March 27, 2013
Bruno Santos

In the large contingent of Portuguese guitarists who move in the fields of jazz and improvised music, Bruno Santos has been at the forefront for a decade among those who profile themselves in the aesthetic descendants of luminaries such as Wes Montgomery and Jim Hall. Despite these parchments, the discography in his own name by the Madeiran guitarist is not particularly extensive, being limited to “Wrong Way”, the debut in 2005, and “TrioAngular”, from 2007.

Over the years, Bruno Santos has cherished the desire to write for broader groups, a goal that he ended up achieving in 2011, composing and arranging material for the Septeto do Hot Clube de Portugal, and in 2013 with his own Ensemble, whose debut ended to be released by TOAP, its usual label.

To this end, it surrounds itself with an assembly of important musicians from the national jazz scene to give sound body to a set of pieces that, despite the size of the number, exhibit the essential traits of the approach we know in smaller formats. His guitar playing remains clean and modest, without inconsequential exhibitionism, and based on harmonic security and melodic clarity rooted in a solid knowledge of the jazz tradition.

His compositions, especially medium tempos, reveal good taste, maturity and an unassailable sobriety, with a classic flavor (in the jazz sense, that is). The musician takes advantage of the instrumental palette at his disposal, exploring different associations and symbioses.

Particularly noteworthy is the dynamism of “30/1” – one of the best performances by pianist Rodrigo Gonçalves –, the warm “swing” emanating from “4Quartos” (good notes from the leader and Luís Cunha, on trombone), the most exotic “Para Flauta Uma Valsa” (featuring Cunha on flute and Paulo Gaspar on bass clarinet) and “Quarto dos Fundos”, purposefully spiced up by Gonçalves’ Fender Rhodes.

The beautiful voice of Mariana Norton – almost always without resorting to words, with the exception of “A Donzela Atrás da Porta”, where she joins the luminous trumpet of Gonçalo Marques – is used as if it were a wind instrument, indelibly marking the final result.


Bruno Santos (guitar)
Mariana Norton (vocal)
Gonçalo Marques (trumpet)
César Cardoso (tenor saxophone)
Paulo Gaspar (clarinet)
Luís Cunha (trombone and flute)
Jorge Reis (soprano and alto saxophone)
Rodrigo Gonçalves (piano and fender rhodes)
João Hasselberg (bass)
Luís Candeias (drums)

César Cardoso, todos os direitos reservados