RED trio + Nate Wooley

The history of improvised music is full of successful and even magical first encounters, but more common are the occasions in which the musicians don’t have the hability, or the possibility, to find bridges of compatibility among themselves. Even when we’re in presence of great players, it simply doesn’t work. The encounter between American trumpeter Nate Wooley and the Portuguese Red Trio (Rodrigo Pinheiro, Hernâni Faustino and Gabriel Ferrandini) was one of those blessed by musical chemistry. They started to play in a concert right after meeting each other and the building trembled. After that, they recorded this CD and had other performances together, and in every occasion the music was magnificent. In his liner notes, Wooley writes about improvisation as an “utopian art practice”, considering that, this time, they were very close to achieve the ideal degree of a really “democratic social structure”. So, what you have here is a rarity… Use it as such.


Nate Woolet (trumpet)
Rodrigo Pinheiro (piano)
Hernâni Faustino (doublebass)
Gabriel Ferrandini (drums and percussion)


Recorded at Namouche by Joaquim Mendes.

Release date
March 12, 2012
Clean Feed Records - CF249
Disc format


I don’t buy the label’s hard-sell assertion that this encounter between New York trumpeter Nate Wooley and the Portuguese Red Trio – Rodrigo Pinheiro (piano), Hernâni Faustino (bass), Gabriel Ferrandini (drums) – was “blessed by musical chemistry”. Nor am I saying Stem is a particularly bad record. By track three (of five), some intriguingly non-classifiable hybrids of toneless trumpet sounds, inside-piano fumbles and cymbal work have begun to emerge; but the stop-start caution of the beginning – neither side willing to nail much to the mast, leaving nondescript patterns hanging – is 50 shades of grey at least. Not a “magical first encounter”, no, but a curious flashback to American star-meets-European rhythm section recordings in the tradition of similar so-so dates by Charlie Parker, Dexter Gordon, Ben Webster et al.

This is jazz at its very best. The opening track alone is worth the purchase. Listen how blues and bop and even romanticism are part of the language, but get distorted, intensified, turned into new levels of expressivity, in which the anguish and distress of today's life are evocated, at the same level as sweetness and beauty, of a nature that is more difficult to capture, less sentimental, but deeper, more meaningful.