Summer Skyshift

Summer Skyshift

RED trio + John Butcher

Known for the way they manage the energy factor, going from extreme subtlety, almost near-silence, to aggressive noise making, Rodrigo Pinheiro, Hernâni Faustino and Gabriel Ferrandini, the members of Red Trio, brought sharp ears to their presentation with John Butcher as guest during last year’s Jazz em Agosto festival. “Summer Skyshift” is the recording of that concert in Lisbon. The music is very different from that on their studio LP together, “Empire”, enabling us to discover new aspects of this project. If not serene, considering the permanent unrest of these musicians, their state of mind opened the music to an astonishing lyricism. Free and abstract as ever, but with an unusual poetic dimension. This frame was profited by Butcher in the best way, as you can testify here. The British saxophonist is a master of meditative playing, and many of his best performances have that kind of focus. During the “Empire” tours, the same John Butcher used to take his Portuguese companions out from any jazz comfort zones, but this time he accepted to be pushed in. At the end of the album, he seems in love with the phrasing and the sound of John Coltrane. When he makes the soprano saxophone sound like a flute, with Pinheiro behind him weaving a spider net with the highest notes of the piano, the only thing you can say is «Wow!». Prepare yourself for that…


John Butcher (soprano and tenor saxophones)
Rodrigo Pinheiro (piano)
Hernâni Faustino (doublebass)
Gabriel Ferrandini (drums and percussion)


All music by Rodrigo Pinheiro, Hernani Faustino, Gabriel Ferrandini and John Butcher

Recording August 5th at the Jazz em Agosto Festival 2015, by João Paulo Nogueira | Mixed by John Butcher | Mastered by Rodrigo Pinheiro
Produced by RED trio and John Butcher | Executive Production by Pedro Costa | Band photo by © Gulbenkian Música / Márcia Lessa | Artwork by Travassos

We would like to thank Rui Neves and Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation for making this concert possible.

Release date
May 13, 2016
Clean Feed Records - CF372CD
Disc format


It's always interesting to see how certain combinations work together and RED Trio has proven to be extremely versatile, releasing albums with Lotte Anker, Nate Wooley, Mattias Stahl, among others. However, sometimes a collaboration becomes its own thing and to my ears, that is the case here - this a quartet that has really latched onto something unique in their fiery crescendos and passionate forays. Summer Skyshift has certainly landed on my top ten lists for the year.

This one is a definite cork-popper, a model of extraordinarily productive four-way inspiration. Strongly recommended!

Whether cause or effect, on this set Rodrigo Pinheiro mixes his accustomed piano manipulations with flowing lines and emphatic minimalist patterns. Indeed at times especially during "1.1" and "1.3," the foursome recall the Schlippenbach Trio at full tilt.

Pianist Rodrigo Pinheiro alternates ferocious fusillades of notes that skirt the density of white noise with more calculated constructions. [...] Whatever the listener-attempted idiomatic label- and the music does a consistent job resisting the application of any reductive placard- the results are continuously engaging and well worth revisiting.

This second collaboration with UK saxophonist John Butcher – following on from 2011's Empire – wastes no time in stirring up a swift, swirling vortex of intense activity with pianist Pinheiro's imagination shooting off into brief, blazing ideas like rockets in a deep blue sky, while the bass and drums team of Faustino and Ferrandini crash and rage. In this context, Butcher – often stereotyped as a clinical, cerebral stylist – lets rip with some muscular tenor technique, spitting out restless blasts and brays and even flat-lining into the kind of trilling trance-growl Coltrane employed from around 1965 onwards. It's turbulent European free-jazz for turbulent times. We need it.

RED Trio’s second album Empire, released in 2011, was a collaboration with Butcher, and they’ve continued to build a mutually stimulating rapport since. The young Portuguese piano trio specialise in a swift, swirling energy, with bassist Hernani Faustino and drummer Gabriel Ferrandini crashing and clamouring in a restless flux of implied tempi. It’s enough to goad Butcher into muscular territory, with his tenor hurling out pops, squeaks, blasts and brays – and even plateauing on the kind of flat growl John Coltrane developed around 1965. Freefalling down the other side of the peak, the four musicians settle into an extended shimmer, with pianist Rodrigo Pinheiro scampering skittishly while Butcher’s soprano demonstrates an intensely maintained and held overtone technique, glinting in the light like a fresh scalpel blade.