Home » Jazz Articles » Rodrigo Amado This Is Our Language Quartet: Let The Free Be Men

Album Review

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


Sign in to view read count
Rodrigo Amado This Is Our Language Quartet: Let The Free Be Men
Portuguese tenor saxophonist Rodrigo Amado adds another stunning entry to his discography with the third album from his This Is Our Language Quartet. It was actually recorded live in Copenhagen, three days before the outfit's second studio outing, A History Of Nothing (Trost, 2018) so, unsurprisingly, presents the same starry roster completed by multi-instrumentalist Joe McPhee, bassist Kent Kessler and drummer Chris Corsano. The resultant blend of spontaneous free jazz, by turns refined, beautiful, exhilarating, heart-rending and belligerent, remains similarly fulfilling.

The opener "Resist!" could serve as an introduction to the individuals in the group. It begins with Corsano's unaccompanied timbrally organized drums until he is joined by Kessler's voice-like bowed bass, in an arresting start which shows that drums and bass are as capable of the expressive heavy lifting as the horns. After a pause comes an acapella exchange between Amado's gruff tenor and McPhee's waspish pocket trumpet which highlights the chemistry between them. Then Kessler's insistent pizzicato levers them into full on momentum, and they are off with first Amado, channeling early Archie Shepp, then McPhee on soprano saxophone characteristically mixing the lyrical with the abstract, displaying their finery.

However this is a unit which handles the subtle textural interplay as adroitly as the full force conflagration. On the title track, a braiding of tenor saxophone split tones and arco harmonics ushers in a passage of searing beauty as McPhee and Amado trade extemporized melodies. "Men Is Woman Is Man" features restrained interchange of a different hue: McPhee utilizes a pvc pipe to establish a didgeridoo-type hum with vocalized growls, punctuated by sharp attacks from Kessler, setting the scene for a series of spiky alternations between smooth and crunchy.

One of the hallmarks of accomplished improvisers is their ability to fashion satisfying endings, rather than either just fizzling out or sudden edits or fades; each cut here constitutes a self-contained journey with a definite conclusion. That is also true of "Never Surrender," which after a reflective beginning builds to a pitch of sharp-elbowed skronk, before undergoing a gradual de-escalation to an agreed halt which could not be more elegant if it was notated, further demonstrating that this is one of the finest bands around.

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

Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.

Post a comment about this album



The Way of the Groove
Ben Patterson
Skopje Jazz Inc.
Existential Moments
Joe McPhee / John Edwards / Klaus Kugel


Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and includes upcoming jazz events near you.