Considered one of the most talented and sui generis portuguese bassists of his generation, after a seven-year hiatus without presenting any record under his own name, Hugo Carvalhais, one of the best kept secrets of Portugal’s jazz scene, is back with an album and he never stops surprising us.
After three internationally acclaimed albums with the participation of musicians such as Tim Berne, Emile Parisien Dominique Pifarély, Mário Costa and Gabriel Pinto, there is something new coming up. “Nebulosa” (2010, Clean Feed Records) introduced us to the infinitely great. “Particula” (2012, Clean Feed Records) was about the infinitely small. Between these two immeasurable extremes “Grand Valis” (2015, Clean Feed Records) questioned the nature of the outer reality we perceive and where we move in everyday life. And here we come across the new “Ascetica” (2022, Clean Feed Records), a plunge into our inner selves and the depths of consciousness that has always been there since the beginning of human experience. It is in this unfathomable place that since the dawn of time we have been confronted with enigmas, beauty, fear, wonder, light and darkness.
Shrouded in strangeness and mystery, “Ascetica” is based on a search for those fleeting moments, when something magical occurs. The term “magical” is a simplification – because these moments are actually inexplicable. They only occur from time to time. We don’t know why or how. As lovers of jazz music, we sometimes recognise them. That is the quest. That is what Carvalhais is attempting to achieve. We encounter them in “Ascetica”.