Tag Archives: Rodrigo Amado

Rodrigo Amado Embraces Jazz’s Elemental Nature on “A History of Nothing”

Rodrigo Amado

Photo by Geert Vandepoele

“I don’t work with any concepts. We just go into the studio or onto the stage and play,” says Portuguese saxophonist Rodrigo Amado. For Amado, freedom is about creating music in the moment, from a blank slate: “If we are improvising from nothing, then we can really focus 100 percent on the moment.”

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Rodrigo Amado on Collaboration and Why “Freedom is a Two-Edged Sword”

Rodrigo-Amado-Motion-Trio-by-João-de-Sá-600.jpg

Rodrigo Amado Motion Trio. Photo by by João de Sá.

Portuguese saxophonist Rodrigo Amado records and performs in a wide variety of contexts, but his longest-running group is Motion Trio, with cellist Miguel Mira and drummer Gabriel Ferrandini. Their music combines the languages of free jazz and European improv; they can swagger like a traditional saxophone trio, or simply be three men in a subtle and constantly-evolving musical conversation. Mira’s use of cello instead of bass, and Ferrandini’s skittering exploration of the drum kit (recalling Tony Oxley’s work with Cecil Taylor), are matched by Amado’s muscular but introspective phrases.

They frequently collaborate with fellow avant-gardists: In 2012, they recorded a studio disc, The Flame Alphabet, and a live one, Burning Live at Jazz Ao Centro, with trombonist Jeb Bishop (Vandermark 5, Flying Luttenbachers). In 2014, they made The Freedom Principle and Live in Lisbon with trumpeter Peter Evans (Mostly Other People Do The Killing). Their latest album, Desire & Freedom, is the first since their 2009 debut to feature just the three core musicians. Its three improvised tracks range from 15 to 20 minutes in length, but always convey a clear sense of purpose. The first, “Freedom is a Two-Edged Sword,” takes its title from an essay by rocket scientist and occult weirdo Jack Parsons, which reads in part, “Freedom is a two-edged sword of which one edge is liberty and the other responsibility, on which both edges are exceedingly sharp.”

Amado spoke to us by phone from his home in Lisbon.

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