Album Preview: Gili Lopes, Algures

Written by | New Releases, News

Brazilian-born bassist Gili Lopes is set to release his latest album titled “Algures.” on January 12, 2024 . The album, which Lopes views as a portal to encapsulate a lifetime of experiences, promises to be an eight-track travelogue for modern jazz enthusiasts. It’s an auditory journey that synthesizes his global encounters into a firsthand musical narrative, with the title “Algures” derived from an ancient Portuguese word meaning ‘somewhere.’

Currently based in New York City, Lopes, a composer, bassist, and bandleader, embarked on his musical journey in Brazil, honing his skills with local bands. His pursuit of musical excellence led him to the cobblestone streets of London in his early 20s, where he began studying the upright bass. His academic journey culminated at the renowned Guildhall School of Music and Drama, earning him a bachelor’s degree in jazz studies, followed by a decade-long stint as a freelance musician in the United Kingdom.

In 2013, Lopes expanded his musical horizons at the Jazz Institute in Berlin, securing a Masters degree in composition and arrangement from the University of Fine Arts of Berlin (UDK).

A globetrotter in every sense, Gili Lopes has performed on stages in more than 35 countries, leaving his musical imprint in venues such as Ronnie Scott’s, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center, and the Seoul Jazz Festival.

Joining Lopes on his auditory journey are a hand picked group of musicians, each a master in bridging Brazilian rhythms and contemporary jazz . Longtime collaborators, guitarist Vinicius Gomes and pianist Helio Alves, bring an intimate understanding of Lopes’ musical vision. The rhythmic foundation is provided by drummer Ari Hoenig, while saxophonist John Ellis adds a layer of bouncy, lyrical melodic lines, together creating what Lopes calls the “strong, rhythmic New York sound.”

“Algures” paints sonic portraits inspired by specific locations dear to Lopes, such as the exhilarating opener “Antalya,” which captures the essence of the Turkish city through thrilling rhythmic interplay and soaring solos. “Famara” seamlessly intertwines Berber culture and Afro-Brazilian samba, invoking a Canary Island beach with its supple, springy groove.

Delving into his roots, Lopes reflects on his earliest musical memories in Brazil, where wind-borne low frequencies from percussion band rehearsals captivated him. These mysterious sounds became a beacon, leading him to the bass and eventually to London at the age of 18, marking the beginning of a decades-long journey through Europe and the U.S.

The track “De Longe,” translating to “from far away,” becomes a dramatic arc reflecting Brazil and European influences. Personal arrangements of Wayne Shorter’s “Infant Eyes” and Milton Nascimento’s “Outubro” further enrich the album, paying homage to musical luminaries who shaped Lopes’ artistic vision.

“Percussionist Rogerio Boccato contributes what Lopes calls ‘a tribal element from Brazil'” on tracks like “Antalya,” “The Fortress,” “Famara,” and “Barrinha,” infusing the album with a nuanced tribal essence that melds seamlessly with the ensemble’s sensitivity.

Masterfully recorded by Grammy-winning engineer Marc Urselli at EastSide Sound Recording, “Algures” promises listeners an immersive experience, capturing every twist and turn of Gili Lopes’ global musical expedition.

1. Antalya | 2. De Longe | 3. Infant Eyes | 4. Yalla (| 5. The Fortress | 6. Famara | 7. Outubro | 8. Barrinha

Gili Lopes – Double bass | John Ellis – Saxophone | Ari Hoenig – Drums | Vinicius Gomes – Guitar | Helio Alves – Piano | Rogerio Boccato – Percussion (1, 5, 6, 8)

Release Date: 12 January 2024
Format: CD | LP | Streaming
Label: Self Release

Last modified: December 11, 2023