JazzTimes (p.70) - "Vasconcellos impresses deeply on 'Balance of Relations,' which opens with a delicate duet for bass and guitar before segueing to a driving ensemble piece brimming with tricky unisons..."
Personnel: Josué Lopez (tenor saxophone); Allen Pontes (drums).
Audio Mixer: Daniel Musy.
Recording information: Companhia Dos Técnicos (03/25/2009-06/03/2009).
Photographer: Rodgrigo Simas.
It's hard to believe that, given his glittering career, this is only the second album to come out under the Brazilian bassist's name. These tracks, all recorded live, showcase the fact that he also possesses formidable compositional skills, and a very sympathetic band (tenor, drums, piano, guitar, and himself) able to move from post-bop jazz to the edge of chaos and the avant-garde, or sustain a long, lyrical mood on "The Old City Ballad." The players all get good workouts, as with Renato Fonseca on "Puerto Madero," who shows delicious invention on his solo. There's nothing especially Brazilian about the pieces here; instead, much of the impressionism creates moods, as with "The Trip of the Elephant." Vasconcellos himself might lead from the back, but he remains the linchpin of the whole ensemble, never flashy but always there, keeping things together, whether it's slow support or dueling with a saxophonist and spiraling higher and higher. It's a decidedly modern jazz album that still manages to acknowledge the roots very well indeed. ~ Chris Nickson