I took a walk to the café—Lisbon was stubborn with the sun in February but free and easy with it today—and to the Museu Do Fado, and through some of the old Moorish (hence narrow and winding) streets of Alfama (where I live now) I might have entered more tentatively had I not visited the medinas of Tangier and Fes which make Alfama walk like a broad boulevard by comparison, and to a store to buy a soap dish for my shower stall, and to the Tourismo for an events listing for April, in which I read about the jazz festival ending tonight at Teatro São Luiz. I walked there too.Is there any artistry greater that that of a really good jazz drummer? Let’s say he—Alexandre Frazão, in this case—can strike a cymbal in eight different spots, with ten different points of his drumstick, brushes, or hands, with 12 different approaches with his wrists and arms, and 80 different intensities, in any number of tempos—all of this multiplied by four cymbals, and four more for the drums—and swing the whole time, always in the service of the ensemble (a guitar quartet tonight, fronted by André Fernandes, with vocal) . . . I tell you, Alexandre was worth the price of admission. The rest of the group could play too, though the vocals were not as strong.
Same thing with the next band, Ficções. Sensational drummer named Carlos Miguel. The fado at the Museau this afternoon was a little tired, but man, tonight’s jazz, these two Portuguese bands, was plenty hot.
In the look-alike department, think hockey play-by-play guy Jim Hughson for Alexandre, and a cross between Canucks head coach John Tortorella and Queen’s Freddy Mercury for Carlos.