O Exílio is Portuguese pianist João Paulo's debut within the trio format. Joining him are bassist Carlos Bica and well-respected American avant-jazz saxophonist Peter Epstein. The album that results is heavily dominated by Paulo and Epstein, with both of them trading places in the spotlight, all the time well supported by the undercurrent of Bica's bass. The music is a blend of smooth jazz and classical styles, mostly consisting of a palatable mix of lively melodic runs and slower, more introspective sections. Epstein's sax soars, especially when the bell-like tones of his soprano are present; his instrument evokes the spirit of his home town, New York City, bringing forth images of rainy days in Central Park, most notably in the melancholy "Certeza." Even during the album's faster pieces Paulo always shows a light touch and provides the essential energy that keeps things moving. His compositions are not always perfectly balanced between the three players, but overall he has produced a pleasant and worthwhile first album for this group.
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AllMusic Review by Stacia Proefrock