"The title of this album, Escape and Return, serves as an appropriate illustration of the music that is performed by these two master musicians from Portugal, guitarist Fernando Guiomar and Paulo Chagas on flute, sopranino clarinet, bass clarinet and alto saxophone. The music is an escape from strict composition, musical styles and conventions, yet at the same time, it is also a return to what is arguably the core of musical creation, the instant composition.
The ten tracks on this album are just that, instant compositions. These arose at a single recording session at Paulo Chagas' studio at the seaside town of Peniche in January 2014. The original plan was to play duos of early music and some 20 th century music, but their passion for musical invention took this collaboration elsewhere. Goodbye compositions, hello improvisation. Before hitting the recording button, Chagas and Guiomar briefly discussed basic musical concepts or directions, before leaving the rest to creativity and an impressive dose of musicianship.
This is readily apparent in "Nau dos Corvos", where the open dialogue between Guiomar's unorthodox slide playing, scratching and percussive hits to the guitar on the one hand and Chagas' immediate, yet thoughtful, dynamic responses on the other, illustrate the complimentary respectfulness these fine musicians show each other.
The initially repetitious nature of "Protest Song" may remind more than one listener of the minimalist composers of the 60's and 70's, but only a minute or so later, we find ourselves in a different musical landscape. The piece now breathes expressionism and openness only to move into a section of lyrical interplay that references both the previous sections.
This openness is typical of the dynamic duo, who typically met for the first time at a prog festival more than ten years ago. Although Chagas and Guiomar have two distinct personalities musically and privately, both of them share a background as conservatory educated musicians, a love of improvisation and a passion for working within a wide array of musical styles such as art music, jazz, fusion, rock and folk music.
This music oozes style and elegance and the confidence that comes off Paulo Chagas and Fernando Guiomar reeks of so much positive attitude and high definition that it will simply roll you over!"
"Their paths interlock on the clear strong plucks of the guitar strings and incisive flute work. Tension rises between their notes, dynamics and dissonances, arpeggios and articulations, it's in the empty spaces that so much can happen - and does. "
Paul Acquaro in The Free Jazz Collective