Rodrigo Amado – Wire Quartet (CF 297)
It is possible that Portuguese saxophonist Rodrigo Amado’s earlier releases caught your attention because of the names of his playing partners. Chicago trombonist Jeb Bishop recorded two discs with Amado’s Motion Trio, The Flame Alphabet (Not Two, 2012) and Burning Live At Jazz AO Centro (JACC Records, 2012). There was also Searching For Adam (Not Two, 2010) with cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum, drummer Gerald Cleaver, and bassist John Hébert and The Abstract Truth (European Echoes, 2009) with bassist Kent Kessler, and drummer Paal Nilssen-Love. Obviously, he keeps good company, like bassist Ken Filiano, guitarist Luis Lopes, and trumpeter Peter Evans.
With that curriculum vitae, his working bands sans guests, are worthy recorded outings. Here we find Amado’s Wire Quartet, which is made up of two-thirds of the RED Trio, drummer Gabriel Ferrandini and bassist Hernani Faustino, who also perform with saxophonist Nobuyasu Furuya. The fourth member is guitarist Manuel Mota, who has collaborated with the likes of Noël Akchoté and Toshimaru Nakamura.
The three pieces presented have a nonchalance about them. The quartet strips away the requirement for excessive bravado and musical macho often heard in free jazz. It’s not that they don’t rev their engines, it just that they appear to have no need to beat each other (or the listener’s ears) into submission. The opening track, “Abandon Yourself,” saunters in on Amado’s tenor and Mota’s guitar sounding like mellowed and less frenetic versions of Evan Parker and Derek Bailey. Amado prefers a blues thread running through his sustained solos. The quartet picks up the pace fueled by Ferrandini’s merry- go-round of percussive activity. But even at its most frenetic, the fever of this band is manageable and controlled by the players. Half way through, the band pulls the brakes for some introspective exploration. Amado serves some hushed, overblown tenor and Faustino bows clement bass passages—all entirely within the structure of the piece. The remaining two pieces, both much shorter in length, continue the ennobled theme. This quartet has no need to invite guests musicians to draw attention to their most excellent music making.