Monday, June 10, 2019

Rodrigo Amado & Chris Corsano - No Place to Fall (Astral Spirits, 2019) ****



Readers of this blog need no introduction to the work of Portuguese sax player Rodrigo Amado and Chris Corsano. Their collaboration in a quartet with sax and pocket trumpet player Joe McPhee and double bass player Kent Kessler won 5 stars reviews on the blog (This Is Our Language, Not Two, 2012, and A History of Nothing, Trost, 2018). No Place to Fall is a studio recording of Amado - focusing on tenor sax - and Corsano from July 2014 at Manouche Studios, Lisbon. It is a released as limited edition of 175 red shelled cassettes and 500 discs plus download option. 

The title of this album captures faithfully the urgent and restless atmosphere of this meeting. Amado and Corsano soar instantly into dense, turbulent stratosphere like there is no tomorrow. Both play with boundless energy, relying on their deep understanding of the art of the moment and super-fast instincts. They fill the room with their busy, muscular and conversational interplay, rarely settling on a fixed pulse or a theme, always pushing forward and sounding as a much bigger unit already on the opening piece “Announcement”.

Amado and Corsano begin the following “Don’t Take It Too Bad” with a leisured mode and some fractured, bluesy undercurrents, but soon surf again on another powerful wave. Amado's delivery here is full of charisma, alternating freely between a singing tone and investigating complex rhythmic patterns. He begins the title track with a series of Ayler-ian calls, cries squeaks but soon Corsano rolls in and challenges him to fly higher and faster, as if even a brief stop would guarantee a downward fall for both of them. “Into the Valley” feeds on the tough yet ecstatic climax of the title piece but explores a sparse theme while Amado and Corsano keep searching for different perspectives and modes that would serve best this fleeting theme, including playful, instant-shifting rhythmic games. The last “We'll Be Here In The Morning” suggests a completely different course, openly emotional and quite lyrical. Amado sings his heart out in a gentle, warm voice while Corsano colors his singing voice with sensitive, minimalist touches until both dance around each other.

Do yourselves a favor and take this sonic pill of positive, uplifting energy. You are guaranteed to thank Amado and Corsano later.


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