Photo credits: Belgrade Jazz Festival / Stanislav Milojković
Sextet Axes is led by Portuguese saxophonist and composer João Mortágua. On the jazz scene since the mid-2000s, Mortágua worked with various Portuguese musicians of his age as well as with older ones, too. His septet with classmates at ESMAE won the 2007 Festa do Jazz do São Luiz Award for Best Student Ensemble (with two awards for soloists, vibraphonist Lucía Martínez and trumpeter Susana Santos Silva).
So far, he has recorded two albums as leader, Janela (2014) and Mirrors (2017). He presented his latest project Axes (2017) to members of the European Jazz Network at the 2018 Annual Conference in Lisbon. The previous year Mortágua received the RTP/Jazz Festival Award as Musician of the Year. The direct association with the Axes saxophonist quartet is the famous American World Saxophone Quartet, especially because of its genre-eclectic repertoire. But the two drummers in the band make all the difference – by adding rhythms of New Orleans parade ensembles and hip-hop energy to the sound, they inspire critics to compare them with Steven Bernstein’s celebrated Sex Mob quartet. With this concert, the Festival continues to present the Portuguese scene, one of the most exciting in European jazz today.