Press about Rodrigo Amado

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Reviews of Rodrigo Amado The Bridge Beyond the Margins

Best Of 2023:

Rodrigo Amado is one of the six musicians of the year on the El Intruso list. Also he is second tenor saxophonist and Beyond the Margins is one of the Albums of the Year.

Number one album of the year by the Free Jazz Collective

Number one album of the year by Tom Hull / Hullworks

In the top 10 of American critic Troy Dostert (All About Jazz)  Stalwart free-jazz saxophonist Amado may most frequently be found in piano-less trios with bass and drums, but here he appears once again in a quartet with pianist Alexander von Schlippenbach, with whom he recorded previously on 2021’s The Field (No Business). There is an undeniable chemistry between the two, highlighting Amado’s lyrical aspect amidst the many fireworks, particularly alongside the presence of bassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten and drummer Gerry Hemingway, who are able to find nuances worth exploring even amidst the group’s most intense moments.

In the top 10 of John Sharpe (All About Jazz)  The Bridge may be one of the most potent all-around units assembled by Portuguese tenor saxophonist Rodrigo Amado. His partners read like an extract from an international free jazz who’s who: German pianist Alexander von Schlippenbach, American drummer Gerry Hemingway and Norwegian bassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten. They deliver peaks of intensity separated by reflective interludes that nurture the kernels of the subsequent ascents, underpinned by a staggering depth of interplay in which there is always someone doing something you might not quite expect.

Number 5 in Chris Monsen’s Listening Booth

In the Best of the Year list of Jan Granlie, Salt Peanuts

Paul Medrano / Best of Jazz The talent, energy, freedom, imagination, and clear determination to make every moment count are all present in this album, making it a true gem to listen to.

Annual Francis Davis Jazz Poll

The New York City Jazz Record  Best of 2023 (Honorable Mention)

Number two at Best of 2023 at

Derek Taylor / Dusted (Honorable Mention) 

João Morado / Radar Radio

Mike Borella / AMN Best of 2023

Vagner Pitta / Instrumental Verves

Turgay Yalçın / Dark Blue Notes 

Ali Haluk Imeryuz / Cazkolik

 Phil Overeem / Living to Listen

Lee Rice Epstein / But Does it Swing

Steve Pick / Steve Pick’s Writing Place

More reviews:

The principal work here is the forty-minute “Beyond the Margins”, an extended free improvisation… It’s a kind of ideal conversation while simultaneously a collectively and continuously shaped creation, the substance of the time of its making… each stellar individual contribution conditioned by collective support and response, with Amado achieving levels of articulate intensity that may not have occurred on previous recordings. It’s essentially a trance, trance as transport and journey, its revelations signaled from the pensive grandeur of its opening through all its dimensions, including its abstract fluting, torrential knottings (perhaps matched elsewhere but not exceeded) and sudden liberations. The performance of Albert Ayler’s “Ghosts” calls for a special note. It is extraordinary, both in its sound and its magisterial presence… that melody, initiated in a whisper, soars as authentic tribute and visionary invocation on Amado’s own rich, complex, precise and distinct timbres, inflections and emotions, each note, each sound as if weighed on an alchemist’s scale. As elsewhere, the group is superb.
Stuart Broomer / Free Jazz Collective

The aptly titled Beyond the Margins is just the latest entry in tenor saxophonist Rodrigo Amado’s burgeoning catalog, and it is certainly further proof that Amado is among the most exciting and accomplished practitioners of free music in the jazz world. Each new release seems to allow him to hone his craft with ever-greater precision, and with an even wider range of emotional resonances. And with a line-up of free jazz veterans that includes pianist Alexander von Schlippenbach, bassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten, and drummer Gerry Hemingway, this is an album destined to raise Amado’s visibility and recognition even higher. (Troy Dostert, All About Jazz)

To me, it’s some of the most vibrant improvised music I’ve heard all year, a reminder of the bracing power of creation in real-time. For all the power and density of the music, it’s got a fleetness and elegance to it at all times. The four-way conversation is supersonic throughout, with a vitality and momentum that’s outside the lines (or, yes, beyond the margins). (Jason Bivins, Point of Departure)

Amado’s bridge is the span linking the spirit of improvisation Rollins applied to composed music and modern free improvisation. The quartet’s cover of Ayler’s “Ghosts” may be the highlight here. Amado eases into the simple melody as if he were modeling Lester Young before he shifts into the Ayler paint-peeling tenor sound. (Mark Corroto / All About Jazz)

Portuguese sax hero Rodrigo Amado delivers a masterpiece with The Bridge international supergroup. All are united through improvisation, and a need to push things forward with a remarkable sense of purpose, clarity and depth, discipline and balance. This masterful performance is closed with «(Visiting) Ghosts», Albert Ayler’s seminal piece, with The Bridge evoking Ayler’s emotional cry with every breath and sound, and insisting that music – bold, powerful and imaginative as the one of Amado, von Schlippenbach, Håker Flaten and Hemingway –  is the healing force of the universe. You can not ask for more (Eyal Hareuveni / Salt Peanuts)

Amado’s own rich, complex, precise and distinct timbres, inflections and emotions, each note, each sound as if weighed on an alchemist’s scale. (…) the group is superb. (Stuart Broomer / Free Jazz Collective)

The talent, energy, freedom, imagination, and their clear determination to make every moment count are all present in this album, making it a true gem to listen to. (Best of Jazz)

Amado and The Bridge demonstrate a remarkable ability to work at both micro and macro levels, crafting moments that captivate the attention of open-eared listeners. Alternating between apparent stagnancy, simmering tension, and fiery explosions, this is a record free jazzers should go for. (Filipe Freitas / Jazz Trail)

So, in a very short space of time, we are already enveloped by this music that develops between breathing and boiling points, reaching its peak from the 23rd minute onwards, when Amado gradually raises the tone, until he rips the spaces apart with his caustic breath, with the piano in hypnotic lines in the background – chilling. (Fabricio Vieira / Free Form Free Jazz )

This contrasts with Amado’s tenor, which comes from a bluesier free jazz tradition; together they vary pace and intensity deftly, trading off fast repeated phrases and cerebral mind-melds before Amado gets to hit his Rollinsesque high notes. (Brad Luen, Semipop Life )

The Bridge may be one of the most potent all round units assembled by Portuguese tenor saxophonist Rodrigo Amado. That is saying something considering his previous alliances. It results in a staggering depth of interplay in which there is always someone doing something you might not quite expect. John Sharpe / All About Jazz

It is tempting to call this a bridging form of free jazz – in the sense that it is music that also has much to offer those seeking something tangible. This is most evident through Amado’s exquisite tenor saxophone playing and warm, inviting tone. There are echoes of Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane and Albert Ayler. Amado has a clear penchant for thematic lines and melodies, which he then takes on several explorations. (Chris Monsen / Klassekampen)

Over the last couple of decades, Amado has built up an impeccable reputation that gives him a place in the international pantheon of improvisers, assuming himself as a bridge between traditions, continents, eras and practices. And on all these fronts Amado imposes himself with the unshakeable authority that comes from someone who has found a unique perspective for an art that remains in a constant state of revolution. (Rui Miguel Abreu / Expresso)

Although we know from many stories that names don’t play by themselves, and that advanced age artists can make music on the half-whistle, these trappings do not apply to The Bridge quartet! This is a cosmic quality of free music firmly rooted in the jazz idiom. Great communication and astute interactions create incredible color here. Particularly phenomenal is the droning finale, adorned with vocalizations by the drummer. (Andrzej Nowak / Spontaneous Music Tribune )

This is the best post-Coltrane and post-Ware free jazz that I ever heard. An amazing album!!! – Maciej Lewenstein – The Amateur’s Guide to Avantgarde

All four are of course brilliant instrumentalists, and when coupled with the fact that they are listeners on the same level who want each other and the music well, this has become a short hour of both melodic free jazz and free jazz of a very mature and exciting caliber. The Bridge is a quartet I would have loved to have seen and heard on a stage here at home – the answer to why can be found on “Beyond the Margins 
Tor Hammerø / Nettavisen

To call Håker Flaten and Hemingway a rhythm section would be quite inappropriate, as each of them is such an autonomous source of impulses and receivers as they behave in an energetically controlled collective manner. On “(visiting) Ghosts” a centerpiece of Albert Ayler is brought from the afterlife. His tail unfolds all the devotion and power that, even 60 years later, give free improvisation a universal anchor. Call it a soul. –
Pirmin Bossart / Jazz’n’More

The meeting of The Bridge is of significant importance to the dynamics of free jazz today, perhaps even historic in the development of this genre, as only future will tell, because it brings together musicians from different generations, with very marked paths, in a good way, even decisive, in the construction of the language and aesthetics of free jazz and creative music and free improvisation. 
Sofia Rajado / 

An anchor to the past to keep looking forward, as the white-hot reinterpretation of “Ghosts,” of which Ayler would surely have said good things, also lucidly reiterates. 
Piercarlo Poggio / The New Noise 

Vittorio Lo Conte / Kathodik

Nagy Sándor / JazzMa 

Mike Borella / AMN Picks of The Week

Gonçalo Frota / Público 

Giuseppe Mavilla / Scrivere di Jazz

Radiohoerer Musik Tipps

Turgay Yalçın / Dark Blue Notes

“No matter how spontaneous the response is, no matter how rich and ingenious the language used is; it is above all the warm-blooded and almost sensual decisiveness that underlines here that this quartet constantly plays with a clenched fist that is timeless.” – Guy Peters / Enola

“A new release from the quartet consisting of Rodrigo Amado, Joe McPhee, Kent Kessler and Chris Corsano means buying blind. Not only does the quartet consist of musicians who each have a considerable track record, but above all this foursome has one of the most impressive (free) jazz albums of recent years to its name. This is This Is Our Language, released in 2015. Three years later they did it all over again with A History of Nothing. Let The Free Be Men is the third direct hit in a row for this quartet, which can be both solid and vulnerable. This music is not about technical skills but about feeling. The musical passion is audible and tangible. This is free music that you will never get tired of.” – Gert Derkx / Opduvel 

“Rodrigo Amado adds another stunning entry to his discography with the third album from his This Is Our Language Quartet. The resultant blend of spontaneous free jazz is, by turns, refined, beautiful, exhilarating, heart-rending and belligerent… one of the finest bands around.” – John Sharpe / All About Jazz 

“The new album of Portuguese sax hero Rodrigo Amado and his This Is Our Language Quartet is one of those rare albums that your life may feel poor without them. The title of the album, as well as the name of the four pieces, capture the essence and the spirit of the music of this great quartet – fiery and focused but also introspective and most humane, resisting conventional narratives but always coherent and remarkably poetic, and, naturally, demanding deep and attentive listening.” – Eyal Hareuveni / Salt Peanuts 

“What this new album does is to reset the political aspect that is at the origin of this current of jazz. So, here we have one of the most important editions of the current year, which can very well become an unavoidable reference for years to come…” – Rui Eduardo Paes / JazzPt 

“A masterpiece of the contemporary free jazz at the interface with free improvisation.” – Maciej Lewenstein / The Amateur’s Guide to Avantgarde 

“Congratulations to Rodrigo Amado, two masterpieces very close together, first Let the Free Be Men and now The Field.” – Stuart Broomer

“As excellent as their first and second albums were, this quartet is not one content to rest. Language, of course, evolves, rules change with usage, new vocabulary is added, and ever more complex ideas are conceptualized. Between these four seasoned players, their language is all of this, alive, evolving, building and changing. In some sense, this group takes most expressive elements of free jazz – which is indeed a lexical sponge – and wrings out the best words.” – Paul Acquaro / Free Jazz Blog 

“Every time I give one of this group’s albums a listen, I’m amazed by how much more there is to discover in it. Amado, McPhee, Kessler, and Corsano have shown themselves to be one of the all-time greatest quartets.” – Lee Rice Epstein / Free Jazz Blog

“If you are not hip to Portuguese saxophonist Rodrigo Amado, where, as they say, have you been?” – Mark Corroto / All about Jazz 

“The American quartet of our favorite Portuguese saxophonist (in fact, in the last decade, probably the best working band in the world in the category of completely liberated free jazz) will play bloody free jazz for us, which is based on full improvisation and, as always, they will do it in a masterful way. Their next pearl in the crown lasts 44 minutes and several seconds.” – Andrzej Nowak  / Spontaneous Music Tribune 

“For while each musician represents a different generation, and they have played in some pretty dissimilar settings away from this one, they’re united in their commitment to promoting intensity and invention on the bandstand. Amado may have his name at the front of the band, but one suspects that he’s selected these musicians for the ways they can push him. Gruff and agile, he rides their vectors of influence like an ocean bird wheeling from one updraft to the next.” – Bill Meyer / Dusted 

“On the furious opening track, “Resist!”, Amado’s immensely strong tenor dominates the ensemble, followed by McPhee’s querulous, distinctive tone on soprano; the track ends at a level of intensity rarely found even in free jazz.” – Andy Hamilton / The Wire

“The album carves out a stylistic drift for a kind of state-of-the-art freedom we come to expect from Rodrigo.” – Gregory Applegate Edwards / Gapplegate Music Review 

Filipe Freitas / Jazz Trail
Tim Niland / Music and More
Ken Waxman / Jazzword

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