Title: Desire & Freedom
By: Rodrigo Amado Motion Trio
Catalog No: MW 946-2
Price: 12 EUR
1. Freedom Is A Two-Edged Sword / 15:26
2. Liberty / 17:18
3. Responsibility / 20:12
Rodrigo Amado - Tenor Saxophone
Miguel Mira - Cello
Gabriel Ferrandini - Drums
at Namouche Studios, Lisbon, February 9th, 2016.
What the critics say:
Rodrigo Amado first caught my attention on two albums as part of a trio with Kent Kessler (double-bass) and Paal Nilssen-Love (drums): Teatro (European Echoes, 2006) and The Abstract Truth (European Echoes, 2009) A mature voice, full of character, I’ve followed his releases with growing interest. My enthusiasm was confirmed by his session with Joe McPhee, Kent Kessler and Chris Corsano, This Is Our Language, being voted our reviewers’ album of the year in 2015, in which year he also topped the tenor saxophone category of El Intruso’s International Critics Poll.
Amado’s Motion Trio consists of himself on tenor, Miguel Mira on cello and Gabriel Ferrandini, drums. They often invite guests and their pair of albums on NoBusiness with Peter Evans (trumpet) – The Freedom Principle and Live in Lisbon – received much praise a couple of years ago. This is the first recording of the trio alone however, since their debut: Motion Trio (European Echoes, 2009). The track titles were inspired by the 1946 essay, Freedom is a Two-Edged Sword by Jack Parsons, a rocket propulsion engineer, occultist and one-time friend of L. Ron Hubbard. That liberty and responsibility are the sometimes conflicting consequences of freedom is something with which few would quibble, but whether all or part of the essay had a deeper influence on the music, I cannot say. I got along fine without it.
The immediately striking feature of the trio is Mira’s cello, played plucked throughout, higher in register and lighter in tone than the double-bass, making the frequent and rapid gear changes, glissandi and double-stops more prominent. Woven into this is the whiplash movement around Ferrandini’s fragile kit, with sizzling cymbals, staccato cracks, rim shot snaps and stuttering rolls. This mesh of cello and drums, a combination of the ductile and sharply transient, creates an energy field whose quivering surface never settles. Against this, Amado’s tenor is a stabilising force providing an equilibrium of sorts, and something which feels both spontaneous and integrated.
There’s a crispness and tonal control to Amado’s line, which unfolds according to its own momentum. Not one to embellish unnecessarily, since the trio’s first album his terseness of expression has if anything, become more pronounced: a concision which sometimes reduces his playing to a string of pecked plosives. It sounds as if each phrase is being scrutinised and given its due weight, the trajectory of each piece being modelled as a sculptor moulds clay, small additions and scraping away. The result is a tour de force of controlled intensity.
There are times when the presence of a fourth instrument would be welcome – Amado’s soliloquies might benefit from some contrasting dialogue – but if his previous outings appeal, proceed with confidence.
review courtesy of Colin Green, FreeJazzBlog.org
Rodrigo Amado's Motion Trio is the model off free jazz genuineness and efficiency, and by that I mean proficiency. They give off an impression of nonchalance here, but don't let their relaxed approach fool you, beneath the surface their music is burning with all the agitation of the 1960's New Thing in jazz.
After a wave a recordings with guests that included trumpeter Peter Evans on The Freedom Principle (NoBusiness, 2014) and Live In Lisbon (NoBusiness, 2014) and trombonist Jeb Bishop The Flame Alphabet (Not Two, 2013) and Burning Live At Jazz Ao Centro (JACC, 2012), the trio of tenor saxophonist Amado, cellist Miguel Mira and drummer Gabriel Ferrandini returned to the studio to make music as a core unit. This had not been done
since their self-titled debut in 2009.
It is as if they had returned from the wars, and their homecoming here was a celebration. Amado has worked and recorded with Joe McPhee, Taylor Ho Bynum, Paal Nilssen-Love, Chris Corsano, Luís Lopes, and Gerald Cleaver, to name just a few. Mira performs with the Variable Geometry Orchestra and Iridium String Quartet, and Ferrandini with RED Trio and Lisbon Connection.
That is not the full truth, this trio is a day-to-day working/practicing unit. That is quite apparent in each of these three lengthy tracks.
"Liberty" opens with a tentative exploration between Mira and Ferrandini. The pair explore the rattle-tic shadows of an otherwise twosome. Amado enters cautiously and deliberately, as if to gauge the atmosphere. The adventure occurs, but the journey here rarely draws on conflict as the driver of improvisation. Amado's saxophone is busy on "Freedom Is A Two-Edged Sword," like that of Evan Parker, but with a fuller sound. He never neglects the bottom. The piece doesn't charge full steam ahead until the finale, then it comes as a rush.
The lengthiest track, "Responsibility," at twenty-plus minutes, is the signature piece here. Mira's nimble cello work and the busy clack and chatter of Ferrandini's kit provide a platform for Amado to summon the same meditative muse as John Coltrane often drew from in his introspective pieces. The music, or should we say prayer, builds momentum with the trio's realization of a unified sound. The journey is steep with many switchbacks, but our guides are experts and the passage is secure. Amen.
review courtesy of Mark Corroto, AAJ
Tenor saxophonist Rodrigo Amado’s Motion Trio has long featured the leader’s stellar rapport with cellist Miguel Mira and drummer Gabriel Ferrandini – often in collaboration with invited guests. Internationally renowned as a solo artist, Amado has worked with many respected luminaries, including Joe McPhee, Taylor Ho Bynum, and Luís Lopes, among others. His comrades are no less distinguished; Mira performs with the Iridium String Quartet and Variable Geometry Orchestra, while Ferrandini is a member of Lisbon Connection and RED Trio.
Beyond the members’ individual associations, Motion Trio regularly performs and records with other musicians. New York-based trumpeter Peter Evans appeared on The Freedom Principle (NoBusiness, 2014), and Live In Lisbon (NoBusiness, 2014), while Windy City trombonist Jeb Bishop guested on The Flame Alphabet (Not Two, 2013), and Burning Live At Jazz Ao Centro (JACC, 2012). Breaking with tradition, Desire & Freedom is the first effort to feature the core trio unaccompanied since its self-titled debut for European Echoes in 2009.
Brimming with energy, the ensemble’s aesthetic lineage encompasses the fervency of the New Thing and the instrumental freedom of the loft scene. Recalling the latter, the bass-less trio’s most striking feature is the unique timbre of Mira’s cello; played exclusively pizzicato, its bright upper register tone accentuates the speed of Mira’s brisk arpeggios and the sustained resonance of his plucked double-stops. Ferrandini’s shimmering cymbals, crackling rim shots and sputtering press rolls seamlessly interlock with Mira’s fleet pronouncements; together they generate a percolating undercurrent of endlessly modulating rhythm. In contrast, Amado’s muscular tenor is a monolithic presence that provides structural equilibrium; expressed without excessive embellishment, his bristling staccato cadences are models of terse concision.
The result of this triadic interplay is a tour de force of controlled intensity across three extended tracks (“Freedom Is a Two-Edged Sword,” “Liberty,” and “Responsibility”), all of which were inspired by Freedom is a Two-Edged Sword, an essay penned in 1946 by Jack Parsons, a rocket propulsion engineer, occultist and one-time friend of L. Ron Hubbard. Mira’s lithe cello work, the bustling chatter of Ferrandini’s kit, and the pneumatic focus of Amado’s brawny tenor all cohere into a unified sound on Desire & Freedom, the trio’s definitive recording.
review courtesy of Troy Collins, pointofdeparture.org
…another strategy that has developed is the use of the cello in the place of a double bas in a jazz combo. That’s what Miguel Mira’s contribution to tenor saxophonist Rodrigo Amado’s Motion Trio. During the selections on Desire & Freedom (NotTwo MW 946-2) which also includes drummer Gabriel Ferrandini, the trio expresses itself in stream-of-consciousness improvisations with the saxophonist exploring every nuance of the sound as Sonny Rollins and Dewey Redman did in similar situations. Meanwhile Mira’s plucks, feints and squeaks follow alongside Amado’s glottal punctuation. The most telling instance of this is on the concluding “Responsibility”. Half way through, the cellist creates a vibrating solo, indistinguishable from that of a walking bass line and with the rhythmic power to match the saxophonist’s propelled split tones. By the time the foot-tapping extravaganza is complete it appears that both have exposed every timbral extension possible. Here and elsewhere, Ferrandini’s unforced clanks and rattles pace the other two like a moderator faced with impassioned speakers in a political debate. On “Freedom is a Two-edged Sword”, controlled thwacks from cello and drums properly situate the reedist’s exposition which bites rodent-like into the theme. Comfortable with gopher hole-like low growls and stratospheric cries, Amado’s reed motion can also be expressed in a more moderate fashion as he demonstrates on “Liberty”. With his narrative shaded to a deeper toned, while still multiphonic, the plinking strings and cymbal vibrations shadow him like a resolute foxhound as he develops theme variations and helps smooth the narrative down to soothing slurs by the finale…
review courtesy of Ken Waxman mand jazzword.com
Rodrigo Amado, Joe McPhee, Kent Kessler, Chris Corsano
Rodrigo Amado, Taylor Ho Bynum, John Habert, Gerald Cleaver
We Are Electric by Rodrigo Amado Northern Liberties
Rodrigo Amado Motion Trio + Jeb Bishop