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The Attic: Love Ghosts


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The Attic: Love Ghosts
Portuguese tenor saxophonist Rodrigo Amado maintains a busy recording schedule, involving dates with heavy-hitters like Joe McPhee, Alexander von Schlippenbach and Peter Evans, in addition to his own lineups, which do not always generate the same kind of buzz. One of his relatively under-recognized groups is The Attic, an outfit which includes bassist Gonçalo Almeida and drummer Onno Govaert. Their Summer Bummer (NoBusiness, 2019) was a superb live recording, putting the focus squarely on Amado, who is an excellent colleague and/or foil for folks like McPhee and Evans, but who clearly deserves his own spotlight as well, as Love Ghosts convincingly demonstrates.

Amado thrives in free-jazz contexts, letting his muse take him wherever it leads. And yet his disciplined, careful approach always astonishes, as his impressive control over his instrument is one of his most striking features. On these four, lengthy improvisations, each carves out space for adventure while at the same time retaining a lyrical sweetness that often emerges at surprising moments. The opener, "New Tone," is an ideal example. While Amado teases out a series of permutations over the low-boil surge of his partners, becoming gradually more animated as the track proceeds, he takes the piece briefly into fire-breathing territory, with barely-contained aggression; but the piece ends with some jaw-droppingly gorgeous, dusky reflections in a kind of soulful coda. Amado's range of expression is unrivalled, but even in his most explosive moments his approach never devolves into chaos. A musical logic always emerges.

Just as vital are Almeida and Govaert, who can transition seamlessly from freewheeling energy to swinging groove (and back). The deep resonance of Almeida's bass is the perfect companion for Amado in his moments of pensive restraint, but he can call up plenty of freneticism when it is needed. His restless intensity on "Encounter" helps to coax Amado into a more assertive temper, while his tuneful arco on "Love Ghosts" complements Amado's own tentative searchings. Govaert offers a panoply of percussive registers, always seeking to find synergy with his partners, providing propulsive bombast or supple support in equal measure, and even an occasional dose of funk as well. He expertly steers the trio into the mighty headwinds of the last portion of "Love Ghosts," easily the most hair-raising moments on the disc.

While Amado will no doubt continue to find willing partners among his fellow avant-garde luminaries, his trio recordings offer the most complete glimpse of his prowess, and Love Ghosts could be his best yet.

Track Listing

New Tone; Encounter; Love Ghosts; Outer Fields.


Rodrigo Amado
Gonçalo Almeida
bass, acoustic

Album information

Title: Love Ghosts | Year Released: 2022 | Record Label: NoBusiness Records

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