Afonso Pais isn’t simply a promising young guitarist of the Portuguese jazz scene; he is above all an outstanding composer and thorough musician. Nevertheless he is part of the young crop that has turned up in the last 10 to 15 years, in this country.
The most outstanding thing about Terranova is the freshness contained in each composition and the rapport that is apparent in the trio’s interplay. Also apparent is the conviction with which Afonso strikes each single note, without hesitating; as if he where dealing with simply one more CD, belonging to a prolific dynasty of creations. He seems certain of the path he wishes to follow, a rare example of maturity.
The intention behind Terranova is to invoke in the listener places already visited by the musician, but also to invent new and unexpected sceneries. Nevertheless these compositions are structured upon jazz and song idioms, as a search in spontaneity and the unperdictable. There is also a search for organic elements, a non-verbal tribute to different cultural ties that find in music a common denominator. Terranova finds its form in the syntax of the jazz idiom.
This is Afonso Pais’ first album with the participation of Carlos Barretto and Alexandre Frazão, two renowned musicians in the Portuguese scene and also includes an introductory text by Edu Lobo.
In 1995 Pais begins his studies at the “Hot Clube Jazz School” and is chosen to represent this institution at the 8th “International Association of Schools of Jazz” that took place in Sienna, Italy, in 1997.
In the summer of 1998 he is invited by Erik Moseholm to participate as the first Portuguese representative in a project entitled “E.J.Y.O.” (“European Jazz Youth Orchestra”), where the most talented artists are invited to form a Big Band, chosen from a total of 19 European nations. He travels with this project throughout Europe, east and west. There are two available recordings published by the Danish label “Dacapo”, recorded live in Stockholm and Berlin: “The European Jazz Youth Orchestra 1998” - Vol. 1 / 2. Both recordings highlight him as a soloist.
He is awarded with a complete scholarship to “Berklee College of Music”, in Boston but instead decides to go to the US to study at the “New School University / Mannes College of Music”, in NY where he graduates with a degree in the “Performance” course, belonging to the “Jazz and Contemporary Music” program (December 2000). There he has the opportunity to study with Buster Williams, Joe Chambers, Charles Tolliver, Andrew Cyrille, Hal Galper, Joanne Brackeen or the guitar players Peter Bernstein, Kurt Rosenwinkel and Vic Juris, performing with Peter Bernstein, George Benson, Jack McDuff, Ben Waltzer, Chris Higgins, Willie Jones III and Dr. Lonnie Smith.
Between 2001 and 2003 he splits his professional activities between Lisbon and NY, obtaining a permanent visa, due to the fact of being considered an exceptional student in the US and also as a consequence of being sponsored by some of the most outstanding, internationally renowned jazz artists. During this period he works as a sideman with various musicians. At the same time he develops two original projects: Experimentália (Global Music Experimental Project – alongside with Joana Machado) and Terranova.
Throughout these years Terranova has established contacts with the following musicians: Peter Bernstein, Peter Zak, Perico Sambeat, Marc Miralta, Chris Higgins, Albert Sanz, Alexis Cuadrado, Carlos Barretto and Alexandre Frazão. This project has been performed in trio or quartet format (including an invited artist) in various contexts.
After returning to Portugal he has also been teaching at the “Escola Superior de Música e Artes do Espectáculo” (Music and Performing Arts School / Oporto), at the “Conservatório de Música da Madeira” (Music Conservatory of Madeira), and at the “Escola Luís Villas Boas / Hot Clube de Portugal (Luís Villas Boas School / Hot Clube Portugal).