134

Rodrigo Amado: Motion Trio

Clifford Allen By

Sign in to view read count
Rodrigo Amado: Motion Trio Abstraction is too often both separated from and associated with improvised music. Either sounds are divorced from meaning outside themselves, or expected to tell some sort of story. Neither euphemism really works that well. But image is a central fact of Portuguese improviser Rodrigo Amado's work, whether referring to the representational or nonrepresentational—after all, in addition to being a tenor and baritone saxophonist, he's an accomplished photographer whose work takes on the angularity of Stephen Shore (see his Surface (European Echoes, 2007), dedicated to Shore) with a profoundly delicate, humanist approach (Shore: lived-in, Amado: lived). Furthermore, his father Manuel is a painter. Though one should be careful to draw too many direct lines between an artist's various mediums and projects, the comparison between Amado's visual artwork and his music is an interesting one to make.

It's not that the images are entirely depictive, nor are the tumbling, keening tenor phrases that recall a jollier Sonny Rollins or Archie Shepp. But there's a hungry liveliness amid the bustling contemporary whimsy of both Searching for Adam (a recent Amado exhibition of New York photos) and the saxophonist's music. Exclusively on tenor, he's joined on Motion Trio by cellist Miguel Mira and drummer Gabriel Ferrandini for six collective improvisations. In Amado's images, the consistent result is finding detail and personality in the bustling hodgepodge of modern life. Free improvisation can offer similarities—a tremendous wealth of activity sometimes in opposition, at other instances merging in perfect sync. But the expert improviser exhibits individuality and poise, as well as a structuring sense of detail.

"Language Call" opens the set, Amado's tenor recalling the West Indian lilt of Rollins or moments of Ornette Coleman's Ornette on Tenor (Atlantic, 1962), as Ferrandini produces dampened flits in loose micro-activity parallel to the leader's horn. Amado has a broad sound, gritty and searching amid pithy elaborations. Rather than the blowsy tenor approach aligned with post-Albert Ayler Europeans, cadent tension and declamatory repetition mark a phraseology fitting in a melodically stable, rhythmically free context. The use of a cello rather than bass in a supporting role is interesting, and gives the music fleetness amid a narrower range. "Testify!" exemplifies a somewhat laconic, syrupy approach at the outset, bluesy flecks and singsong particles splaying out and becoming hard-bitten as Ferrandini and Mira roll and hack in a decidedly event-oriented approach to rhythm. Given to a duo three minutes in, their wood and metal spar offer curious contrast to Amado's velvety punches.

The detailed activity of skittering European free improvisation is certainly here amid snare patter, muted and bashed gongs, and guttural cello thwack, but Amado's tenor playing is so earthy in its concreteness that the group's motion remains highly traditional even at its most explosive. Not a power trio in the usual sense, Amado, Mira and Ferrendini present a distinctive fluidity both prickly and warm in this series of inviting abstractions.


Track Listing: Language Call; Testify!; Radical Leaves; As We Move...; Ballad; In All Languages.

Personnel: Rodrigo Amado: tenor saxophone; Miguel Mira: cello; Gabriel Ferrandini: drums.

Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: European Echoes | Style: Free Improv/Avant-Garde


Shop

More Articles

Read A Dark and Stormy Day CD/LP/Track Review A Dark and Stormy Day
by Dave Wayne
Published: March 1, 2017
Read Pocono Git-Down CD/LP/Track Review Pocono Git-Down
by Edward Blanco
Published: March 1, 2017
Read Rímur CD/LP/Track Review Rímur
by Henning Bolte
Published: March 1, 2017
Read Schönbrunn CD/LP/Track Review Schönbrunn
by Tyran Grillo
Published: March 1, 2017
Read Northern Adventures CD/LP/Track Review Northern Adventures
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Collider CD/LP/Track Review Collider
by John Sharpe
Published: February 28, 2017
Read "Sets The Standard" CD/LP/Track Review Sets The Standard
by David A. Orthmann
Published: March 14, 2016
Read "Paris" CD/LP/Track Review Paris
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 16, 2016
Read "The Art of the Improv Trio Volume 1" CD/LP/Track Review The Art of the Improv Trio Volume 1
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 30, 2016
Read "High Noon" CD/LP/Track Review High Noon
by Anthony Shaw
Published: September 10, 2016
Read "Malamute" CD/LP/Track Review Malamute
by Glenn Astarita
Published: January 27, 2017
Read "Enter the Plus Tet" CD/LP/Track Review Enter the Plus Tet
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 8, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!