Pedro Melo Alves & Sara Serpa

— Conundrum cycle

Galeria Zé dos Bois

© Beatriz Pequeno
© Carolina Saez

A name we have been meeting more and more often in the flow of the movements that matter most in the interstices of jazz, improvisation, composition, looser rock and unheard proposals, Pedro Melo Alves joins ZDB to breathe new life into his cycle Conundrum started in 2018, continued in 2019 and since then on hiatus. In these two years, and in countercurrent with the pandemic dormancy and speculative tension, Melo Alves has picked up the trail and has devised new forms and languages that had a particularly striking moment with the performance of his magnanimous Omniae Large Ensemble. Moving forward through 2022, Melo Alves returns to this personal mystery that is Conundrum, a wild proposal that puts the drummer in duo with someone he admires and with whom he has never performed before, in a total of six encounters. The new cycle happens in July with Sara Serpa, in September with Ignaz Schick, and in November with Audrey Chen. Without any previous plan or strategy, the silence is broken with music born organically and open to countless possibilities, glimpsing the infinite.

Continuing the spirit of constant search and on several fronts in this cycle, Conundrum continues with its first foray into vocal territory at ZDB. The field of percussion and voice duo is a little untrodden one, even in the territories of free improvisation and jazz, which leaves frankly high expectations in the air given the company of Melo Alves. Vocalist, composer and improviser with more than established credits in this panorama, Sara Serpa has been widely awarded and praised by spheres of interest that include Downbeat, NPR and the New York Times, gracefully inhabiting a limbo between mainstream jazz and more exploratory tendencies, a synthesis of technique, lyricism, bravery and an ability to evoke emotional or sensorial states without resorting to words or performative melismas. Purity and knowledge. BS

Pedro Melo Alves

Pedro Melo Alves, 1991, born in Porto, Portugal. Studied Jazz Drums and Musical Composition. He is one of the most prominent drummers and composers in the avant-garde music scene of the last years in Portugal. Explorer of the expanded possibilities of percussion, improviser and ambitious composer for small and large formations, he has been distinguished nationally (Bernardo Sassetti Composition Prize 2016, jazz.pt musician of the year 2017) and internationally (Premio Internazionale Giorgio Gaslini 2019). In great solo rotation, as leader and as sideman, Pedro has been progressively more involved in the international musical itinerary, receiving commissions from institutions such as Guimarães Jazz, Culturgest, Gnration or Serralves Foundation and presenting his projects in events such as 12 Points Festival (Ireland, 2018), European Jazz Conference (Lisbon, 2018), Jazzahead (Germany, 2019), Suoni Per Il Popolo (Canada, 2019) or Südtirol Jazz Festival (Italy, 2019).

He is part of contemporary jazz bands (Omniae Large Ensemble, The Rite of Trio, In Igma, Luís Vicente Trio), percussion projects (Pedro Carneiro, João Pais Filipe/Jonathan Saldanha), electroacoustic projects (the solo O, Symph, CACO. MEAL), improvised music collaborations (Theo Ceccaldi, Eve Risser, Nuno Rebelo, João Paulo Esteves da Silva, Jacqueline Kerrod, Pedro Branco), rock and pop bands (Catacombe, Surma), soundtracks for Theatre and Dance (Peter Kleinert, Carlota Lagido) and classical composition.

Sara Serpa

A native from Lisboa, Portuguese Sara Serpa is a singer, composer, improviser, who through her practice and performance, explores the use of the voice as an instrument. Serpa has been working in the field of jazz, improvised and experimental music, since moving to New York in 2008. Literature, film, visual arts, nature and history inspire Serpa in the creative process and development of her music. Described by the New York Times as “a singer of silvery poise and cosmopolitan outlook,” and by the JazzTimes magazine as “a master of wordless landscapes,” Serpa started her recording and performing career with jazz luminaries such as Grammy-nominated pianist, Danilo Perez, Guggenheim and MacArthur Fellow pianist, Ran Blake, and Greg Osby.
Her ethereal music draws from a broad variety of inspirations including literature, film, visual arts as well as history and nature. As a leader, she has produced and released ten albums, the latest being Intimate Strangers (2021) and Recognition (2020).

Serpa was voted 2020 NPR Jazz Vocalist, Rising Star-Female Vocalist 2019 by the Downbeat Magazine Critics Poll, and teaches at The New School and New Jersey City University. Currently Serpa is Artist-In-Residence at Park Avenue Armory, in New York and a recipient of New York City Women’s Fund 2020, Chamber Music America New Jazz Works Grant 2019, New Music USA 2019 Grant, 2021 USArtists Grant from Mid-Atlantic Foundation for the Arts, and 2021 Herb Alpert/Ragdale Prize in Composition.

She has performed her own music in Europe, Australia, North and South America, singing at international festivals such as Bergamo Jazz Festival, Festa do Jazz, the Panama Jazz Festival, Festival de Jazz de Montevideo, Wangaratta Jazz Festival, Adelaide Festival, Sopot Jazz Festival or venues like Bimhuis, Casa da Música, Village Vanguard, Jazz Standard, The Stone, Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Lincoln Center, the Met Breuer, and the Kennedy Center for the Arts, among others.

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