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Rodrigo Amado: This Is Our Language

John Sharpe By

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The title of Portuguese saxophonist Rodrigo Amado's latest offering pays unmistakable homage to the late Ornette Coleman. This Is Our Music (Atlantic, 1961) constituted one of Ornette's uncompromising early manifestos, while In All Languages (Caravan of Dreams, 1987) served to reveal both the differences and the similarities between his classic quartet and the electric Prime Time band. Although the music on this selection of five unfettered inventions bears little overt relationship to Coleman's oeuvre (even his seminal Free Jazz contained composed themes) there is one more link.

Joining Amado on the front line, Joe McPhee brings not only his alto saxophone, but also his pocket trumpet to the party. One of his formative influences was Coleman's partner-in-crime trumpeter Don Cherry who inspired him to take up the diminutive brass. And unusually it is the latter axe that he majors on for most of the session. McPhee also shares history with drummer Chris Corsano, with who he has toured and recorded, as well as bassist Kent Kessler via tenure in Peter Brötzmann's Chicago Tentet. Unusually for a one-off date, Amado takes full advantage of the instrumental combinations available to him. As well as two trio cuts, even the full group numbers break down into smaller subunits.

As with previous outings which have featured trombonist Jeb Bishop and trumpeter Peter Evans, Amado proves an accomplished foil and revels in the resultant interplay. As if to demonstrate what they might have in mind by the album title the two horns engage in an exchange of extemporized melodicism at the start of "The Primal Word." Amado's breathy tenor circles and soars with McPhee's sweet and sour alto. Spacious and transparent without drums, the piece continues via two further duets, as each of the horns takes turns to spar with Kessler's muscular bass promptings.

Corsano propounds conversational drums on the title track. He pitches different elements of his kit against a cantering gait in a brief solo, before McPhee's trumpet squiggles rub up against Amado's squalling and lower register honking. A strong connection exists between Corsano's roiling drums and Amado's gruff motifs. That's confirmed on "Theory Of Mind" for Amado with the rhythm section, which commences with a sprightly tenor/drums double act, before Amado concludes his exhortations in an overblown stream, baying at the moon. Like much of this record, it's a sign of a tenacious stance that Ornette would have understood.

Track Listing: The Primal Word; This Is Our Language; Theory Of Mind (For Joe); Ritual Evolution; Human Behavior.

Personnel: Rodrigo Amado: tenor saxophone; Joe McPhee: pocket trumpet, alto saxophone; Kent Kessler: double bass; Chris Corsano: drums.

Title: This Is Our Language | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Not Two Records


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