Double bass player and composer Carlos Bica is one of the most prolific and innovative Portuguese sound artists and has been a consistent presence on the European Jazz scene. Known for his lyrical tone on the double bass, Bica has the rare ability to write melodies that essentially are songs without words, haunting and unforgettable. Among the several musical projects he leads along with various theatre, film and dance projects, his trio AZUL with Frank Möbus and Jim Black become his showcase as a bass player and composer. For more than twenty years Carlos Bica’s AZUL has fascinated its listeners.
“The music of Carlos Bica is exciting, modern, and contagious. Bica is an attentive listener of the outside world – from which his modernity derives- and an innate songwriter. He interprets the world and plays it in melodies that we can hum or sing. In his compositions we find fragments of things that only our subconscious recognizes, but expressed in such a form that they come to light in an absolutely natural and obvious way. Nothing has to do with any form of pastiche or is a result of copy/ paste process; instead it is an evident form of story telling made of daily experiences that in a strange way we recognize.”
– All Jazz, Leonel Santos
Carlos Bica has performed at many of the major music festivals in Europe, Canada, and Asia and has collaborated with musicians Ray Anderson, Kenny Wheeler, Aki Takase, Kurt Rosenwinkel, John Zorn, Maria João, Alexander von Schlippenbach, Lee Konitz, Mário Laginha, Mathias Schubert, Claudio Puntin, João Paulo Esteves da Silva, Gebhard Ullmann, Paolo Fresu, David Friedman, John Ruocco, Daniel Erdmann, DJ Illvibe among others. Among important and inspiring authorities of the Portuguese musical tradition with whom Carlos Bica has performed and recorded rank such names as – Carlos do Carmo, José Mário Branco, Camané, Pedro Caldeira Cabral, Cristina Branco and Janita Salomé.
“Bica writes hauntingly beautiful, starkly simple melodies filled with melancholy and sweet nostalgia. That moment when the group improvisation turns into a simple unison melody of piano, bass clarinet and bass is magic, a ravishing folk like tune rises from the abstraction and lifts the whole piece to a new emotional level. This in microcosm is the way the whole of ESSENCIA works. The mood and feel Bica’s compositions, indeed of his musical personality, seems to have taken over these recording sessions and created a unity that is rare in „free“ music. The final result is a magical recording, different than most anything I’ve heard before, and once again bringing the secret of melodic beauty back to free improvisation. Hearing ESSENCIA is like discovering Charlie Haden for the first time.”
– Cadence Magazine, Phillip McNally