Review Summary: The Portuguese jazz album we didn't know we needed
“Dois Quartetos Sobre o Mar” (loosely translated from Portuguese, "Two quartets about/over the ocean) is an album by Portuguese jazz multi-instrumentalist Mário Barreiros. The album is produced, mixed, mastered and produced by himself, and played by himself (drums) alongside two separate quartets: "Pacific" with a more contemplative approach and "Abissal", more exploratory and representing of the ocean's deep waters.
Even though the instruments are identical between both quartets, the approaches are very different, having Barreiros himself as a common thread that ties them together beautifully. The opener “Só Ten o Corpo Memoria”, inspired by a Galician poem, is the more refined and quieter of the tracks with a mellow sax that drifts indefinitely and beautifully throughout. After a little bit of reading, I found that all tracks have some connection to existing jazz pieces or inspired by other pieces of art and to enumerate them all would make this review likely too descriptive. However, moving on to “El Árbol Negro”, the track that shifts to the second quartet, it marks the tone for the second half of this album, a more dynamic and intense experience overall.
Lastly, I think the more important aspect of this album is that it is a fantastic experience, a deep dive (pun intended) into a challenging yet beautiful jazz journey. An homage to the people taking care of our ocean that is a companion piece to a documentary but that holds itself as it's own piece art.