galliano's, strike a fine balance between muscle and melodicism. Percussionists Raphael Meijas and Amoy Ribas, whose propulsive responsibilities are handled in the main by Aerts, are relatively far back in the mix and concerned with colours rather than beats.
De Holanda's inclusion is inspired. The combination of accordion and mandolin is a perfect marriage of opposites, in which the mandolin's mercurial, non-sustained, percussive sonorities perfectly complement the langorous, drawn-out notes of the accordion. Galliano and De Holanda's counterpoints bring a shimmer to "Tangaria" and the tenderly romantic "Sanfona," and they duel fiercely on the manic head charge "Fou Rire" and swaggering "Sertao."
One small gripe. Most of the tracks last less than four minutes, permitting only brief solos. Given the strength of the material and the players, it would be good to hear some longer workouts. Sometimes the tunes sound like postcards, when a letter would be welcome.