Friday, December 23, 2016

Rodrigo Amado Motion Trio - Desire and Freedom (NotTwo Records, 2016)

Saxophonist Rodrigo Amado’s Motion Trio with Miguel Mira on cello and Gabriel Ferrandini on drums has been together for many years, playing in their original format or welcoming guests like the trumpeter Peter Evans. They are a group of musicians of considerable power, reveling in the open spirit of dialogue, and developing independently within a shared musical context. The music on the opening track, “Freedom Is a Two-Edged Sword” is very nimble with pitched tweets and honks of saxophone that are in a three way conversation with powerfully disjointed percussion and the cello which adds a much different character to the music than would an upright bass. The music waxes and wanes like it’s flexing its muscles and the collective improvisation is very impressive. Amado digs in on saxophone, sending forth swirling and swelling gales of sound amidst the thicket of cello and percussion with excellent breadth and vision. Scattered plucked cello and percussion provide open space for the music to develop on “Liberty.” The group thrusts and parries making for an uneasy skittering and clanking soundscape with Amado’s saxophone adding long tones of air to the proceedings. The music is patient and probing, developing layers of densely textured and shifting sounds that make for a meditative improvisation which slowly gains in power before the mood shifts again, to a lighter feel of rapidly plucked cello, softer saxophone and barely audible percussion. “Responsibility” has emotional calls of saxophone, creating a spare setting that dramatizes the strong and dusky tone of Amado’s saxophone. As the music gains inexorable forward motion, the approach of the musicians does not dwell in the past, or consider the future, but instead concentrates on creating anew in the present moment. There is complex interaction among the trio as the music swells forward by firing on all cylinders: thick cello, deeply rhythmic drums and gale force saxophone. Time is taken for a very cool interlude for cello and percussion, which is free-ranging and expansive. Amado dives back and the music becomes a streaming collective improvisation that drives for the finish line. The music on this album is a multi-faceted improvised performance that evolves through various settings, and the music grows to be very exciting, becoming at times a muscular free jazz workout amidst three evenly matched musicians. The trio has a deep understanding of free jazz improvisation while also having the ability to lower the power for more subtle development. Desire and Freedom - Bandcamp

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