Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Rodrigo Amado's "Searching for Adam," Important New Improv Set

Rodrigo Amado needs to be heard by all those into the free thing. He's poised, filled with good improv ideas, and his new album, Searching for Adam (Not Two 837-2) shows it all off in a very good light. The band is an impressive lineup of New York's finest--Taylor Ho Bynam on cornet & flugelhorn, John Hebert, bass, and Gerald Cleaver on drums. The rhythm team has bold fire and dynamic energy to spare; Bynum is a stick of dynamite. He crackles, sizzles and sears his way through the set, truly on fire.

And Rodrigo? First off I love his old-school tenor sound. He channels Coleman Hawkins and Ben Webster and he channels early Archie Shepp's channeling of same. But the notes and phrases are Rodrigo's and they work together potently. On baritone the sound of Serge Chaloff comes to mind--gutsy or expressively tender from moment to moment. RODRIGO's notes, again, not a string of bop cliches. The BIG sax sound is not something many jazz departments out there seem to be teaching, so Rodrigo's sound is all the more rare these days, but all the more welcome. Sound is not something you can easily teach I guess, nor is the logic of a way of phrasing, sound and note-wise. So Rodrigo is doubly valuable in that he excels at both aspects.

The band has a clear direction and they go there. It's simply one of the best free ensemble disks so far this year. OK, the year is rather new, I'll grant, but I suspect I'll be saying the same thing come December.

Those who don't know Rodrigo Amado's music are missing out. This one is a great place to begin. Track it down and get down with the tracks. You'll be happy you did, I think.

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