Sunday, October 25, 2015

Rodrigo Amado - This Is Our Language

Rodrigo Amado
This Is Our Language
Not Two Records

Rodrigo Amado – Tenor Saxophone
Joe McPhee – Pocket Trumpet, Alto Saxophone
Kent Kessler – Double Bass
Chris Corsano - Drums

This Is Our Language is a record of an engaging conversation between Amado and McPhee, with superb interjections from bassist Kessler and drummer Corsano. Of course, with musicians of this caliber, it’s really a four-way dialog, but it’s the interplay between the horns that first gets your attention. The CD begins with a murmured conversation between tenor and alto, then things heat up on the title track as McPhee switches to pocket trumpet. Amado has a grainy, almost R&B-influenced tone, while McPhee is as nuanced as I’ve ever heard him on alto. The lack of a chordal instrument gives all four musicians space, and I like the way the pieces unfold organically. There are fiery moments, but they grow naturally out of what has come before.

As with his previous Not Two album Searching For Adam, Rodrigo Amado has aligned himself with top flight musicians and the results bear fruit.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Chamber 4 - Chamber 4

Chamber 4
Chamber 4
FMR Records

Luis Vicente - trumpet
Theo Ceccaldi - violin and viola
Valentin Ceccaldi - cello and voice
Marcelo Dos Reis - acoustic guitar, prepared guitar and voice

Chamber 4 is a very well-balanced effort from the quartet of Vicente, Dos Reis, and the Ceccaldis, all leading lights of the Portuguese free jazz scene. At first it might seem a strange assortment, trumpet with "strings" in what sounds like a freely improvised small group setting, but it works extremely well, with Vicente's trumpet engaging in dialogue, sometimes conversationally, sometimes sounding the call. All three string players create interesting arrangements and textures on the fly. You could call it chamber jazz, but it has a spark that removes it from any connotations of stuffy formalism. Another winner from Vicente and Dos Reis.

Mea Culpa

I owe musicians, labels, PR folks, and any readers who have might have wandered back to this blog an apology. Over the past couple of years i really hit a stride in terms of the frequency of my reviews. Then I accepted a challenging new job in April of this year, and my life completely changed. The hours I'm putting in leave little time for listening or writing, but I'm trying a new approach: shorter reviews that attempt to capture the essence of the record. I don't know how long this will last, frankly, but I'm trying to make good on my commitment to showcasing deserving new music. Thanks for your patience.