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Album Review

Rodrigo Amado This Is Our Language Quartet: Let The Free Be Men


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Rodrigo Amado This Is Our Language Quartet: Let The Free Be Men
If you are not hip to Portuguese saxophonist Rodrigo Amado, where, as they say, have you been? He has garnered acclaim for many years now, with his own Motion Trio, Lisbon Improvised Players, The Wire Quartet, Luís Lopes' Humanization 4tet, and in duos with Chris Corsano and trios with Kent Kessler and Paal Nilssen-Love. If, though, you are new to Amado, This Is Our Language Quartet with Kessler, Corsano and the doyen of free jazz Joe McPhee is the most advisable place to start.

Let The Free Be Men follows History of Nothing (Trost, 2018), both recorded on a 2017 tour, and the self-titled studio recording This Is Our Language (Not Two Records, 2015). What is unmistakable about these recordings is the egoless nature of the presentation. That fact is unsurprising given the line-up. Kessler's bass has anchored the bands of Ken Vandermark, Mars Williams, and Peter Brötzmann, and Corsano can be heard with Nate Wooley, Dave Rempis, and Bill Orcutt. Plus, the perfect ally in any freely improvised ensemble might just be Joe McPhee. He just makes everything better.

On the opening track "Resist!," after Corsano and Kessler set the stage with a surge of energy, Amado's tenor saxophone and McPhee's pocket trumpet first, then soprano saxophone, enter into a dialogue. Not so much a back-and-forth, as a construction, each player adding a building block to the ever intensifying sound. The title track eases off the accelerator, highlighting Amado's ability to apply a delicate nuance with his horn, mixing a mostly quiet overblown (not an oxymoron) horn with an economy of notes. As the track heats up, all four musicians pour accelerants onto the fire.

"Men Is Woman Is Man" begins with the didgeridoo sound of McPhee's pvc pipe and the intermittent pizzicato pluck of Kessler's bass, before the track opens into a chattering bowed bass and McPhee switching to pocket trumpet. The four engage in a spiral of musical agitation, as if in a frenzied search for equilibrium. Finally, "Never Surrender" begins as a very cautious blues, with McPhee's pocket trumpet hunting for conspirators. Cue Amado's ignition and a breathtaking flight on tenor saxophone, with Corsano, and Kessler fueling the flames, only to invite McPhee back again, this time on soprano. Like a rollercoaster ride the G-forces present may pin you to your seat.

Track Listing

Resist!; Let The Free Be Men; Men Is Woman Is Man; Never Surrender.


Rodrigo Amado: saxophone; Joe McPhee: woodwinds; Kent Kessler: bass, acoustic; Chris Corsano: drums.

Album information

Title: Let The Free Be Men | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: Trost Records

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