Biography of the Orquestra Jazz de Matosinhos on the release of Lee Konitz-Ohad Talmor Big Band: Portology (OmniTone 15217)
Created in 1999 with the support of Matosinhos Town Hall, the Orquestra Jazz de Matosinhos has gradually gained its place among the most dynamic orchestras in the Portuguese jazz panorama. Directed by Carlos Azevedo and Pedro Guedes and constituted by some of the best jazz musicians in the north of Portugal, the orchestra has sought to create its own repertoire as well as organize specific projects with invited soloists and maestros of international renown.
Among these, the closing ceremony for Porto Jazz Festival 2001 stands out, performing pieces ordered from Portuguese composers and with the participation of Ingrid Jensen, Bob Berg and Conrad Herwig. In the following year, together with the Remix Ensemble, they recreated a masterpiece by the Miles Davis/Gil Evans duo – Sketches of Spain – conducted by maestro Stephan Ashbury. In 2003, Carla Bley returned to conduct her pieces at the concerto Festival Obra Aberta (Casa da Música), which also saw the participation of Steve Swallow and Gary Valente.
Other special guests in 2004 and 2005 were Mark Turner and Rich Perry, as well as Dieter Glawischnig, maestro-director of the NDR Big Band, with Chris Cheek as the main soloist for OJM at a number of concerts and in a CD released at the start of the year by Fresh Sound New Talents, which also counted with the performances of Bert Joris, Frank Vaganée and Jordi Rossi.
As the highpoint of this increasing activity in Portugal, which is now spreading abroad, a brief word regarding concerts held all over the country and also in Spain and the invitation sent to the saxophone player Lee Konitz — one of jazz’s giants — to play in a series of concerts and to record an album, Portology, on OmniTone and in which, under the direction of Ohad Talmor, OJM interprets a few classic pieces and a few unreleased pieces by the great master Konitz.
Finally, diversifying its activities, 2007 will also see OJM developing five specific projects dedicated to the repertoire of an equal number of composers and arrangers of note, the first of which will take place in March, with selected works by Thad Jones and Bob Brookmeyer.
[Visit the website of the Orquestra Jazz de Matosinhos at www.ojm.pt. ]