Rodrigo Amado, one of the label’s favourite saxophone players, makes his debut on Tombed Visions and the cassette format with two highly skilled and prolific collaborators, double bassist Goncalo Almeida and drummer Marco Franco, for a soul searing set of passionate and spiritual enriching improvisations. It is the deep emotiveness is the trio’s playing that makes The Attic immediately stand out, its vitality, its range and its ability to channel the spirit those ground breaking recordings made in the heyday of the Jazz avant-garde, full of musical colour and raw energy that makes this one of the proudest editions to the label’s catalogue. Astonishing music made by astonishing players.
"A masterful concert of freely improvised creative jazz performed live at SMUP, Parede, in Lisboa, Portugal in 2015 by the trio of saxophonist Rodrigo Amado, double bassist Goncalo Almeida, and drummer Marco Franco, in a great dialog of skill and control that simmers without frenetic excess, leaving room for unique textural and introspective moments."
""Portugal’s avant-jazz scene continues to surprise and delight. Recorded in the loft space at SMUP, a pioneering arts venue in the Lisbon satellite of Paredes, The Attic brings together three of the country’s finest improvising musicians: bassist Gonçalo Almeida, tenor saxophonist Rodrigo Amado, and drummer Marco Franco. Amado’s star is on the rise, following 2015’s excellent This Is Our Language with Joe McPhee, Kent Kessler and Chris Corsano, and last year’s superb offering from his own Motion Trio. He’s a generous collaborator, and The Attic is as much Almeida and Franco’s show, with the bassist’s elegant and powerful playing often setting the scene.
‘Shadow’ opens with a beautiful bowed solo. Playing in the instrument’s higher register, Almeida teases out elegant melodic phrases, shaded with darker double stops. There’s a beautiful clarity and light to this piece, with its modal harmonies giving rise to lines that remind me at times of European folk forms and minimalism. Amado plays the tenor in a pinched altissimo that sounds uncannily like a stopped trumpet, but for the fluidity of the steps, adding to music’s heightened sense of otherness. By the end, he’s making like Pharoah Sanders at his most blissful, giving a spiritual jazz sermon from some holy mountain.
If Franco is a subtle presence on the quieter tracks, his colouristic approach takes on a fauvist intensity on ‘Board’, where he scurries around the kit, firing off short fills and accents over a free pulse. Combined with Almeida’s rock solid bass strut, it gives the music a non-linear momentum, so it breathes and flexes, rather than tearing off in a single direction. ‘Nail’ comes in hard, with Amado blowing in a classic free jazz style over Almeida’s dark and woody bass. Franco’s drums crash, rumble and splash, but his light touch ensures each hit lands with a gymnast’s agility, rather than a blunt force. Amado alternates between high, strangulated tones and guttural honks, filling the gaps with cheeky staccato triplets. Yet while some saxophonists would deliver such sounds with macho volume and blare, Amado plays them with a subtler, rounded tone. He’s authoritative but never domineering, serving the collective improvisation."
- Stewart Smith, The Quietus
"It was the last concert of 2015 in SMUP, the space in the Wall, municipality of Cascais, which has become one of the most important centers of creative jazz and improvised music that are practiced in Portugal. A few days after Christmas (December 22), Dutch-born bass player Gonçalo Almeida returned to his country to debut Rodrigo Amado (tenor saxophone) and Marco Franco (drums) on the occasion. Height, it was not known if there would be follow-up. The attic of the SMUP was at the wedge and the music surpassed all the expectations: it is the record of this event that is here in disc, left by one of the most important publishers of the present time in this area, Lithuanian NoBusiness Records.
Almeida, Amado and Franco are very different musicians. The first one has developed its route between jazzcore (name that refers to the bridges with punk and the metal, cases of the groups Albatre and Spinifex), the jazz of chamber (Lama) and the free improvisation (collaborations, for example, with Tobias Klein), the saxophonist is known for his hard-core freestyle jazz, Motion Trio, Wire Quartet forms, or his associations with musicians such as Joe McPhee, Kent Kessler and Chris Corsano, and the drummer has a widespread presence On several fronts, from "mainstream" jazz (Rui Caetano Trio) to "indie" rock (Memória de Peixe), going through projects characterized by the unusual nature of their concepts, such as the Mikado Lab, or experimental improvisation approach. His duo with Nuno Rebelo. What comes in the five tracks of this CD goes from the introspective to the visceral, in a wide range of approaches that counts, on the one hand, with an almost bucolic introduction of contrabass, in harmonics exploration, and on the other with explosions of energy overflying by a Sax tenor in "stream-of-consciousness". Variations from one end to the other happen in minutes, the outcomes never being predictable. The three musicians were on fire, motivated by the process of discovering a common language they had begun, and the music - magnificent, sweeping - reflects that. Disc of the year, no doubt. And on the other with explosions of energy flying over a stream-of-consciousness tenor sax. Variations from one end to the other happen in minutes, the outcomes never being predictable. The three musicians were on fire, motivated by the process of discovering a common language they had begun, and the music - magnificent, sweeping - reflects that. Disc of the year, no doubt. And on the other with explosions of energy flying over a stream-of-consciousness tenor sax. Variations from one end to the other happen in minutes, the outcomes never being predictable. The three musicians were on fire, motivated by the process of discovering a common language they had begun, and the music - magnificent, sweeping - reflects that. Disc of the year, no doubt."
- Rui Eduardo Paes, Jazz.pt
"This is a stellar freely improvised session featuring Rodrigo Amado on tenor saxophone, Goncalo Almeida on bass and Marco Franco on drums, recorded live in Portugal in December of 2015. "Shadow" opens the album with scraping bowed bass that is recorded beautifully, giving the sound a physical immediacy and presence. After the epic bowed bass opening, Amado's raw, rending saxophone and Franco's measured percussion enter, imposing their power upon the proceedings, burning a path through everything before them like a flaming sword and developing a strong and supple improvisation, flexing and adjusting as the music demands, creating a towering collective improvisation among equals. "Hole" and "Spring" develop deep dark growls of saxophone and howling long breaths of scaling air. Sharp percussion and plucked bass meet shorter bursts of saxophone, building a biting improvisation that surges forward. The muscular playing drives through and then open space emerges for a change of pace, with deep elastic bass and scattered percussion. Slightly softer and reverent sounding saxophone glides in, merging carefully with the other two instruments. Their improvisation grows organically encompassing the sound space by playing with wit and energy, which builds deeper as the performance progresses and choppy saxophone with drums bob and weaving in tandem. The music is further buoyed by furiously bowed bass and develops a swirling intensity. The lengthy centerpiece "Board" begins with smears of bowed bass, which is eventually met with skittish percussion. Raw taut saxophone joins the fray as the volume and intensity of the music increases. The group develops a powerful collective improvisation, drawing on a wealth of knowledge in pursuit of pure sound and vision. This sixteen minute plus improvisation is very impressive and continually evolving, finally into a filling-rattling drum solo with ominous bass in support. The concluding track, "Nail," is an absolute blast, with everyone playing their hearts out at full speed. The music surges forward like an unstoppable wave, gathering energy as it rolls on. There is soaring saxophone and vicious drumming yoked together with superb bass playing. Savage in its intensity, it is an absolutely thrilling ending to a terrific recording, one of the finest of the year to date."
"A concert at the well-known, at least locally-owned SMUP cultural shrine, and onstage the strikingly trio - bass player Gonçalo Almeida, saxophonist Rodrigo Amado and drummer Marco Franco. Each of them has already hosted on these pages many times, so we will not fuss the language to bring them closer to music. Where do we finally have a global network .... Let's stop by the fact that a lot of good guys on stage performed improvised music.
The concert will consist of five sections of music, exceptionally neatly titled, and will take 52 minutes. In particularly good music stores, you will find it under the title The Attic (NoBusiness Records, 2017), and the company's personal data are arranged in alphabetical order.
Shadow . At the threshold of this musical epic, we are put into a sharp razor-sharp sound, which makes a bow in an acoustical short with a well-heated double bass. The sound is full, deep and extremely clean. For a moment we get the impression that Almeida has decided to play one of Johann Sebastian Bach's cello sonatas and it does so in a gently pharmaceutical rasping. After a few tens of seconds we pondered the earthly tenor saxophone, accompanied by a non- binding brushing on the muted drum set. But the smirk, like the title Shadow , constantly sets the prospect of this improvised ... sonata (still having the sound, bordering the absolute!). It is only in the middle of this story that the double bassist goes into more typical walking , biting the furrows in the dance floor, and stating the path for a lively, flowery and consistent saxophonist. At the end of the narrative dynamics, giving a chance for the artist to become a drummer.
Hole . From the threshold of this hole Amado resolves to dispel the doubts as to his own disposition of the day. Yes, it is in perfect form! Deep, shaky temp, with a tune, although the bass player of course can go lower. Narration is good and not accepting empty places. Franco, after a drummer machine, is now excited to be less exciting, but is stocky , stiff and firmly sticks to Almeida's walking . The section goes down to the golden fleece , and the deliberately Rollinsonian saxophonist comments on the side.
Spring . Democracy seems to be the great strength of this three-man army of musicians. Compositions (see cover on the cover) are of course in .... 100% improvised, which is enjoyed by reviewer and whole Europe east of Lisbon. From the first moment of Spring , we experience juicy, collective mockery , Amado's quietly muted (here Franco's artistic position in the group is growing in the eyes!). The saxophonist comes into play calm, clean and lightly tone, meaning the most pensive, so far, fragment of the concert. Almeida plays almost flawlessly , and Franco shakes his set of bumps from the dust. The atmosphere thickens with every tear gas, though not urgently. Hatches slower than ours this year ... spring. However, a full-size gallop of unrivaled beauty is found in Puentes.
Board . The longest part of the concert (over 16 min) the musicians start so nimbly, in such a strong co-operation, as if they were doing all their lives together. Almeida waits for the right moment, comes in with a fire-breathing smirk, is aggressive, maybe a bit less bachowski , though still pretty charming (reviewer's dread: and who's going to be declared the real hunting king?!?). Its partners are up to the impression. The double bassist is left alone and tearing our hair out of the head with a psychedelic-delirious " what a game !". Franco will join him on Russian castanets and gently stamp the space. Amado's back is a shabby pinch, as if a little on the mushrooms . Bore hole in the reviewer's blank head ( bubbling tempo ), looking for a hitch, and then grabbing a snorkel and driving the trio into unsurpassed depths of excellence (from reviewer's kiosk: sound quality releases the ocean endorfin!) Great proportions in the placement of instruments in the acoustic space of the concert!) .
Nail . Dynamics, aggression, section like Formula 1! Amado reads their thoughts and puts on ornaments of delight. If his Motion Trio is an exceptional butterfly, then this composition resembles a phenomenal aircraft carrier! The saxophonist grows up in his eyes, with every year as if he was falling for years, he is as energetic as a youngster at the stud, and at the same time having veteran experience of improvisation. And it's a good one, personally, especially in the context of Portuguese musicians. In a piece with a nail does not take the instrument from the mouth and rules on the stage that the chips are flying !!!! From reviewer's kiosk: best record of the first four months of 2017! If someone reports a separate sentence, that means deaf!"
"The independent record label NoBusiness Records is located in Lithuania. The catalog of the label contains some beautiful publications in the field of jazz and improvised music created by musicians from all over Europe and America. It is therefore not surprising that the three musicians Portuguese Gonçalo Almeida, Rodrigo Amado and Marco Franco their CD The Attic display the Lithuanian label. The album is indeed on tape available in English cassette label Tombed Visions.
Bassist Almeida we know Albatre, one from Rotterdam operating trio that makes heavy jazz with influences from punk, metal and noise, and LAMA, three which is more restrained in the back, but with avant-garde touches. The contrast between the two groups is large, which highlights the versatility of the bassist. Together with the German drummer Jörg A. Schneider Almeida the duo Roji whose strong last year, The Hundred Headed Women appeared.
Franco is a drummer who has experience in playing mainstream jazz in the Rui Caetano Trio, indie rock in Memória de Peixe and singer / songwriter folk in Bloom. He is also active in free improvised music including Deux Maisons & Clocks and Clouds, and in the past he produced part of Lisbon Improvisation Players, Mikado Lab, Peste & Sida and and Despe & Siga.
Tenor saxophonist Amado is part of the quartet with Joe McPhee, Kent Kesler and Chris Corsano, the brilliant free jazz CD, 2015 This Is Our recent light showed. Appeared late last year of his Motion Trio (with drummer Gabriel Ferrandini and cellist Miguel Mira) almost as beautiful Desire & Freedom . From both albums show that Amado, although a very talented soloist, especially interested in is the game of his fellow musicians, and in the final result, which the saxophonist also grants the space his teammates to excel.
This is evident in The Attic , which the sax as the solo instrument calibrated not necessarily have to be the main voice. Bassplayer Almeida is correct often dominantly present, as in the long aperture of 'Shadow', which he solo accounts for, stroking, are often high, nuts playing, with a fine ear for melody and harmony. After three minutes, report the other two players; Franco somewhat reluctantly laying accents, but Amado more robust, sometimes whistling, and high, if he plays alto instead of tenor. The saxophonist switches effortlessly between boisterous play and lyrical passages. Eventually, Amado also stirs up the low register, while Almeida no longer strokes but picks and Franco's inventive drumming increasingly comes to the fore.
Amado opens 'Hole' with vibrating sounds and staccato play, while Almeida and Franco are the rumbling background, but demand more attention, especially when Amado proceeds to playing more melodic phrases. Franco's inimitable busy with snare, cymbals and bass drum and Almeida made a shaky foundation. The result is a delicious playful piece which also is rich in dynamics.
Bass and percussion start 'Spring', with particular (and again) stands out the versatility of Almeida. A melodic bass pattern Amado then made a slow, somewhat gloomy tenorsaxpartij and if something appears that these are improvised music with heart and soul is in this passage, in which the musicians still alive make music. Franco used a number of objects, but is also well represented with play on the cymbals.
With over sixteen minutes is "Board" the longest stretch on record, beginning with start / stop play of Amado and industrious play of Franco. Then show the three musicians at the same time an expressive side. After that passage Almeida plays a high bass solo, accompanying himself, like a second bass player playing in the background. Later Franco takes over that role, though he is more to the fore with subtle percussion game. Nice is also how the perspective is shifting slowly from bass to tenor when Amado him or herself again. Lies in his way of playing in the faster and more uncomfortable sounding portions still a certain lyricism, which posed a major attraction of his game.
Finally, the trio is quite free from the busy 'Nail', the plate closing energetically. This puts an end to an album in which the instruments and the free play of the three Portuguese beautiful colors together, each of the musicians, the room (and take) to express his individual stamp on the whole. Almeida, Amado Franco and bring out the best in each other and that produces this overwhelmingly beautiful free jazz CD."
"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.
- Avant Music News
"The Attic documents a live performance of an ad-hoc trio of three prolific Portuguese musicians working in the greater field of free jazz - double bass player Gonçalo Almeida, known from the LAMA and Albatre trios, the Tetterapadequ quartet and the Spinifex quintet, tenor sax player Rodrigo Amado, leader of the Motion Trio and the international This Is Our Language quartet (with Joe McPhee, Kent Kessler and Chris Corsano), and drummer Marco Franco, known from trumpeter Luis Vicente’s Clocks and Clouds quartet. The trio was recorded at the SMUP, in Lisbon’s suburb Parede on December 2015.
This ad-hoc meeting of these strong-minded musicians radiates a raw immediacy and also a strong affinity. The sense of freshness charges this meeting with a sense of danger and the liberty of taking chances and accordingly all five pieces flow but not in a linear manner. Still, the three musicians always opt for a highly collaborative and supportive interplay without asserting clear leading roles. In a way, this trio actually applies - literally - Amado’s prescriptions for his own Motion Trio, as were the titles of the pieces of its latest release: “Freedom is a Two-Edged Sword”, “Liberty” and “Responsibility” (Desire & Freedom, Not Two, 2016).
Almeida opens the performance with a commanding arco solo on “Shadow”. Amado later stresses the harmonic development suggested by Almeida with charismatic emotional calls, while Franco solidifies the rhythmic basis with subtle colors and all three together build to a powerful spiritual ritual. The following “Hole” is free-associative improvisation that avoids settling on a pulse or a clear narrative, but still moves in a tight and intense interplay. The sparse and lyrical “Spring” emphasizes, even more, the versatility of this trio as it shifts quickly between simple melodic motifs and pulses. The longest piece, the 16-minutes “Board” is structured as a classic, fiery, free jazz piece, spiraling patiently around a playful, muscular pulse that becomes more intense, stronger and ecstatic as the song progresses. The last, and shortest, piece “Nail” deepens the trio collective rhythmic interplay with a manic, Ayler-ian blow-out that brings to mind the sheer, boundless energy of outfits like those of Peter Brötzmann or The Thing."
- Eyal Hareuveni, Free Jazz Blog