Thursday, December 10, 2015

Rodrigo Amado - This Is Our Language (NotTwo, 2015)

Taking a cue from the classic Ornette Coleman album This Is Our Music, this album shares nearly the same configuration featuring leader Rodrigo Amado on tenor saxophone, Joe McPhee on alto saxophone and pocket trumpet, Kent Kessler on bass and Chris Corsano on drums. Developing themes with powerful free jazz, the music is deep and potent, beginning with “The Primal Word” which displays Kessler’s thick and strong bass playing and some very ripe saxophone over fast drumming. “This Is Our Language” opens with fast, complex and epic drumming as Corsano really pours his heart into the music followed by bass and McPhee’s brash and confident trumpet. Amado’s wild eyed saxophone leads the team into an whopping collective improvisation, led by McPhee’s herculean trumpet. Things quiet down to a series of long tones to the finish. A rattling saxophone, bass and drum opening powers “Theory Of Mind (For Joe).” There is fine pungent saxophone playing, complex drumming and Kessler mining a deep tributary of pure sound on bass. After a short drum solo Amado takes charge and the trio charges forth in their tribute to their bandmate McPhee, underscored by massive bass. “Ritual Evolution” is way open free jazz, unmoored in space and time. There are stabs of bowed bass and probing saxophone before McPhee enters like a prizefighter bobbing and weaving and throwing beautifully timed jabs of trumpet. Everyone comes to and equal footing and then the music begins to take flight, moving faster before finally leveling out in a rousing four way conversation. Roiling drums, bass and jabbing saxophone usher in “Human Behavior” in a driving fashion before McPhee enters the scene on trumpet, adding his unique voice to the proceedings. The group is able to stop on a dime to allow Kessler space for a much deserved bass solo, before regrouping and finishing the performance. This was an excellent album and it is clear that the four musicians had a deep empathetic feeling for the music and one another. To play in a free fashion as they did requires a great amount of confidence and trust in fellow bandmates and that was unequivocally represented on this album. This Is Our Language -

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