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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Rodrigo Amado, Miguel Mira & Gabriel Ferrandini - Motion Trio (European Echoes, 2009) ****½

After the excellent "The Abstract Truth", Portuguese saxophonist Rodrigo Amado presents his new trio, with Miguel Miro on cello and Gabriel Ferrandini on drums. The album is a wonderful example of free improvisation, often subdued, soft-toned, with the rhythm section not acting as a rhythm section to the lead instrument, but as a fully integrated part of the overall sound and interaction, to the extent that the individual voices are totally subordinate to it. As I wrote earlier, Amado is a master in intimate expansiveness, but the real quality of this music is the unrelenting tension, which captivates you and makes you want to know what will follow next, hoping that release will come. And sometimes it does, when the nervous pointillism breaks open in a triple powerplay, as on "Testify", or in suddenly blooming melodies, like in "As We Move ...".

Earlier today I listened to another CD, played by a band whose name I won't mention but with some of today's best modern jazz musicians, and I thought it was painfully technical, needlessly complex, too arranged, to much showing off, and utterly boring, unless you're likely to be impressed by skills. I listened to the whole album, hoping in vain for some surprise, some emotional depth, some creativity.

This trio belongs to a different category, one of artistry rather than entertainment, of emotional delivery rather than technical skill, of authentic expression rather than playing tunes. In sum, these guys know what music is all about and manage to play it well, coherently, disciplined, vulnerable and real. And free ...

© stef