COMPOSER - VIOLIST - IMPROVISER
The improbable is the dimension and the substratum of this “concept” that articulates the conventional with the disruptive, the formal with the eccentric, the epic with the baffling, the profound with the volatile.
This laughter-music intends to be, and presents itself, as a “caricature of comedy itself”, insofar as it modifies, imitates, exaggerates and, finally, denies a reality, premises of any comedian. The laughter-music, finally, as a «social gesture» (Bergson, again), constituting the first work of philharmonic jazz in Portugal. It could have been pompous, but it's fun. Who would have thought, in times as gray as these...
Rui Eduardo Paes, revista jazz.pt
"Trégua" is melodically a more open album, which does not fail to be deconstructed with jazz elements or classical music tools. José Valente is a non-aligned artist who has discovered an original path for his music.
Miguel Halpern, Jornal de Letras, Artes e Ideias.
The award-winning Portuguese composer and musician José Valente has long stood out for the way he has pushed the boundaries of so-called erudite music, bringing his instrument of choice, the viola de arco, (...) "Trégua", a disruptive album , for the way it combines improvisation and contemporaneity with the supposedly more formatted reality of a philharmonic band. Composed of seven acts that wander through “a multiplicity of references” (...).
Miguel Judas, revista Visão.
A lot of ground is covered by the seven pieces, from the exuberance and exoticism of "A birra do Gaspar" to the still feverish recollection of "Naquele instante o Galo cantou: introdução", in which the viola is left alone. In the articulation between reflections of Portuguese popular music and the rigors of contemporary composition, there are moments that bring Joly Braga Santos and Fernando Lopes-Graça to the sound conversation, with room for improvisation.
Jorge Manuel Lopes, Jornal de Notícias.
José Valente's new CD inserts the viola in a context that is particularly unusual (and, until now, unique in Portugal): a philharmonic band. This original record, in a seven-act lineup, reflects the well-known persistence of José Valente “in following a restless path, mapped by the constant discovery of new musical possibilities for his instrument”, as mentioned by himself.
Duarte Pereira Martins, revista Glosas.
"Trégua" is the first work for viola and wind orchestra, by José Valente. An unpredictable meeting between the musician and the Orquestra Filarmónica Gafanhense, directed by the prestigious saxophonist and conductor Henrique Portovedo, which results in an unprecedented moment in the history of our Portuguese music. (...) A job to be heard. A musician to follow closely.
Sara Quaresma Capitão, Mutante.pt
The artistic conception that Valente reveals to us in each work is a set of musical dividends, in which the space-time dimension gives way to emotional effervescence, reactive to the sonic stimulus, where poetry and literature interfere in the altercation between the classic and the avant-garde. The design of this new joint work with the Orquestra Filarmónica Gafanhense profoundly changes the context and goals of the viola, turning it into a disruptive journey, forgetting the limits of classical music.
Luís Grilo, Comunidade Cultura e Arte.
I'm delighted with "Trégua". Your creativity in combining styles and instruments knows no bounds. The familiar sound or theme erupts and then disappears in a whirlwind of sounds. Impressive reinvention of the philharmonic.
Boaventura de Sousa Santos
(...) It's brilliant! I love the parallelism with laughter. I would add: as a disruptive and subversive element, as Eco in "Nome da Rosa" enunciates, or as central element of mockery, provoked in a situation of dramatic mimicry of deviant behavior, as a conflict resolution process and, therefore, , of social reintegration/re-establishment, a common practice among the Mbuti pygmies. Laughter is joined by unforeseen incursions into improvisation, dissonances and the return, also unforeseen, to the places of memory that occupy the sounds of the philharmonic bands, cause us to feel restless, a frenzy that re-simulates in us what we can assume has been the creative process. Much more than a concert or an album, "Trégua" is a way of revisiting the musical tradition and re-encountering this kind of rhizome, the roots that emerge everywhere and insist on contradicting the crystallization and verticalization of culture. Trégua is a shared, participatory identity narrative built on roots in the form of a rhizome that sprout in all directions, aiming at the future.
Luís Garcia, cultural curator.
Undeniable quality and originality, a work of instrumental excellency that confirms the acute interpretative sense of José Valente.
Carlos Paredes 2019 Award Jury.
From the excellent violist and composer José Valente, “Embalo para Bernardo” is a beautiful moment that becomes decisive for the conclusion of the journey: phylogram percussion, sparse piano playing, powerful viola. A dense sleeping lullaby that Works like a suite, opening into different sections.
António Branco, jazz.pt.
“Embalo para Bernardo” comienza con la batería de Alexandre Frazao, envolvente y misteriosa. El piano ataca con leves notas, acompañado por la viola de José Valente, autor de la pieza, que semeja a un nocturno en homenaje a Bernardo Sassetti como una bella composición. Un tema lleno de diferentes ambientes muy sugerentes, vanguardistas, donde la viola se explaya. La parte final el piano vuelve a tomar la dirección, con la viola y el resto del grupo.
Carlos Lara, Tomajazz.com
“Serpente Infinita”, from violist (electric and eclectic) José Valente: amazing vanguard work that remembers Ana Hatherly, the great Portuguese modernist poet, calligrapher and visual artist.
Nuno Rogeiro, revista Sábado
José Valente either resolutely enters into the realm of contemporary music, in its more classical or sophisticated substance (yes, there are occasions that we think of Paganinni and Shostakovich, depending the performance or composition’s accent), either interiorizes characteristics from other musical styles.
Rui Eduardo Paes, jazz.pt
Valente's approach sometimes delicate, other times dramatically rough, reconciles the accuracy of classical music, the challenge of improvisation and the paramount energy of rock with the spoken word of Marta Bernardes, being the key to an intimate exploration between words and music.
António Branco, Diário do Alentejo.
This is what makes this record something of essential listening although it was released late 2018.
Duarte Fortuna, Threshold Magazine.
Your record is really well conceived and mostly very well played by you. Amazing several times. My sincerest congratulations.
António Pinho Vargas, awarded and renowned Portuguese composer.
The work of the viola goes from typical jazz phrasing to chamber music with space for improvisation, unedifying the boarders between one idiom and the other. In the meantime allusions to world music also appear, and if these seem extemporary, they constitute a humorous side that reliefs the dense wait of this album. Is this kind of distance, this ability of going away from the intrigue that is being constructed, evaluating it from outside, that a message of hope is born, and also transmitted by “The Birds are broken”. Conclusion, here it is a remarkable work from a musician that is being distinguished among us and that deserves the widest recognition.
Rui Eduardo Paes, Jazz.pt
Congratulations on your accomplishment! It is truly a major work - bold, moving, and beautiful, with an impact that grows and deepens throughout the course of its individual parts.
Howard Hersh, composer, about “Os Pássaros estão estragados”.
Right after there was José Valente’s concert, he is one of the best violist in the national scene that we can listen to, with an outstanding projection, as part of many national and international projects. His new album “Serpente Infinita” is predicted to be released this year.
His talent isn’t measurable, from themes that seemed more classical to accompaniments of contemporary elements, José Valente means versatility, ability and attractiveness. Throughout the entire show people would come to the basement of Arquipélago to witness the surprising sound of the Portuguese’s viola.
Duarte Fortuna, Threshold Magazine
(…) in what is one of the best cultural equipments of Açores, Arquipélago – Center for Contemporary Arts. It was there, in the basement, that a numerous audience could witness to the virtuosic session by José Valente, manipulating sometimes, or playing in a more classical sense, his viola (…)
Vítor Belanciano, Ípslon, Jornal Público.
In Arquipélago as well, Julius Gabriel and José Valente took us through the textures of the saxophone and viola, showing us besides their virtuosity in the performance of both instruments, the spaces that they find out through their experimentation, each one his own way, based on electronics and loops.
Miguel Fernandes Duarte, Comunidade Cultura e Arte.
I heard a highly trained artist with an insatiably inquisitive, creative mind. (…) Valente impressed me with his genuine passion for music and strong work ethic, qualities that will propel his continued growth.
Jason Kao Hwang, violinist and composer.
José Valente es uno de los violetistas portugueses con mayor proyección. (...) Considerado uno de los máximos investigadores de la música electrónica aplicada a la viola, Valente es capaz de convertir en un único estas dos realidades musicales tan dispares, algo para lo que es fundamental, dice, el rigor para conseguir el equilíbrio entre ambos. (...)
Ágatha dos Santos, journalist, Faro de Vigo.
The music of EXPERIENCES OF TODAY shows that José Valente has the potential to be an important force in jazz, both as a composer-arranger and as a viola soloist. It is a strong start to his career.
Scott Yanow, Author of several books about jazz.
I totally hear the earnestness of your intention and honesty in what you are playing. I really love that.
Daniel Levin, cellist, improviser.
It is very beautiful and powerful: power and poetry. Congratulations on this expansive canvas. I hope it has many performances, which it deserves.
Howard Hersh, composer, about José Valente’s piece “INVASION”
(…) the artist from Porto was able to enchant the audience and, above all, surprise it. He never lost the conviction on his playing, from the beginning to the end.
The mastery of José Valente is already well known by whoever has listen to his music (…)
Besides what he’s able to offer us through his music, Valente also surprises by his performance and body expressivity. Excited, he has danced and even jumped during a climax of the concert. (…) What happened was unusual: a intimate show lead by an instrument which is associated to the classical environment, but that has taken the audience to dark and happy places almost simultaneous (…)
Culturartmag, about the concert at Murmurando Cycle.
As arcadas do D. Dinis abrigaram, por sua vez, a performance do trio Incompleto, compreendendo este dois músicos, José Valente na viola e Sérgio Tavares no contrabaixo, e o actor Cláudio da Silva. Entre um avant-jazz camerístico muito bem tocado, não sendo possível discernir escrita e improvisação (factor necessariamente positivo), e uma récita de poesia, o que se escutou foi muito para lá de todas as expectativas. Grande projecto, este de prata da casa, Coimbra.
in "De Barriga Cheia" de Rui Eduardo Paes, Jazz.pt
José Valente’s viola seems to play for two instruments because of his dexterity. The music has echoed for several minutes and nothing else was there to be listened to. Who ever was around became silence to listen and even the street seemed to respected the melody.
Luís Belo, Musiquim.
What is worthy for the record, in my point of view, is the fact that José Valente is able to deliver us a major piece, capable of being appreciated by its own merits but, also, the fact that he puts the creative experience into discussion. This capacity isn’t very common nowadays and that’s the principal reason why “INVASION”, in its double dimension of both concert and conference results in a one of a kind show that surprise us in any moment.
José Miguel Pereira, Executive Producer of Jazz ao Centro Clube (JACC).
(…) the inauguration has counted with the brilliant performance by José Valente, who presented the audience with a surprising concept. Over a red carpet from the house, the viola player, took of his shoes and share the script of his concerts. He risked well by starting his performance with improvised melodies which are ‘practiced for many hours’. The old Sá Cortinas was a laboratory for the artist to capture the attention of the audience: with the feet, the hands or the head, everybody marked the rhythm.
Olga Costa, in Barcelos Popular, about the concert in “Resgate”.
Really emotional. When I listen to your playing it sounds very pure and powerful. Beautiful compositions.
Anu Junnonen, singer, composer and founder of bands like Anoo, NorthFace, The Caribous.
I was impressed and enthusiastic about your music-composition and performance.
Prof. Carl Djerassi, chemist, awarded author.
The title “Um Velho na Montanha” is excellent and your music is exciting. I’ll never be able to give back such a notable distinction represented by the notable piece that you created.
Fernando DaCosta, writer, about José Valente’s composition “Um Velho na Montanha” (A old man at the mountain)
In the other day, I sang a song by my uncle (Zeca Afonso) called “Cantar Alentejano” with José Valente. He is a fabulous musician and a remarkable person.
João Afonso in “O que seria José Afonso nos dias de hoje? Não sabemos.” “A Cabra” newspaper.
José Valente, the musician, was responsible for the entire musical creation, a authentic revivalism of classical music.
“Da matemática para o palco” by Ana Duarte and Mariana Santos Mendes in “A Cabra” newspaper.
With a “big violin”, or a viola, José Valente did amazing free incursions, commanded by his virtuosity.
Pedro Gonçalo Costa, CoMum, about the concert at the Festival Um ao Molhe.