You might know Portugal’s Jorge Queijo from his work with fellow Porto-resident Susana Santos Silva in SSS-Q. They’ve been presenting their special blend of free jazz-experimental-electronic music since 2012.
Queijo’s solo output includes a new 16-minute cassette released at the end of November. Abstract Thoughts II is based on a separate partnership, with sculptor Sofia Beça.
Beça designed and created 30 ceramic pieces that each contain sand from the Middle East’s so-called Empty Quarter. The Rub al Khali desert, as it is formally known, stretches across Saudi Arabia, Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen, making it the world’s largest continuous sand desert. The oil-rich Rub al Khali is over 600 miles long and more than 300 miles wide.
Queijo improvised six solo piano works to accompany Beça’s sculptures. The first five are titled with simple Roman numerals. The final piece is called “Sand.”
The work is intense, even when its pace slows. Queijo performs with complete authority, daring us to follow. At times, his playing rumbles like a dark storm. In other sections, backmasking adds to the tape’s foreboding appeal.
Mostly though, this short recording stands out as a showcase for Queijo’s brilliant playing. He’s given us a remarkable performance.