Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Rodrigo Amado, This is Our Language Quartet, Let the Free Be Men


Over the years I cannot remember a bad Rodrigo Amado album. They are all worthwhile. His tenor is always on top of things, animated, inspired and articulate. His bands are well chosen and committed. The freedom of expression is always to the point and focused. And the sequence is ever flowing, exciting.

There is a new one with Rodrigo and the "This is Our Language Quartet," an all-star gathering of Rodrigo with Joe McPhee on trumpet and soprano, Kent Kessler on double bass and Chris Corsano at the drums. The album is titled Let the Free Be Men (Trost Records TR208). It paces nicely between barn burners and more slowly unwinding trajectories. The tenor-soprano, Amado-McPhee collective improvs have a beautifully energetic two-way dynamic, or rather of course four-way when it is rhythm and front line charging forward together.

Amado's full throated, gritty and edgy tenor sound is a wonderful thing to hear and Joe McPhee of course brings his own edge to his playing, whether soprano or trumpet. Kent Kessler sometimes joins the two with a harmonics laden bowing that sounds just right. His pizzicato punctuates everything well as always. And then of course Chris Corsano brings his full spectrum of drum sounds and velocities to keep things stoked. He kicks the music up several notches when it seems right. So it all grabs onto your ears and one goes away happy.

The album carves out a stylistic drift for a kind of state-of-the-art freedom we come to expect from Rodrigo.

If you are new to the Amado art or an old appreciator, either way this album fills your ears with good things from start to finish. You do not want to miss it. Yes indeed!

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