AMN Reviews

AMN Reviews: Gonçalo Almeida / Rodrigo Amado / Marco Franco – The Attic (2017; NoBusiness Records)

If you are looking for top notch free-improv, saxophonist Rodrigo Amado should be your go-to guy. His approach sounds notably different than the typical European or American “free” style, though it can be hard to define exactly why. With his various groups, Amado explores instantaneous compositions, makes occasional use of extended techniques, and tempers discordance with angular clarity. Perhaps it is his expressiveness that sets Amado apart – when listening to his recordings you cannot help but feel that he is playing directly to you.

Recorded live in December 2015, The Attic features Amado on tenor, Gonçalo Almeida on double bass and Marco Franco on drums. The album kicks off with Shadows, featuring three minutes of bowed playing and scraping from Almeida before Amado joins in with high-register, distorted lines. Franco takes more of a background role, working the cymbals while his compatriots play off of one another. Throughout the album, Amado fluidly switches between playing inside and out, providing staccato punctuations and drones. When Franco is on, he is wonderfully busy – not unlike Gabriel Ferrandini, another drummer who frequently works with Amado. Almeida switches fluidly between bowing and plucking, playing the bass as a lead instrument.

Perhaps the most outright exciting track is the finale, Nail, which is a mile-a-minute blowout. In this short burst of energy, Amado and Franco duel for the lead with Almeida maintaining an active rumbling in the background. While a rough Peter Brotzmann comparison could be made, the frantic pace of this track is just one aspect of Amado’s overall approach.

Highly recommended.

More of our reviews of Rodrigo Amado:
Rodrigo Amado Motion Trio – Desire and Freedom (2016; Not Two)
Three From Rodrigo Amado