Directions (Inner Circle Music)

João Barradas

Released January 30, 2017

DownBeat Four-and-a-Half-Star Review




Directions is João Barradas` first album as bandleader, released by Inner Circle Music (New York) and NISCHO (Lisbon) in 2017. Produced by the renowned Saxophonist Greg Osby it features guest appearances by Osby himself as well as Gil Goldstein and Sara Serpa. The recording brings together some of the finest Portuguese jazz musicians: João Paulo Esteves da Silve (piano), André Fernandes (guitar), André Rosinha (double bass) and Bruno Pedroso (drums).

This record is the first milestone for the accordionist with a post-bop aesthetic experience that features improvisation as its main ingredient. The 11 tunes point to different “directions” of modern jazz, but always highlighting the unique use of two very particular instruments – the acoustic and the midi accordion. As an improviser, Barradas has built up an impressive vocabulary ranging from Bebop and M-Base to classical music and contemporary classic.

Track Listing:

1. Expressive Idea featuring: Greg Osby 3:17

2. Letter To Mother’s Immersion 9:06

3. Varazdin’s Landscape 6:03

4. Unknown Identity featuring: Greg Osby 6:01

5. Amalgamat 5:46

6. Amalgamat (Outro) featuring: Sara Serpa 2:36

7. Tiling The Plane featuring: Gil Goldstein 3:49

8. Manners Of Normality 6:50

9. The Red Badge Of Courage 4:10

10. Homeric Hymn 5:33

11. Ignorance featuring: Greg Osby 5:24


João Barradas: accordion, midi accordion

André Fernandes: guitar

João Paulo Esteves da Silva: piano

André Rosinha: bass

Bruno Pedroso: drums

Greg Osby: saxophone (1, 4, 11)

Gil Goldstein: accordion (7)

Sara Serpa: vocals (6)

Recorded 2016, at Estúdios Vale de Lobos, Sintra, Portugal

Produced by Greg Osby

Recorded & engineered by José Diogo Neves

Mixed & mastered by Nélson Carvalho


One of the reasons João Barradas stands apart from the fairly slender ranks of virtuoso jazz accordionists is his taste for adventure. Concurrently, his roots are intact and entrenched in jazz and classical traditions, as well as other niches in the musical world where accordion is known to travel. We get a winning introduction to the young Portuguese dynamo on his aptly named debut album, Directions, a sensitive, open-minded, multi-directional and undeniably chops-endowed set of music.

Our first indication of venturesome thinking arrives at the outset, as Barradas spins off a philosophical essay on the fly. Alto saxophonist Greg Osby, also the album’s producer, lends his gymnastic, spidery instrumental voice to the mix on this track, titled “Expressive Idea,” and later cameos on “Unknown Identity” and the album’s finale, “Ignorance”—all tracks that lean into a more angular, harmonically exploratory zone. Poised balladic beauty is at hand on “Varazdin’s Landscape,” and elsewhere on the album, he latches on to an odd-metered Slavic folkloric groove for “Amalgamat” and nods to the Piazzolla-ish realm of nuevo tango on “The Red Badge Of Courage.”

Among Barradas’ many champions is Gil Goldstein, who embarks on a thrilling accordion duet with the younger player to the tune of Goldstein’s “Tiling The Plane,” loosely built off of the changes of “Giant Steps.” Here, as throughout Directions, the nimble young accordionist acquits himself like the new, true musical sensation his nascent reputation promises him to be.

Josef Woodard (DownBeat)