All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Live Reviews

7

Rodrigo Amado, Joe McPhee, Kent Kessler, Chris Corsano, live at Bimhuis Amsterdam

Henning Bolte By

Sign in to view read count
Rodrigo Amado, Joe McPhee, Kent Kessler, Chris Corsano
Bimhuis
Amsterdam
March 8, 2017

As part of a European tour through nine countries, the Portuguese-North American configuration of Lisbon tenor saxophonist Rodrigo Amado, multi-instrumentalist Joe McPhee (saxophones, trumpet, didgeridoo), bassist Kent Kessler from Chicago, and young drummer Chris Corsano also from New York, finally made its first appearance at Amsterdam Bimhuis. Many will associate these musicians with something like 'raucous free jazz.' The unit's debut album entitled This Is Our Language (Not Two Records, 2015), scores high on 2015 best- of-lists and alludes to Ornette Coleman's programmatic album This Is Our Music from 1961. The music reveals that Coleman is an important influence that has been deeply absorbed and led these musicians into their very own attack and tactics.

The music of the album is motivic and progresses episodically on a vertical and horizontal axis with remarkable rapid switches between episodes and modes of playing—for example speeding up parts heavily culminating at one end and serene parts spreading out at the other. Thus the music can be highly driven at one moment and deeply tranquil at the next. What matters is the way these switches or transitions emerge, are brought about, and are felt as a unity, as part of an underlying thread. It is clearly different from a jump-cut technique or montage. Here the musicians operate in different spheres that nourish each other, are brought together through sustain or quick turns at the right moment in the musician's interplay and its captivating dynamics. The music does not lean on pedal points or repeated returns to a tonal centre. It is left open without losing coherence.

It can, for example, sound quite bluesy, like in the opening piece "The Primal Word," without falling into the common blues pattern. For a live performance this offers a lot of chances and possibilities with these exquisite, strong musicians. Joe McPhee, a thoroughly truthful and sincere voice, is the daring transversal being a master of amazing multiphonics. Kent Kessler can arouse heavy bass rumbles as well as serve all kinds of microtonal shadings and Chris Corsano is an immensely differentiated and driving drummer who carves great relief contours. The concert should reveal a great rapport between those four musicians.

When drummer Chris Corsano started the first piece with rolling swirls, providing a textural carpet and propelling drive, the association "raucous free jazz" immediately seemed to be confirmed, raising the question where it would go. Tenorist Rodrigo Amado commenced with a Von Freeman kind of tone. He blew a clear motivic line of increasing density. It drifted to a melting point where Joe McPhee's sparkling soprano came in carrying it beyond a horizon with chimeric contours arising, contours that eventually materialized and sharpened through mutual confluence of the four instruments' spectral sounds. At other moments motivic lines piled up to fascinating shapes that crumbled and mutated into different gestalt leading into a different energy field and mode of playing. It varied from a stretch of drone music (with McPhee on didgeridoo), to something of a ballad quality shining through or a tranquil, slowly moving part spreading out in space. All these modes emerged from solid, coherent and surprising transitions, fed from a fertile deeper ground and carried by a special spherical garment. These three magicians, however, never got lost in a single mode. Again and again there were remarkable transitions, transitions that had a transcendental quality in the sense that the music entered into and switched between heterogeneous realms flowingly thereby also transcending common tactics used in free jazz.

These four musicians indeed spoke their very own language. It turned out that extraordinary forces were at work, creating music of great clarity, concentration, confluence and transcendence. Together with certain rawness it yielded an oceanic quality, its transatlantic mark. The Bimhuis concert was a memorable and delightful concert—memorable not only in terms of intensity, momentum and convincing coherence, but even in terms of long resonating episodes.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

CD/LP/Track Review
Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
A History Of Nothing

A History Of Nothing

Trost Records
2018

buy
Desire & Freedom

Desire & Freedom

NotTwo Records
2017

buy
The Attic

The Attic

NoBusiness Records
2017

buy
This Is Our Language

This Is Our Language

Not Two Records
2015

buy
The Freedom Principle

The Freedom Principle

NoBusiness Records
2014

buy
Wire Quartet

Wire Quartet

Clean Feed Records
2014

buy

Related Articles

Read Ayn Inserto Jazz Orchestra at the Lilypad Live Reviews
Ayn Inserto Jazz Orchestra at the Lilypad
by Doug Hall
Published: November 19, 2018
Read 48th Annual Pitt Jazz Seminar Live Reviews
48th Annual Pitt Jazz Seminar
by Mackenzie Horne
Published: November 18, 2018
Read Martin Lesch Band  at The Jazz Corner Live Reviews
Martin Lesch Band at The Jazz Corner
by Martin McFie
Published: November 18, 2018
Read The Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra at Greer Cabaret Theater Live Reviews
The Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra at Greer Cabaret Theater
by Mackenzie Horne
Published: November 15, 2018
Read Enjoy Jazz 2018 Live Reviews
Enjoy Jazz 2018
by Henning Bolte
Published: November 14, 2018
Read Jazz for all Ages Live Reviews
Jazz for all Ages
by Martin McFie
Published: November 14, 2018
Read "Enjoy Jazz 2018" Live Reviews Enjoy Jazz 2018
by Henning Bolte
Published: November 14, 2018
Read "Brilliant Corners 2018" Live Reviews Brilliant Corners 2018
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 3, 2018
Read "Kurt Rosenwinkel at Chris’ Jazz Café" Live Reviews Kurt Rosenwinkel at Chris’ Jazz Café
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: January 2, 2018
Read "Black Flower at Moriska Paviliongen" Live Reviews Black Flower at Moriska Paviliongen
by Patrick Burnette
Published: February 24, 2018