Free jazz in this decade is an embarrassment of riches – more releases coming out than any single individual can listen to, and many of them quite sublime. But if one were to focus in on canonical free jazz of the modern era, Rodrigo Amado would be at the top of the queue. Just off a series of collaborations with Peter Evans among others, Amado’s Motion Trio returns for an effort featuring just themselves.
In addition to Amado on sax, Miguel Mira handles the cello, and Gabriel Ferrandini the drums. Desire and Freedom, consisting of three long tracks, has a refined live-in-the-studio feel. Amado is the driving force, pushing his compatriots with constantly evolving themes. While brash and loud, sounding unconventional notes from time to time, he is never harsh. Ferrandini is a wonderfully busy percussionist, playing the whole set with vigor as a lead instrument rather than as a rhythm endeavor. Mira similarly eschews convention, moving rapidly up and down his fretboard with ease as well as using the occasional bowing.
The album explores dualities – the yin and yang of idea and expression, and of liberty and responsibility (as two of the tracks are aptly titled). But a third set of poles is defined by this trio’s nod to the jazz tradition while forging a new path. The road they blaze is not one of irreverence for the past, but an intrepid exploration into what can be.
Desire and Freedom captures a sense of urgency, but also a gentleness and beauty. Amado, Mira, and Ferrandini can fill a room with more musical information most outfits of a larger size. Bravo.
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