Reviews – Wire Quartet

Rodrigo Amado’s music is a letdown. Which is not to say that it is a disappointment. Quite the reverse. This is his most thrillingly realized and coherent recording to date. But the music’s determining trajectory is always downwards and deeper. Patterns of four, five, six descending tones in the opening sequence evoke nothing less than being slowly ratcheted down a mine-shaft, observing strata, minerals crystallizing, feeling the internal pressure build and the air thicken. When most of our laudatory paradigms for music involve elevation, ascension, transcendence, Amado takes us toward the core. Or maybe off shore, and then a deep dive. That opening piece is a veritable descent into the maelstrom. A quiet introduction on tenor and guitar (the highly impressive Manuel Mota) suggests a backstage encounter between Sonny Rollins and Jim Hall. It’s thoughtful, pleasingly discursive, but soon gives way to a fierier group attack which might unwarily be mistaken for by-the-yard Fire Music if it weren’t for the highly disciplined way Amado organizes the group round those bunched saxophone tones and terse phrasing.

Then when one is almost ready to shout despairingly with Poe’s narrator and prepare for a last plunge into the whirlpool, it pulls up quietly on damped cymbal tones (Gabriel Ferrandini) that gradually evolve a fascinating dialogue between drums and bass (Hernani Faustino). The group’s center of gravity shifts, but in such a way as to reveal its essential democracy. The set’s divided, in whatever sense it’s divided at all, into three sections – “Abandon Yourself,” “Surrender,” and “To The Music” – but the mood and concentration are sustained from first to last, and the titles merely confirm the feeling that by replugging a few expectations of what happens in improvised music, not least its repetition allergy and need to move ever on-and-up, we’re being taken further into a rich seam of exploration.

The Scottish-born poet Kenneth White (who has spent most of his working life away from Scotland) is a pioneer of what he calls geopoetics and of a hidden, transnational arc of creative activity that extends from the Nordic countries to Portugal and into North Africa and the Mediterranean, with mirrored activity on the Eastern seaboard of North Africa. He calls it “Atlantic” culture, and it’s a surprising latecomer to intellectual discourse given how powerful political Atlanticism has been in Europe since the war. Rodrigo Amado is the perfect “Atlantic” artist. His music looks West, to the great saxophone players of modern jazz, but also back to Atlantic crossers like Don Byas (who else shaped a boppish phrase like that?) and there’s even a hint of Dexter Gordon in the way Amado worries at a phrase, musing over it mid-conversation, wondering if he’s saying the right thing, offering an alternative.

It’s a most surprising record, this. Its antecedents – its genre, almost – seem familiar to the point of predictability, and yet nothing about it conforms easily to what we know and expect about such groups. The guitar and bass playing are revelatory. Mota plays in a no-style that seems to bundle up Derek Bailey, Sonny Sharrock and Arto Lindsay in a single phrase. Faustino should be renamed “the Lisbon earthquake,” if he isn’t already, and Ferrandini is one of the most musical drummers I’ve heard in years. Amado himself is a proven quantity, an artist of real and still growing stature. He’s been away on his own European Echoes imprint for a while. This feels like a kind of homecoming. Brian Morton


It is possible that Portuguese saxophonist Rodrigo Amado’s earlier releases caught your attention because of the names of his playing partners. Chicago trombonist Jeb Bishop recorded two discs with Amado’s Motion Trio, The Flame Alphabet (Not Two, 2012) and Burning Live At Jazz AO Centro (JACC Records, 2012). There was also Searching For Adam (Not Two, 2010) with cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum, drummer Gerald Cleaver, and bassist John Hébert and The Abstract Truth (European Echoes, 2009) with bassist Kent Kessler, and drummer Paal Nilssen-Love. Obviously, he keeps good company, like bassist Ken Filiano, guitarist Luis Lopes, and trumpeter Peter Evans.

With that curriculum vitae, his working bands sans guests, are worthy recorded outings. Here we find Amado’s Wire Quartet, which is made up of two-thirds of the RED Trio, drummer Gabriel Ferrandini and bassist Hernani Faustino, who also perform with saxophonist Nobuyasu Furuya. The fourth member is guitarist Manuel Mota, who has collaborated with the likes of Noël Akchoté and Toshimaru Nakamura.

The three pieces presented have a nonchalance about them. The quartet strips away the requirement for excessive bravado and musical macho often heard in free jazz. It’s not that they don’t rev their engines, it just that they appear to have no need to beat each other (or the listener’s ears) into submission. The opening track, “Abandon Yourself,” saunters in on Amado’s tenor and Mota’s guitar sounding like mellowed and less frenetic versions of Evan Parker and Derek Bailey. Amado prefers a blues thread running through his sustained solos. The quartet picks up the pace fueled by Ferrandini’s merry- go-round of percussive activity. But even at its most frenetic, the fever of this band is manageable and controlled by the players. Half way through, the band pulls the brakes for some introspective exploration. Amado serves some hushed, overblown tenor and Faustino bows clement bass passages—all entirely within the structure of the piece. The remaining two pieces, both much shorter in length, continue the ennobled theme. This quartet has no need to invite guests musicians to draw attention to their most excellent music making.

Mark Corroto



If anything, we can applaud the work done by Pedro Costa of Clean Feed to get Portuguese musicians of quality visibility and especially audibility outside of the country. One of these musicians is saxophonist Rodrigo Amado, featured here in the past few days with three excellent albums.

His Wire quartet consists of Hernani Faustino and Gabriel Ferrandini, the rhythm section – if I can use that word – of the much acclaimed RED trio, and with Manuel Mota on guitar, featured before on this blog on various guitar reviews.

Amado is a fierce saxophonist, but his sound his warm and deep, which he manages to maintain even in the more savage moments. He is not Brötzmann or Gustafsson or Dunmall or Perelman or Gjerstad. His sound is warm and gentle like a summer breeze, even when the breeze gets to storm level, it is never bone-chilling, it keeps its warm round tone.

With the Wire Quartet, the band improvises freely, without prior themes or agreements, music flowing as it is, in the moment but with a great sense of direction, and with Amado leading the quartet through moments of calm intensity, of more nervous agitation, of increases speed and volume, and all nuances in between. Faustino and Ferrandini I no longer need to acclaim, as I have done that sufficiently before, these guys know their craft – technically – and their art – musically – to co-create to move as one to emphasise to color to propulse forward to go against the grain and to support.

Mota’s guitar is the disruptive element in the band. His harsh dry sound is the ideal counterbalance of the sax, offering a strange tension of extremes, yet they move so well in the same direction that the disruption becomes a real partnership, like rocks in a stream creating torrents. “Abandon Yourself”, the first track, is almost half an hour long, and moves like a river from quiet brook over wild rapids to quieter places again, with Mota’s noise forcing Amado into savage outbursts and Amado’s sax pushing Mota into unexpected moments of sensitive gentleness.

“Surrender”, the second piece is shorter and a real slow free improv piece introduced by Mota’s guitar, and again the guitar’s short bursts and sprinkles of notes are in a constant countersound to Amado’s long and sustained wails, full of tradition and bluesy inflections.

The album ends in beauty, with a track called “To The Music”, again starting with sounds that grow organically out of silent first moves and gentle countermoves and subtle pushes forward, until the total sound emerges with solid foundations and volume, offering Amado the chance to shine, to soar, to sing his lyrical jazzy phrases full of agony and excitement propulsed forward by the rhythm sections and chased by the mad guitar of Manuel Mota, like a clash of two traditions merging into one coherent fist of music. Stef


Não tentemos fazer mais nada enquanto escutamos este disco. Não vamos querer nem vamos conseguir. Isto é uma prova física, um teste – de velocidade e resistência ao mesmo tempo. Somos saco de pancada para um quarteto que não se cansa. Isto vem depois do bebop, vem depois do freejazz, é tudo isso misturado e é bonito, porque enerva e corrói, com a nossa autorização. E quando achamos que, no meio do caos, chegámos a um porto seguro, quando damos por nós ancorados num tema em baixa rotação, desenganemo-nos.

Rodrigo Amado convocou esta gente (que forma este Wire Quartet) para uma relação promíscua com os blues do inferno, para os soltar por aí sem freio. Por isso, qualquer aproximação a um sentido melódico domesticado é rapidamente desfeita. Amado no sax quase luminoso, com o contraponto da guitarra tresmalhada de Manuel Mota. Hernâni Faustino (contrabaixo) e Gabriel Ferrandini (bateria) juntam tudo. Nós perdemo-nos.

Tiago Pereira Jornal I



I don’t think I am going out on a limb when I say that Rodrigo Amado is without a doubt one of the most exciting and innovative tenor saxophonists on the avant jazz scene in Europe today. It is so, to my mind. He’s been racking up a discography of gem-after-gem (many covered here) and stands out as someone who has a clear direction and the facility and sound to make it all so.
He has a couple of new ones out that I’ll cover on this page over the next several weeks. The first up is a foursome gathering named the Wire Quartet (Clean Feed 297).

It’s a scorcher of a studio date, with Amado and his colleagues in full-forward mode. Joining Rodrigo are Manuel Mota on electric guitar, Hernani Faustino on double bass, and Gabriel Ferrandini on drums. If you follow the Portuguese scene you will recognize some or all of these names. They are players at or near the very top of their craft/art and they work together to give a dramatically free jazz dynamic throughout.

Everybody sounds great but it’s Rodrigo that masters through the three segments, a master phraser-inventor with a rich tenor tone and poise. He sounds like a new “classic”, though that may be a contradiction in terms. But no, the new can be the classic of now. It has to be because otherwise we are saying there is nothing being made of classic status today. And that just is not true.So this is Rodrigo Amado right now–with three of the best on the Portuguese scene, all coming through with music that is meant to be a part of where we are. Right now. It is! Check this one out or miss out….

Gregory Applegate Edwards


A Rodrigo Amado release is always going to be filled with some excitement. And Wire Quartet is definitely exciting and does not disappoint. A wonderful line up that features members of Red Trio and the increasingly rewarding, Manuel Mota.

Wire Quartet consist of three very extended pieces. “Abandon Yourself” opens the album with slow building introduction where each member moves gently with well place focused notes. The piece moves into its second structure when Amado and Mota both let loose and Faustino and Ferrandini follow making this section of the piece the most chaotic and beautiful. The tone settles in the latter stages as each musician has their own moment to rise above. Great compositional/leadership work here from Amado allowing the members the freedom to craft the passages within the outlying structure.

Blues-like yet still encompassing sense of moving far beyond, “Surrender” has lots of free movements with Mota’s guitar screeching like Branca, Bailey or Thurston Moore rolled into one. Amado’s rolling tones and the some atmospheric brush-work from Ferrandini add a nice shine to the track. While on the closing number, “To The Music,” Amado really let’s loose with some terrific tones and patterns that feel like Ayler or Braxton. Mota’s guitars wails alongside Amado but never overpowers the piece.

Wire Quartet is a rock album with jazz undertones. It loud, fierce and abrasive like any other Amado record. Similar to Amado’s work with Luis Lopes but here we get the added touches of a fantastic quartet that pours even more muscle to Rodrigo Amado’s compositions. Which I didn’t think was possible. And the results are excellent and frankly–bloody brilliant stuff! Stephan Moore



The debut album of Portuguese saxophonist Rodrigo Amado’s Wire Quartet—featuring the rhythm section of the acclaimed RED trio, double bassist Hernani Faustino and drummer Gabriel Ferrandini (who also plays in Amado’s long-standing working Motion Trio) and experimental guitarist Manuel Mota—demonstrate Amado strongest and most intense performances to date, defying any attempt to associate it with post-bop or free jazz. This powerful quartet also establishes Amado’s wise choice when it comes to radical and original sounding guitarists, after collaborating with Luis Lopes in the Portuguese-American Humanization Quartet.

The titles of the three extended pieces frame the spirit of the music’s total commitment to the improvised art. But it is the interaction between the warm sounding, charismatic and often soulful blows of Amado and the exploratory, feedback and distortion-laden guitar lines of Mota, sometimes spiced with rough, bluesy feeling, that defines the explosive sonic terrains of these improvisations. The unique finger- picking approach of Mota and his impressive and focused command of textural, noisy sounds inject subversive elements of post- rock to the improvisations, bringing this quartet close to the sonic territories of Sonic Youth, its guitarist Thurston Moore’s bands or The Ex, in its most abstract and wild improvisations. Faustino and Ferrandini hold the muscular and restless interplay with exemplary force of their own.

Amidst the energetic interplay of “Abandon Yourself” there are few moments when the quartet slows down to explore introspective, spare textures without giving up the intensity and the inherent tension that characterizes its performances. The shorter “Surrender” adopts a slower pace that feature the colliding strategies of Amado and Mota and the versatile, propulsive power of the rhythm section with all its nuances. “To The Music” lifts off patiently, allowing Amado to emphasize his lyrical tone that contrasts Mota fragmented lines, but it soon gains power and volition and aims with full force towards its climactic eruption.

Explosive and genre- defying, arresting improvisations. Eyal Hareuveni


Filled with romping excitement, Rodrigo Amado and Wire Quartet are positively exhilarating and will not disappoint, supported by a wonderful line up that features members of the Red Trio and the rewarding, Manuel Mota. Wire Quartet consists of three extended pieces. “Abandon Yourself” which opens the album with slow building introduction where each member moves gently with well place focused notes. The piece moves into its second structure when Amado and Mota both let loose and Faustino and Ferrandini follow making this section of the piece the most chaotic while beautiful at the same time. The mood settles in the latter stages as each musician has their own moment to rise above. The compositional strength is strong, yet Amado allows the members the freedom to craft the passages within the outlying structure.

On “Surrender” a bluesy artistic vibe, yet still encompassing sense of moving far beyond, with an abundance free movement with Mota’s guitar screaming like Branca, Bailey or Thurston Moore rolled into one. Ferrandini’s atmospheric brush-work adds a nice polish to the track. While on the closing number, “To the Music,” Amado opens wide with pounding tones and patterns that are reminiscent of Ayler or Braxton. Mota’s guitar wails but never overpowers the piece.

Wire Quartet is a significant addition to the jazz rock moniker; it is fierce, searing and rasping like any other Amado record. Similar to Amado’s work with Luis Lopes, but with the profusion that a quartet offers to the sound, adding a level of muscularity to Rodrigo Amado’s compositions, this is hard to believe, as his brilliance was already in abundance.

Icrom Bigrad




Projet du saxophoniste Rodrigo Amado, avec Gabriel Ferrandini à la batterie, Hernâni Faustino à la guitare basse et Manuel Mota à la guitare.

Premier album avec cette formation.

Vous avez dit free-jazz ? Oui maman. Voilà une bonne dose d’électricité là où il faut, drette dans le cerveau. Ça blow mes amis, avec une guitare qui déchire sans jamais tomber dans l’inintelligible. Il y a du concret dans ces trois improvisations, dont une pièce de 28 minutes. Un jazz pour les roughs and toughs de ce monde. Ce n’est pas toujours dans le tapis, mais tout de même. Amado sait canaliser l’énergie de ses troupes, avant un nouveau départ tendu, avec un son de sax ténor bien gras. Maître de l’improvisation libre couplée à la guitare électrique, Rodrigo Amado est l’un des meilleurs dans ce genre d’élément. Le saxophoniste portugais possède une feuille de route impressionnante dans le monde du free-jazz et du free-rock. Pour se convaincre de son talent, je vous suggère d’écouter le Luis Lopes Humanization Quartet, chez Ayler Records.

Ici, il joue beaucoup de notes, triture son phrasé, gauche-droite, bas-haut, toujours en quête d’originalité bien concentré. Le support rythmique est adéquat, jamais perdu, la guitare basse étant discrète, mais nécessaire. Mention spéciale au jeu de Manuel Mota à la guitare, avec un finger picking du tonnerre, rapide et sec. Le sax et la guitare sont les deux locomotives narratives sur cet album.

Attachez-vous bien, quand ça décolle, ça décoiffe !

Maxime Bouchard


Reeds player,photographer and Clean Feed label founder Rodrigo Amado is with no doubt one of brightest artists in really active Portuguese modern jazz.He played with cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum,drummer Gerald Cleaver,bassist John Hébert,drummer Paal Nilssen-Love and trumpeter Peter Evans among others,but even more important he is one of leaders and moving force on experimental domestic jazz scene.

Usually associated with his Motion Trio (with cellist Miguel Mira and drummer Gabriel Ferrandini), on his new release Rodrigo presents his new band – Wire Quartet.Right half of the new project consists of another excellent Portuguese collective – RED trio’s rhythm section (drummer Gabriel Ferrandini and bassist Hernani Faustino). Fourth member guitarist Manuel Mota is probably most responsible for quartet’s specific sound.

Just three compositions,with 28-minutes long opener “Abandon Yourself”,all are muscular but airy with lot of free form improvs on its. Manuel Mota’s guitar sounds as early years Derek Bailey incarnation and its relation with Rodrigo’s tenor sax is telepathic. Rhythm section builds quirky and almost touchable frame around finishing solid,intelligent and even graceful musical texture.

Great thing is quartet being high-energy unit doesn’t sound aggressive at all – rare example when high-octane fueled free form music stays intelligent and perfectly acts without attacking listeners’ ears and soul.

Portuguese adventurous jazz at its best,another great Clean Feed release.



Num ano particularmente feliz para Rodrigo Amado, sai agora mais uma edição. O “Wire” deste Wire Quartet tanto remete para “arame” como para “escuta telefónica”, naquilo que poderá ser uma referência à série de David Simon, “The Wire”. Esse é, aliás, o ponto de vista mais entusiasmante para se ouvir este CD homónimo. O universo musical criado pode levar a imaginar um cenário de polícias e traficantes de droga, política e corrupção. Mas nem o facto de existir um conceito/imaginário associado é suficiente para trazer mais um quê de energia a este disco.

Gravado em Janeiro de 2011, naquela que muito provavelmente foi uma sessão de improviso da qual se aproveitaram os melhores “takes”, este registo carece da energia das actuações ao vivo e parece desvendar um certo cansaço ou preguiça em estúdio, como se de um ensaio se tratasse e não de uma gravação. Mas mesmo como “registo de ensaio de uma ‘jam band’” o CD merece alguma atenção.

A acompanhar Rodrigo Amado estão Gabriel Ferrandini, Hernâni Faustino e Manuel Mota. O primeiro é, talvez, o colaborador mais regular de Amado, servindo como extensão percussiva do saxofonista. Faustino mostra-se outra excelente escolha neste contexto. Em grande forma, adopta uma postura muito diferente da de Miguel Mira, “baixista” (em violoncelo) de Amado no Motion Trio: tem uma presença particularmente interessante a explorar padrões mais repetitivo-psicadélicos e nenhum medo de deixar o contrabaixo respirar.

Ao contrário de Faustino e Ferrandini, Manuel Mota revela-se uma opção estranha no alinhamento. Apesar de ser um dos mais reconhecidos e interessantes guitarristas portugueses, com uma linguagem muito própria, nesta formação parece demasiado esforçado em acompanhar o trio sem condicionar essa mesma linguagem, o que resulta numa prestação pouco satisfatória.

Não sendo o seu melhor CD, ou sequer o seu melhor do ano, Rodrigo Amado consegue ainda assim criar um ambiente jazz característico, com a sua aura sonora carismática a dirigir este Wire Quartet. Bernardo Álvares,


Wire Quartet jest – obok Motion Trio i Hurricane – jednym z tzw. working bandów prowadzonych przez portugalskiego saksofonistę Rodrigo Amado. Nagrywający dla kilku czołowych avant-jazzowych wytwórni europejskich (Not Two, Ayler Records, No Business, a także dla własnej – European Echoes), powraca oto Amado do labelu, w którym zaczynał swoją wydawniczą przygodę – do portugalskiego Clean Feedu.

Wire Quartet to nazwa zespołu, która nie powstała przypadkowo; nazwa, która jest nieprzemyślana. Grupę sami portugalscy muzycy – oprócz Amado jeszcze basista Hernani Faustino, grający na perkusji młodziutki Gabriel Ferrandini oraz zupełnie nowa dla mnie postać na jazzowej scenie – gitarzysta Manuel Mota. I w moim odczuciu właśnie brzmieniu sześciu “drutów” jego instrumentu zawdzięcza grupa swoją nazwę.

Dwóch panów “F” czyli Ferrandini i Faustino świetnie znanych jest z zespołu Red Trio – portugalskiego kolektywu grającego muzykę w pełni improwizowaną, ale o dosyć przewidywalnej strukturze prowadzącej od jednego “uniesienia” do drugiego, gdzie kolektywna improwizacja w finale budowana jest w oparciu o solistyczne improwizacje. I chociaż jest to muzyka niesamowicie nośna w swym koncertowym wydaniu, jednak nieco nużąca, gdy obcuje się z nią na płycie. Jednak lata wspólnego grania owocują i właśnie dzięki nim są oni jedną z najlepiej zgranych sekcji rytmicznych po tej stronie oceanu. I to być może jest powodem tego, że coraz częściej możemy słyszeć ich razem – zaprosił ich saksofonista Nobuyasu Furuya do swojego tria i kwintetu, nagrywali razem z Jonem Irabagonem na najnowszej jego płycie. I także tutaj ich współpraca jest bazą, na której opiera się muzyka kwartetu.

Motoryczny i gęsty podkład sekcji rytmicznej znajduje swoje dopełnienie w grze Manuela Moty. To właśnie jego instrument decyduje – w moim odczuciu – o brzmieniu grupy. Mota – jako improwizator i innowator gry (palcowania) – chwalony był przez wielkich gitarzystów improwizacji, z Derekiem Baily’em i Noelem Akchoté’em na czele. Noisowa faktura jego gry (chociaż pobrzmiewa w niej cały czas bluesowy feeling), porwana gdzie niegdzie energicznymi szarpnięciami przetykanymi ciszą – to właśnie to, co atakuje nasze uszy w pierwszym momencie. Dopiero gdzieś w głębi pojawia saksofon Amado, jakby będący nieco na uboczu, obok głównego nurtu toczącego się żywiołu.

Nominalnie – podobno – liderem jest tu Amado, chociaż chyba raczej z racji na jego doświadczenie i rozpoznawalność niż koncepcję muzyczną. W dodatku mamy tu doczynienia z improwizacją w czystej formie – czy były tu jakieś formalne ustalenia. Wydaje mi się, że nie, chociaż sama muzyka i poszczególne kompozycje mają wyjątkowo przemyślaną strukturę i narrację. Jeśli więc szukają Państwo czegoś nowej i raczej ostrego w wyrazie – polecam to nagranie gorąco.  Marek Zając


Wire Quartet — Amado, Ferrandini, Hernâni Faustino e Manuel Mota. Saxofone, bateria, contrabaixo e guitarra eléctrica, portanto. O nível não anda muito longe da parelha de discos do Motion com Evans, sobretudo quando o quarteto não cede à tentação de dinamitar a música e levanta o jogo colectivo em crescendos que não desembocam na saída fácil da chinfrineira desregrada, percebendo sempre onde está a armadilha da vulgaridade. Para esse desfecho é essencial um Manuel Mota que está longe do onanismo habitual nas incursões das guitarras nestes cenários, contribuindo para a música e não imaginando que tem por trás uma banda-papel de cenário. O vai-vém constante de Abandon yourself, o longo tema de abertura, em subidas e descidas sucessivas, junta-se às melhores coisas que Rodrigo Amado gravou até hoje. Algo que, como já se terá percebido, não é coisa pouca. Gonçalo Frota


Rodrigo Amado is a free jazz musician whose sound harks back to the classic saxophonists of the jazz tradition. His thick tone, bluesy in quieter moments and containing an R&B edge, brings to mind players like Gene Ammons and Lockjaw Davis. When things get heated, his tone takes on a grainy quality that reminds me of a young Gato Barbieri.

His Wire Quartet is composed of bassist Faustino and drummer Ferrandini of the RED trio; Ferrandini is also part of Amado’s Motion Trio with cellist Miguel Mira. Guitarist Manuel Mota completes the group.

The initial and longest track, Abandon Yourself, alternates between sections where everyone plays nice with each other, in sort of a free jazz version of a ballad session, and moments when things come to a full boil. Probably the most fascinating part of this track, and the record overall, is the tension of the interaction between Amado and Mota, where Amado’s rational explorations of thematic elements are juxtaposed with Mota’s frenzied finger-picking and bursts of noise.

The two shorter tracks that follow are even more compelling than the first, each providing a clearer arc of tension and release with a little more economy of expression.

You would expect the bassist and drummer of the RED trio to be hand-in-glove, and they are, but this is Amado’s and Mota’s show. This round is a draw, and it’ll be interesting to see how things settle out should they tangle again. Craig Premo


Havia duas expectativas em torno da estreia desta nova formação de Rodrigo Amado: ou materializava em disco um concerto de há muitos meses que nos ficou na memória, onde a força do músculo nos convenceu do poder de fogo do quarteto, ou em estúdio (em Janeiro de 2011), com outra calma, outros diálogos e serenidades se encontrariam. Não fazemos a apologia de numa destas expectativas, mas agradou-nos entrar calmamente em “Abandon Yourself”, o primeiro tema que é uma estrada de meia hora onde fica quase tudo dito sobre o que estes excelentes músicos têm para fazer aqui. Talvez nos apeteça falar de como nos deslumbra Manuel Mota, que nem sempre ouvimos neste contexto colectivo, ou de como o Hernâni Faustino vai sendo um dos melhores contrabaixistas da nossa zona de influência. Ou, ainda, como Amado e Ferrandini, fruto das experiências num outro par de projectos, se vão entendendo às mil maravilhas e parecem quase fazer parte um do outro. Sente-se a energia no ar, a vontade em fazer mais, o entusiasmo da improvisação, e por isso esta estreia é tão fulgurante e nunca nos descansa os ouvidos. Flur


Nu zijn er dus drie nieuwe albums. Het eerste daarvan (op Clean Feed, het label dat Amado mee hielp opstarten) laat een nieuw kwartet aan het werk horen. Alhoewel, echt nieuw kan je dit Wire Quartet niet noemen, want de jonge Gabriel Ferrandini zit ook achter de vellen van het Motion Trio en naast hem krijgt hij gezelschap van bassist Hernani Faustino, zijn maatje bij het RED Trio. De band wordt vervolledigd door gitarist Manuel Mota, een wat miskende figuur die vooralsnog onder de radar is blijven steken, maar een cruciale rol speelt in het succes van deze indrukwekkende plaat. Zijn kribbelkrabbelstijl, deels verwant aan Derek Bailey, maar ook verankerd in een traditie van rock-‘n-skronk, zorgt voor een onaflatende rusteloosheid en een klankenonderzoek dat zelfs in de meest ingetogen momenten aangehouden wordt.

Doorheen drie stukken, waarvan het eerste bijna een half uur beslaat, laat het kwartet zich horen als een getalenteerde eenheid die bewegingen maakt tussen woelig of bluesy heen-en-weer-verkeer, maar soms ook gestaag aandikt en de temperatuur de hoogte injaagt, zodat je plots belandt in een uit de kluiten gewassen muur van geluid die zich niet helemaal laat temmen. Ferrandini en Faustino schuiven het geratel, gepluk en geritsel regelmatig terzijde voor iets dat bijna toegankelijk lijkt, maar echt doorsnee wordt het nooit. Dat hun samenwerking toch voor een trance-effect zorgt maakt het dan dubbel zo mooi en draagt bij tot de ongedwongen sfeer die doorheen het hele album loopt.

Amado heeft een warme, koffiekleurige klank en zal zelden de extremen van de mogelijkheden opzoeken, maar zorgt binnen die nauwere speelzone wel steeds voor uitdaging, met cyclische patronen, ideeënflarden die plots opduiken, even dienen als inspiratie voor variaties en vervolgens weer terzijde geschoven worden. Hij slaagt erin om riffjes te gebruiken die bluesy klinken zonder beroep te doen op voorspelbare ideetjes, maar net zo vaak een mysterieuze zone opzoeken. De stukken gaan allemaal ingetogen van start, maar hebben hun eigen karakter – de ene keer gevuld met cyclische saxpatronen en resonerende cimbalen (“Surrender”) en dan weer in een ontspannen wisselwerking waarbij Amado wel leidt, maar zijn compagnons voortdurend naast zich duldt (“”To The Music”). Het resultaat is soulvol, maar niet behaagziek, krachtig zonder patserig te zijn en vooral doordrongen van een explorerende intensiteit die meer dan drie kwartier aanhoudt. Guy Peters



“Wire Quartet” was instantly intriguing to me due to the presence of Manuel Mota on guitar, a musician whose work I’ve enjoyed very much, off and on, in the past. Ferrandini remains on drums but Hernani Faustino is now heard on bass. I think that, despite most evidence to the contrary, I always expect Mota to flow toward the quieter tendencies he showed on parts of “Leopardo” on Rossbin but I assume that’s simply not his predilection. He noisily, abstractly attacks matters here on the three improvised pieces in a way that’s indistinguishable, to me, from many a post-Bailey guitarist and (not that it’s necessarily a fair comparison) isn’t as attractive a foil for Amado as was Evans. Still, there are fine moments as when, midway through the long opening track, “Abandon Yourself”, things go from relatively harsh to lyrical (I have the general impression that Amado’s musicality functions better in more “stable” surroundings) and Mota is in more of a comping mode. But the track ends with a spate of treading water, bringing to mind one of my most common complaints against recent free jazz: the inability not to play, the insistence on (everyone) continuing to produce sounds long after the point of diminishing returns. The remaining two tracks have their moments, the improv meandering a bit then clicking for a while (here spurred on by both Amado and Faustino’s strong playing), all the music offering big rewards for listeners attuned to the style. It remains tough for me to really get into the music; my tastes have simply drifted far afield. I can only say that almost all of the music covered here today sounds at least as good as most of what I’ve encountered, in limited excursions, in the territory over the past 15-20 years. If your inclinations tilt that way, by all means check out this work. Brian Olewnick


The third and final recent release from Rodrigo Amado features his new Portuguese quartet: Manuel Mota on guitar, Hernani Faustino on doublebass, and Gabriel Ferrandini on drums. I have rarely heard Mota in such a manic mode: speed, damping techniques, jagged playing – he sounds closer to René Lussier or Eugene Chadbourne than to the microsonic projects I used to know him for. Refreshing. Faustino’s fluid playing is as thrilling as ever. And Amado is in great shape. Intensity in sensible doses. Monsieur Délire


Wire Quartet, que a su vez da título a la grabación, es un super-grupo de la vanguardia del jazz portugués. El contrabajista Hernani Faustino y el baterista Gabriel Ferrandini son “la rítmica” portuguesa. El guitarrista Manuel Mota es otra figura fundamental de la escena lusa.Su CD de estreno es a su vez (o bien podría haber sido) un par de grabaciones distintas. En la extensa (28 minutos) “Abandon Yourself” el desarrollo es habitual en el género de la libre improvisación idiomática: comenzar con un planteamiento abierto, sin olvidar ni la melodía ni el controlar una intensidad que va creciendo y decreciendo. Los dos temas restantes (“Surrender” y “To The Music”, de ocho y trece minutos) son más inmediatos, especialmente el segundo de ellos, en el que sobresale la magnífica interacción entre el guitarrista y el saxofonista.

Pachi Tapiz


Figure incontournable de la scène portugaise, le saxophoniste Rodrigo Amado fait partie de ces musiciens que l’on aime suivre dans chacun de ses projets. On reconnait immédiatement son jeu fièvreux, anguleux et massif, ici porté par une rythmique massive et virulente.
On connait l’importance notamment dans le Humanization Quartet de Luis Lopes, très électrique et à fleur de peau, ou en trio augmenté avec le Motion Trio où l’on retrouve le tromboniste chicagoan Jeb Bishop, mais aussi le batteur Gabriel Ferrandini.
Ce fidèle parmi les fidèles est d’ailleurs également à l’affiche du Wire Quartet, une formation purement lusitanienne que le label Clean Feed présente aujourd’hui, quand bien même cet album fut capté en 2011, soit peu de temps avant le premier album du Motion Trio. Ce retour aux sources chez Clean Feed pour Amado est surtout l’occasion de nous rappeler que le Portugal est l’une des plus belles scène Free d’Europe. Et ce quartet en est une belle vitrine.
Mais aussi que le catalogue de Clean Feed est absolument excitant.
Le Wire Quartet est une musique de blocs antagonistes qui cherchent par tous les moyens le contact. Aux extrémités, il y a le ténor d’Amado et le picking furieux du guitariste Manuel Mota. Au centre, il y a le batteur et le bassiste qui tentent de déblayer la profusion d’énergie et de la maîtriser jusqu’à ce que devienne plus douce, presque empreinte de quiétude.
Ainsi, “Surrender” est un bel exemple de rage lyrique qui se transforme peu à peu en douceur flegmatique, en concorde progressive qui ordonne le chaos.
Ce n’est pas la musique du quartet qui est frappé d’ataraxie, c’est un lâcher-prise progressif sous les coups de boutoirs conjugués d’un saxophone acerbe et d’une guitare convulsée. C’est une fièvre qui couve et dont on se remet pas, qui se laisse aller à la langueur pour mieux repartir vers des états plus impétueux à la fin de “To The Music”. L’album l’explicite d’ailleurs très bien : les morceau sont un jeu de piste qui donne un message.
“Abandon Yourself, Surrender To The Music”.
C’est tout ce qui se joue ici, dès la prise de parole liminaire, très coltranienne, de Rodrigo Amado. Elle va se faire bousculer par la montée en puissance inéluctable de la contrebasse. La guitare de Mota, disciple acharné de Derek Bailey est d’abord caressante. Elle va devenir de plus en plus acide, dure, et presque se concentrer dans un déluge noise que ne renierait pas Otomo Yoshihide ; le guitariste est tout au long de l’album en tout point impressionnant.
Il est le contrepoint parfait du ténor. Amado est plein, franc, massif. Mota est versatile, instable et voltigeur. Dans ce mouvement permanent, diablement Free, l’auditeur se laisse nécessairement porter par un flot qui peut essouffler ou ballotter, mais qui ne fait jamais totalement perdre pied, tant la base rythmique est insubmersible.
On se souvient que dans le Motion Trio, le violoncelle de Miguel Mira apportait une couleur particulière, se chargeant d’une grande part de musicalité. Ici, il n’en est rien : la contrebasse d’Hernani Faustino est sèche, contondante, et se marie à merveille avec le jeu nerveux du batteur, avec qui il partage par ailleurs le RED trio.
Dans le long morceau “Abandon Yourself”, la base rythmique guide le mouvement, passe de la rage à la quiétude comme on trace le lit artificiel d’un cours d’eau avant de bâtir un barrage. C’est ce qui donne à la musique du Wire Quartet cet aspect à la fois rugueux et sans apprêt et cette construction méticuleuse et millimétrée. Il y a ainsi un moment suspendu d’une rare intensité au coeur ce premier morceau, lorsque Ferrandini frappe ses cymbales à la manière d’un gong Shintô, transformant la tempête brusque en une brise chaleureuse qui fait voleter la poussière, entre l’archet de Faustino et le souffle profond d’Amado.
Le vent ne gronde plus, ne bouscule plus mais ne s’éteind pas et se tient près ; ce qui le rendrait presque plus menaçant de se retrouver ainsi en tapinois. Une puissance absolue mais sous contrôle qui peut frapper à tout moment, avec une force multipliée. L’uppercut est terrible, mais comme bien souvent, on en redemande. Franpi




Projet du saxophoniste Rodrigo Amado, avec Gabriel Ferrandini à la batterie, Hernâni Faustino à la guitare basse et Manuel Mota à la guitare. Premier album avec cette formation.Vous avez dit free-jazz ? Oui maman. Voilà une bonne dose d’électricité là où il faut, drette dans le cerveau. Ça blow mes amis, avec une guitare qui déchire sans jamais tomber dans l’inintelligible. Il y a du concret dans ces trois improvisations, dont une pièce de 28 minutes. Un jazz pour les roughs and toughs de ce monde. Ce n’est pas toujours dans le tapis, mais tout de même. Amado sait canaliser l’énergie de ses troupes, avant un nouveau départ tendu, avec un son de sax ténor bien gras. Maître de l’improvisation libre couplée à la guitare électrique, Rodrigo Amado est l’un des meilleurs dans ce genre d’élément. Le saxophoniste portugais possède une feuille de route impressionnante dans le monde du free-jazz et du free-rock. Pour se convaincre de son talent, je vous suggère d’écouter le Luis Lopes Humanization Quartet, chez Ayler Records. Ici, il joue beaucoup de notes, triture son phrasé, gauche-droite, bas-haut, toujours en quête d’originalité bien concentré. Le support rythmique est adéquat, jamais perdu, la guitare basse étant discrète, mais nécessaire. Mention spéciale au jeu de Manuel Mota à la guitare, avec un finger picking du tonnerre, rapide et sec. Le sax et la guitare sont les deux locomotives narratives sur cet album. Attachez-vous bien, quand ça décolle, ça décoiffe !



Préférant le feutre au silex, le ténor de Rodrigo Amado se met à l’unisson du Wire Quartet : intimité ouatée, longue exploration de la matière, crescendos goulument exposés. Mais, incité par le jeu profond et abondant du batteur-percussionniste (Gabriel Ferrandini, un percutant comme on les aime), le saxophoniste moissonne des poudres grises, volcaniques. Et les fait partager à ses petits camarades (Manuel Mota, faux Bailey, vrai bluesman / Hernani Faustino, contrebassiste à la découpe franche). Ainsi s’exprimait le Wire Quartet en deux journées de janvier 2011.Luc Bouquet