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Rodrigo Amado: The Abstract Truth

Mark Corroto By

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Rodrigo Amado: The Abstract Truth Saxophonist Rodrigo Amado, bassist Kent Kessler, and drummer Paal Nilssen-Love is an international trio featuring players from Portugal, United States and Norway, respectively. But on its second recording, The Abstract Truth, the assemblage speaks the same language; its mother tongue being hard-hitting, concise improvisation.

This disc follows the Teatro (European Echoes, 2006), the trio's very first meeting. Where the previous disc was wide-ranging, barbarous, and marked by lengthy pieces, the music here is more concise, with most tracks in the five-to-seven minute range.

Amado—a rising star in Europe heard recently with Dennis Gonzalez' Yells At Eels Trio on The Great Bydgoszcz Concert (Ayler, 2009) and with Taylor Ho Bynum, John Hebert, and Gerald Cleaver on Searching For Adam (Not Two, 2009)—always seems to be in good company when he records, and The Abstract Truth is no exception. Kessler and Nilssen-Love are, by now, old hands at this type of affair. Kessler, of Vandermark 5 and Peter Brötzmann fame, and Nilssen-Love is the drummer of choice for Brotzmann, Mats Gustafsson and Ken Vandermark, to name just a few of the many bands to which each of these players contributes.

The disc opens with "Intro/The Red Tower," balancing the subtle with the explosive. Amado's tenor keeps the lid on the ever-simmering drummer by slow and deliberate lines. The tension within each composition is the attraction here. All three have an awareness of the music making the task at hand keeping these improvised musical pieces, well, musical.

Nilssen-Love is a master of propulsion. Be it with his tom-toms or simple sticks on metal, he is always driving, commenting, and chiding his mates. The music, although not scripted, is structured and organized, but not just Kessler's time-keeping bass but all three players. When Amado takes up a baritone saxophone on "Universe Unmasked," the normally stodgy sound is whipped through its paces by Kessler's force and Nilssen-Love's unrelenting pace. And Amado is game, chasing the pulse and barking out chorus after chorus of bottom filled notes; a real muscular flexing exercise.

Elsewhere the trio delivers the ballad-like "A Dream Transformed" and the dreamy "Enigma Of The Arrival," a sparse meditation piece. More beguiling and captivating music.


Track Listing: Rodrigo Amado: tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone; Kent Kessler: doublebass; Paal Nilssen-Love: drums.

Personnel: Intro/The Red Tower; Clouds And Shadows; Human Condition; The Kiss; Universe Unmasked: A Dream Transformed; The Enchanted Room; Enigma Of The Arrival.

Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: European Echoes | Style: Modern Jazz


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