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Rodrigo Amado Motion Trio + Jeb Bishop: The Flame Alphabet

Eyal Hareuveni By

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The collaboration between the prolific Portuguese saxophonist Rodrigo Amado and his Motion Trio with Chicagoan trombonist Jeb Bishop, has produced two albums so far. The live recording, Burning Live At Jazz AO Centro (JACC Records, 2012) and the 2011 studio recording The Flame Alphabet. The addition of Bishop to Amado's trio was organic. Both are experienced improvisers who worked and led high-octane outfits. Amado collaborated and led bands with American trumpeter Dennis Gonzalez, with Chicagoan bassist Kent Kessler and Norwegian drummer Paal Nilssen-Love and the different incarnations of the Lisbon Improvisation Players. Bishop played with the Vandermark 5 and Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet and led his own bands as The Engines.

The studio recording enables the Amado Motion Trio with Bishop to present their shared approach— powerful and spirited free jazz, over five improvised pieces, credited to all musicians. The interaction between Amado and Bishop is immediate, urgent and natural. Both burst with ideas, reflect, complement and challenge each others articulations in a matter of seconds, keeping the level of intensity high even on the spare segments. Cellist Miguel Mira functions as a bassist and rarely bows the cello while the propulsive drumming of Gabriel Ferrandini anchors the busy, energetic motion in flexible rhythmic framework.

There are varaitions within the typical energetic mode of operation of this ad-hoc quartet, as captured on the opening piece, "Burning Mountain." The interplay between Amado and Bishop on the title piece is lyrical and reserved, following the open-ended rhythmic envelope. "First Light" changes its course in sudden turms, from the fractured, talkative blows of Bishop to dense and intricate solo turns by Amado, Mira and Bishop and culminates in a powerful eruption of the quartet. "Into The Valley" is a set of contemplative, spare sonic searches that matures to a nervous dialogue of Amado and Bishop and an explosive conclusion of the whole quartet. The last piece, "The Healing," is a concise, emotional reflection on the emphatic camradrie between these four expressive musicians.

This excellent quartet has only begun to explore its promising potential as a working band.

Track Listing: Burning Mountain; The Flame Alphabet; burning Light' Into The Valley; The Healing.

Personnel: Rodrigo Amado: saxophone; Jeb Bishop: trombone; Miguel Mira: cello; Gabriel Ferrandini: drums.

Title: The Flame Alphabet | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: NotTwo Records


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