aylCD-113Ayler Records 113 cd



Luis Lopes – electric guitar
Rodrigo Amado – tenor saxophone
Aaron González – bass
Stefan González – drums

Cd Tracks:

1. Dehumanization Blues
2. Jungle Gymnastics
3. Two Girls
4. Effigy
5. Procurei-te na noite
6. infidelities
7. Eavesdropper (for Dennis González)…………. (8.) Ruas sentimentais

Release Information:

2, 4, 5 by Luis Lopes
3 by Rodrigo Amado
2, 6 by Aaron González
7 by Humanization 4tet
8 by Stefan González

Recorded December 3 & 4 2009 by Joaquim Monte on Namouche Studios, Lisbon, Portugal. Mixed and Mastered August 2010 by Joaquim Monte at Namouche Studios, Lisbon, Portugal. Photography by António Júlio Duarte. Layout and design by Stephane Berland. Produced by Luís Lopes. Executive producer for Ayler Records is Syephane Berland.

Press Release:

Following his Humanization 4tet’s debut in 2008, Portuguese guitarist Luís Lopes joins forces again with Rodrigo Amado on tenor sax and González brothers Aaron and Stefan on bass and drums for a new muscular set of tunes where free jazz meets rock meets blues at the crossroads.



One of the most sheerly joyful bands to emerge in recent memory, this combo – guitarist Luís Lopes, tenor ace Rodrigo Amado, and Aaron and Stefan González on bass and drums respectively – delivers one helluva sophomore record on this aptly titled disc. As good as the band sounded on their Clean Feed debut, they are simply on fire here, with the brothers Gonzalez sounding as good as I’ve ever heard them. It’s terrific from start to finish, tight and well-paced, with invention, smarts, and heart in the right balence. The material ranges from textural free ballads to skronk fury to dirty, gnarly swing and outrageous funk raveups. And on tne opening “Dehumanization Blues” they summon up that kind of range in the space of one piece, suggesting some weird amalgam of Blood Ulmer, 1970s Braxton, and the opening to “Meeting of the Spirits.” Throughout, Amado turns in several churning solos, both graceful and muscular. And Lopes ranges from soaring lines to flinty skronk to sheer noisy howls. They take in jaunty harmolodics via the Vandermark 5 on “Jungle Gymnastics” and “Procurei-te na Noite”, and establish limber, confident funk counterpoint on “Two Girls”. And they can move seam-lessly from these areas into mournful space (“Effigy”) or even all the way into the floating world, as with the droning, rich tonality of “Eavesdropper (for Dennis González)”. Fittingly, the piece ends with a long pause that’s picked up into the funky shuffle of “Ruas Sentimentais”. An eager, exploratory band and just a superb record”  Jason Bivins / Signal to Noise

Lo si era capito già nel 2009, quando uscì su Clean Feed Humanization 4tet, che il chitarrista Luís Lopes aveva trovato la proverbiale quadratura del cerchio arruolando il sax tenore del connazionale Rodrigo Amado e affidando la ritmica ai fratelli Aaron e Stefan González (di recente ascoltati a fianco del padre, il trombettista texano Dennis González, in Cape of Storms. Due anni dopo, Electricity, fatica numero due del quartetto pubblicata dalla Ayler Records, conferma la caratura della band e, per la proprietà transitiva, l’eccellente stato di salute della new wave jazzistica portoghese.

I quattro mettono le carte in tavola fin da subito. L’iniziale “Dehumanization Blues” è una revolverata sparata a bruciapelo, una torrida cavalcata free che si snoda lungo un percorso reso accidentato dalle imboscate noise della chitarra di Lopes, un po’ Otomo e un po’ James Blood Ulmer, splendidamente anti-virtuoso nel sostenere sferragliando e sfrigolando l’assolo ayleriano di Amado. La successiva “Jungle Gymnastics,” tutta spigoli e curve a gomito, ha un che di sinistramente monkiano. Lopes torna a fare il “chitarrista,” dalle parti di Joe Morris tanto per intenderci. Amado si conferma sassofonista intrepido snocciolando un altro assolo tutto fuoco e fiamme, giocato sui registri bassi e sul vibrato rabbioso del tenore. La terza meraviglia dell’impeccabile un-due-tre iniziale, il cuore del disco, è “Two Girls,” funk-jazz alla Vandermark 5 uscito dalla penna di Amado. Tira aria di Chicago, con la sezione ritmica che macina e martella, e la line-up chitarra-sax che spezza le linee del tema, dando vita a un dialogo serrato fatto di incastri e dissonanze.

Purtroppo quando la velocità diminuisce e le strutture si fanno labili, il quartetto mette in mostra qualche limite in fatto di lucidità e capacità di rapportarsi con il silenzio. Lo dimostra l’inconcludente “Effigy,” che gira a vuoto per poco meno di sette minuti, cercando non si sa bene cosa e non si sa bene dove. Per fortuna è l’unico passaggio a vuoto. Con “Procurei-te Na Noite” si torna a far girare il motore della band, che nella seconda parte del disco conferma di trovarsi a proprio agio soprattutto alle alte temperature del neo-free.

Attenzione a non scottarvi le orecchie”  Luca Canini / ALL ABOUT JAZZ ITALY

Portuguese guitarist Luis Lopes has his name above the group name. Below the group name: Rodrigo Amado (tenor sax), Aaron González (bass), and Stefan González (drums) — both sons of Dennis. Same group had an album called Humanization 4tet in 2008, which struck me as a solid HM. This one has even more juice. Lopes doesn’t do a lot of soloing, but he provides a firm metallic undercarriage for Amado to blast away from. Lots of short repetitive figures” very solid. A  Tom Hull

Austin, Texas, though considered by some to be the Live Music Capital of the World, it isn’t exactly a hotbed for jazz and improvised music. So a May 2009 performance by this international quartet featuring members from Lisbon, Portugal and Dallas, Texas at the city’s Salvage Vanguard Theatre came as quite a pleasant surprise. Representing the Iberian Peninsula are guitarist Luís Lopes and tenorman Rodrigo Amado, while the sibling rhythm section of bassist Aaron and drummer Stefan González (the progeny of Dallas-based trumpeter-composer Dennis González and 2/3 of Yells at Eels) make up the unit’s other half.  When performing, Lopes stands or crouches, delicately smudging phrases and creating small, haranguing cells in a mixture of spattered flecks and feedback/distortion. His tone is rather thin, and he draws from a vocabulary aware of Ray Russell, Stefan Jaworzyn and Rudolph Grey, except quite absent much of their pyrotechnics and rather skewed toward choppy condensation.

Much of what made the group’s music attractive on their Clean Feed debut is present on Electricity, the follow-up on French label Ayler Records. Whereas the previous disc was made up solely of Lopes’ compositions (and therefore it seemed like Humanization 4tet was predominantly his project), Electricity also sports excellent tunes by Amado and Aaron González on a pretty equal numeric footing with the guitarist’s. Amado is a consummate tenor saxophonist, albeit one who still isn’t well-known on the international stage. One could easily make the comparison of Archie Shepp drawn through Ken Vandermark, but Amado’s tone is softer and his phrasing far less blustery, his peals wrapped in care and delicacy. The González brothers are an extraordinarily tight, telepathic rhythm section and maintain pliant, chattering grooves around wiry, staccato tenor/guitar improvisations and funereal lines. The bassist penned the opening “Dehumanization Blues,” fierce downstrokes leading into a flinty update on crime-jazz and husky, spiky motifs from tenor and guitar. Collective improvisation ensues after the jaunty, darting head of “Jungle Gymnastics,” but in this four-minute piece, the group’s empathy and constantly-directed comment (not to mention rhythmic acuity) maintain vital interest. “Procurei-te Na Noite” has a boppish bounce, distantly-hanging notes from Lopes’ guitar sliding the tune deliciously, obstinately out of tempo. The Humanization 4tet present unruly but accessible inside-outside jazz, very much worth further investigation”  Clifford Allen / Ni Kantu blog

All four members of this fine cross-continental quartet have previous releases on the Clean Feed label. Portuguese guitarist Luis Lopes has two CF discs, including the previous one by Humanization 4Tet. Portuguese saxist Rodrido Amado has upwards of six on Clean Feed as well as another half dozen on his own European Echoes label & Not Two. The great Dallas rhythm team of brothers Aaron & Stefan Gonzalez have recorded some half dozen swell discs with their father Dennis and more recently have been working with Curtis Clark and the Humanization 4Tet. This great quartet played here at DMG earlier this year and were superb!

All four members of this great quartet contributed to the composing. “Dehumization Blues” is not really a blues but it does a powerful, pumping blues-rockin’ groove. This killin’ rhythm team is most impressive, tight and burning with Rodrigo blasting an incredible sax solo while Luis spews out fractured notes behind him. “Jungle Gymnastics” has an Ornette-ish theme and is super tight with intricate sax and guitar lines played together while the bass & drums provide a whirlwind underneath. Aaron & Stefan are pretty young yet they sound like older veterans of the free & modern jazz worlds, wise beyond they years. When they get a chance to stretch out, both are inspired & crafty soloists as well. Rodrigo’s piece “Two Girls” does have a great funky groove with some greasy sax on top. “Effigy” is an appropriate titled solemn piece, stark, sad and simmering like a soft prayer. Each song involves a different structure or strategy and each one is strong. I dig how on “Infidelities” the quartet plays the theme up front and them proceeds to get freer in the midsection before they move into a final somber, spare conclusion. The final piece, “Eavesdropper/Ruas Sentimentais” begins freely and eventually evolves through different sections. Parts remind me of when King Crimson move into their own improv segments. The Humanization 4Tet is/are a particularly impressive quartet that are no doubt be a force to be reckoned with”  Bruce Lee / Downtown Music Gallery

Segundo volume a documentar a actividade do consórcio transatlântico constituído pelos portugueses Luís Lopes e Rodrigo Amado e pelos norte-americanos Aaron e Stefan Gonzalez. Lopes surge como líder de uma formação em que a noção de colectivo ressalta, desde logo, particularmente clara, até pela democraticidade evidenciada na autoria das peças. Se a estreia em 2008, na lisboeta Clean Feed, já havia convencido sobremaneira, este “Electricity” (com selo da francesa Ayler Records) não só confirma, mas, sobretudo, reforça a evidência de que estamos perante um quarteto que destila uma música orgânica e vibrante, feita da criteriosa aglutinação de múltiplos elementos e onde composição e improvisação se conjugam de forma particularmente eficaz.

Sem prejudicar, antes potenciando, a unidade e coesão gerais, a dicotomia luso-americana acaba por se revelar a principal força motriz do grupo, não só, por um lado, pelos uníssonos e constantes diálogos estabelecidos entre a dupla lusa (é Amado quem assume, muitas vezes, o papel principal, com Lopes a posicionar-se na condição de arquitecto textural), como, por outro, pelas teias rítmicas engendradas pela dupla de descendentes do trompetista Dennis Gonzalez. Percebendo-se a estrutura de cada tema, logo o quarteto muda de direcção por vezes de forma vertiginosa, surpreendendo positivamente o ouvinte.

O disco abre com um sombrio “Dehumanization Blues”, de Aaron González, dominado pela vigorosa secção rítmica. “Jungle Gymnastics” ancora-se nas mesmas premissas, com Lopes e Amado em estimulante interacção . “Two Girls” (da autoria do saxofonista) denota que o grupo também sabe pisar territórios mais “groove”, de sólida sustentação rítmica. A elegância e a sobriedade de “Effigy” (assinada por Lopes) vem deitar água na fervura. O contraste de abordagens em “Procurei-te na Noite”, a remeter para paisagens suburbanas, resulta muito bem. “Infidelities”, com o seu intenso travo bop, é outro momento alto. Em suma, um disco que, infelizmente, não escutei em tempo útil para entrar de caras na lista dos melhores de 2011″  ∗∗∗∗ (4 em 5)  António Branco /

Toujours tête chercheuse dans les différents univers de la musique improvisée et soutien insatiable de projets musicaux ambitieux, le label Ayler Records est devenu au fil du temps l’un de ces labels où chacune des sorties donne envie de jeter une oreille. Chez Ayler Records, la radicalité côtoie une ligne éditoriale extrêmement claire qui consiste à offrir au musicien la qualité et la passion, deux vertus qui tendent à disparaître de la distribution classique. Voire qui l’a déjà absolument abandonné.

La dernière sortie du label fait partie de ces petites pépites qui en ont fait la renommée ; illustrée par un cordon électrique posé nonchalamment sur un divan hors-d’âge comme une psychothérapie confiée à la fée électricité, Electricity, le nouvel album de la formation lusitano-texane Humanization 4tet est une preuve de plus de la vigueur des musiques improvisées en Europe, et de la richesse des échanges transatlantiques, à l’instar d’un label comme BMC.

Dirigé par le guitariste électrique Luis Lopes, accompagné par l’élégant ténor Rodrigo Amado et la doublette rythmique à toute épreuve des frangins Gonzales, Electricity est un concentré de musique urgente. Le propos est tendu et galvanisé, et planque des affolements groove dans un free-jazz au phrasé Colemanien tendance Ornette -notamment la belle ouverture de “Jungle Gymnastics”-. A ce titre, le morceau “Two Girls” est un modèle du genre ; sur une rythmique de batterie solidement rock, la contrebasse saignante de Aaron Gonzales échauffe l’atmosphère avant que l’acidité de la guitare de Lopes ne viennent soutenir les tirades énervées d’Amado.

Le quartet est ramassé et uni, tire dans le même sens et prend un manifeste plaisir à porter un propos puissant. La cohésion fraternelle des Gonzales fait certainement beaucoup ; j’avoue avoir été un peu interrogatif sur leur récent album chez Ayler Records avec leur père, contrairement à mon camarade Julien. Sans doute parce qu’avec la présence du batteur sud-Africain Louis Moholo-Moholo, la relation privilégiée basse/batterie des deux frangins était diluée, alors qu’elle est simple, éclatante et d’une stabilité à toute épreuve en temps normal… Elle est ici absolument splendide et diablement cohérente.

Anciennement signé chez Clean Feed, le prestigieux label portugais, Electricity est l’œuvre d’une formation musculeuse où la virulence de la batterie de Stefan Gonzales, proche parfois des fulgurances du metal sait parfois laisser place à la langueur sablonneuse du son parfait de ténor de Rodrigo Amado. Le jeu de Lopes, sans fioritures solistes interminables et autre quincaille tape-à-l’œil est un vrai travail de fond qui donne énormément de liberté à ses comparses. Sur l’excellent “Procurei-te na note”, il trouve un vrai terrain d’entente avec son fantastique contrebassiste…. Ce qui l’empêche pas (Ô combien !) de disséminer quelques mines dans le très virulent “infidelities” ou dans le “ghost” (ça devrait être interdit ! Grumbl …) “Ruas Sentimentais”, véritable manifeste d’un blues-rock échauffé à l’improvisation. On peut voir d’ailleurs sur une série de vidéos que cette formule est un plaisir de scène.

Humanization 4tet est l’œuvre d’une formation moderne qui a su faire le lien entre diverses influences disparates et vigoureuses pour les mettre dans le pot commun d’une improvisation sans limite autre que le plaisir. L’auditeur aura le même sentiment de plaisir et de cohésion…”  Frampi / Sun Ship

There are some CDs that are so charged with life, so immediate, so vibrant, that the music literally jumps out of your speakers from the first note. That’s what I am feeling with the album Electricity (Ayler 113) by the Humanization 4tet. This band has potency stockpiled in reserve. It’s Luis Lopes on a very electric guitar, a player who knows how to create cosmic envelopes of sound and bring depth and space into a quartet such as this.

Then there’s Rodrigo Amado on tenor, who I’ve enthused about at length in the course of several reviews on the sister site, He has a terrific sound and abundant musical brains to realize some beautiful, fiery lines. The Gonzalez brothers, Aaron on bass and Stefan on drums, are long-time members of father Dennis’s Yells at Eels (see the other site for a review or two of that band) and their lengthy tenure together has given them the kind of simpatico interaction that is rare these days. And they are great players to boot”  Grego Applegate Edwards / gapplegate guitar and bass blog 

A alta voltagem só representa perigo para quem espera que o jazz se limite a massajar-lhe suavemente as orelhas após um dia estafante. “Dehumanization Blues”, o assertivo e áspero tema de abertura, deixa claro, logo nos primeiros instantes, que não é repouso que o Humanization 4tet de Luís Lopes tem para oferecer. Tão pouco se encontrará consolo no turbilhão furioso de “Jungle Gymnastics” ou no Groove funk, no riff sinuoso de sax e no contraponto ácido de guitarra de “Two Girls”, ou na viagem vertiginosa por subúrbios inquietantes de “Procurei-te na Noite”.

Após fulgurante estreia (homónima) na Clean Feed, o Humanization 4tet surge agora na editora sueca Ayler Records, confirmando que o jass luso se encontra em pleno processo de internacionalização acelerada (e merecida). Lopes passou a repartir as tarefas de composição com os seus parceiros, a paleta de ambientes alargou-se e as peças tornaram-se mais estruturadas e diferenciadas entre si. As qualidades já apontadas aos músicos confirmam-se: os irmãos Gonzalez – Aaron no contrabaixo e Stefan na bateria – asseguram propulsão potente e elástica, Rodrigo Amado tem um discurso de uma solidez e incandescência que explicam porque razão é hoje o músico de jazz português com mais prestigiante e prolífico currículo internacional e Luís Lopes, embora continue a deixar o primeiro plano a Amado, afirma-se como guitarrista original e de múltiplos recursos. A escuta de Electricity ocupar-lhe-á cerca de uma hora, mas depois fica com carga para uma semana de actividade” ∗∗∗∗∗ (5 estrelas em 5)  José Carlos Fernandes / time out Lisboa

Le free balbutiant, comme un Samuel Beckett imprécateur, trois ou quatre notes dont on ne sort pas, parce qu’elle suffisent à dire ce qu’il y a à dire et qui d’ailleurs ne se définit que d’être dit, justement. De ces quatre mots sortent de torrents, des avalanches. C’est pierreux, gras, lumineux et noir. Le temps en sort tout ragaillardi, c’est un art propre aux musiciens free ─ fondamental ─ mais chacun sent que l’essentiel est dans le départ balbutiant, loin des mélodies du jazz classique ou des énoncés pleins de questions du bop. Le free c’est la butée à l’incompréhensible et à l’indépassable, lorsqu’il nous donne ça il a bien fait son travail. Le free se prend et se reprend à l’enchaînement des notes et des mots, ne fait pas semblant, il ne conserve du passé qu’un art ; mais gare à l’équilibre dans les tuyaux, entre ignorance et savoir-faire… Ce qui frappe dans ce quartet c’est l’unité d’inspiration dans la diversité des thématiques et des manières, la butée unanime à l’essentiel”  Noël Tachet / Improjazz

Two Portuguese musicians, guitarist Luís Lopes and saxophonist Rodrigo Amado, are joined on this disc by bassist Aaron González and his drummer brother Stefan, both Americans and sons of trumpeter Dennis González. It’s the second release by the group; the first, self-titled CD was released on Clean Feed in 2008.

This music was recorded almost exactly one year ago, on December 3 and 4, 2009. It has a lot in common with lots of other present-day free jazz, particularly as practiced by East Coast players. “Jungle Gymnastics,” written by Lopes, has a repetitive, cellular melody reminiscent of David S. Ware‘s compositions, and Amado’s playing on the track has a buzzy force that recalls Ware somewhat, while also looking backward to Archie Shepp and Pharoah Sanders. The bandleader, meanwhile, plays in a hard style that suggests time spent listening to Joe Morris, but also more distortion-dependent players. In fact, a lot of tracks on Electricity remind me of stuff I’ve heard on Morris albums—”Two Girls” makes me think of Sweat Shop, “Effigy” sounds like the quieter moments of Wildlife.

Not everything here is directly traceable to the influence of musicians on AUM Fidelity (or Clean Feed), though. The González brothers have an interesting rhythmic relationship—while bassist Aaron has a forceful, accurate style that relies on pinpoint strikes as though the strings were a sniper’s bullets, drummer Stefan is much busier, taking off around the kit like he’s trying to introduce swing to a thrash metal band. They don’t really lock in; they play simultaneously rather than together, but it works. In a way, it’s not unlike the dynamic John Paul Jones and John Bonham set up in Led Zeppelin, where a commonality of purpose was implied but rarely explicitly stated. And though this is definitely a jazz album through and through, there’s some pretty serious skronk to be found on “Infidelities”; Amado plays his most quacking, squawking solo on the disc, and beside him, Lopes cuts loose with waves of Sonny Sharrock-style distortion as Stefan González sets up an almost martial rhythm behind him. It’s surprisingly close to the 1980s work of Last Exit, frankly.

Looking at the artwork—Electricity‘s front cover depicts a knotted cable; the inside flap has a shot of a battered amplifier; the back cover shows a Gibson guitar and a leather jacket; and the photo of the band portrays Lopes as a shadowy, long-haired figure, barefoot in a sleeveless T-shirt—I was expecting something a lot noisier and skronkier than this disc, which combines free jazz, some bluesy hard bop, and a dash of funk here and there. But what I did hear wasn’t at all disappointing. Fans of 21st Century out playing will find a lot to like on this record”  Phil Freeman / Burning Ambulance

The Humanization 4tet is based out of Lisbon. And on Electricity the guitar of Lopes and the tenor sax of Amado are so big that I swore this was a bigger ensemble. This is really a strong 4tet, with these two huge voices out front. Amado is becoming well known, as he should be. His is a rich voice on tenor, willing to go way way out and scream, but with a deep melodic sense. Lopes often enough uses chords on the amped guitar to create second horn sound, behind the tenor. Electricity is an unusual recording for the Swedish label Ayler, which usually issues Free improvisations filled with fire & brimstone, showing the inspiration of the label’s namesake. Perhaps it is the big brash invention of Amado that led to their interest in Electricity, but fans of Ayler Records will find this one surprisingly “inside” for their catalogue. This is no complaint, just a warning. Electricity is a fine recording, with some wild moments, but showing off the adventurous lyricism I’ve come to expect from the Portuguese scene. I would say that those Northern European darlings who’ve dominated the world of Jazz criticism for the better part of a decade now had better watch out. There is a new wind blowing out of the south, and Lisbon clearly has a lot to share”  Cadence Magazine / Phillip McNally

Two years ago, Portuguese guitarist Luís Lopes released his first CD, called “Humanization 4tet“, which I liked a lot. Now the band is back, again with fellow Portuguese Rodrigo Amado on tenor sax, and the brothers Aaron and Stefan González on respectively bass and drums, with no changes in the line-up, ready to further explore the genre-melting approach of their music : jazz, rock, fusion and free elements intermingle.

All pieces are composed, with strong unison themes, often uptempo, full of unexpected turns and sudden changes. Even if it is Lopes project, this is now really a band, with all four members contribution to compositions and to the overall sound. As said before, Lopes is a kind of “anti-guitarist”, being of the fully functional kind rather than the guy in the forefront: his tone is low-toned and harsh, raw and direct but jazzy in its chords and solos. Amado’s tone in contrast is warm and full-toned, yet rhythmic and powerful. Both González brothers form a fantastic rhythm section for this music, both combining the supple and versatile jazz approach with the directness of rock.

The album starts with the dark and menacing “Dehumanization Blues”, an almost cinematic composition with lots of strong soloing. “Jungle Gymnastics” has indeed an acrobatic unison theme and uptempo drive, evolving into wild chaos in the middle part. “Two Girls” is more funky, starting with a solid sustained rhythm by bass and drums, over which sax and guitar play a nice strutting theme, evoking the title of the composition, with a light-footedness in strong contrast to the opening track. “Efficy” is slow and more open-ended, with equally slow and sensitive soloing. Aaron González’ other composition “Infidelities” sounds like the opener at the beginning, with slow but heavy beat, yet quickly changes into a more mid-tempo boppish mode, evolving into absolutely raw interplay between the electric guitar and the sax, again showing their infidelity to the proposed musical approach, and ending with another betrayal of a single feedback tone. The last track is a long group improvisation, slowly progressing with close and intimate sax phrases evolving over raw but distant guitar sounds, and when you think the album has ended, there is a kind of bonus track, for those who have the patience to listen to silence for a minute and a half, again upbeat and boppish with funky touches, all rhythmic delight and fun playing.

The merging of styles is not a new thing, but the quality and the fun the musicians have with it transpires with every note and beat. But unlike many other endeavours, this one is very likeable for its straightforward approach and lack of pretence. It is art made human. Like a rock album, it should be listened to as a collection of songs rather than as a single unity. Nice stuff”  Steff / Freejazz blog

Le Humanization 4tet réuni par le guitariste lisboète Luis Lopes publie son second CD, sur le label Ayler Records. Quelle était la teneur de leur premier enregistrement – paru sur Clean Feed – aucun écho (mais de lourds soupçons tout de même). “Electricity” figurera donc ici comme le CD de la révélation qu’il existe un axe Lisbone-Dallas (Texas) apte à produire une musique intense, tonitruante, sèche, radicale, un blues free ne concédant rien aux beautés de ses cousins free-style de Chicago ou de New York dont la proximité dans la longueur d’onde jaillit immédiatement aux oreilles.

Dans l’exaltant “Dehumanization Blues” introductif, passé l’exposé d’un double thème évoquant le joug puis un air de liberté, les frères Gonzales, agiles et soudés, impriment fortement la marque de leur déluge rythmique, déversant sans relâche des tombereaux d’énergie sur laquelle le ténor rugueux, gigantesque, de Rodrigo Amado s’en vient éructer et se contorsionner. Luis Lopes, leader attentif, place sa guitare à la marge de ce vigoureux trio à l’approche résolument punk (lancé dans une sorte de “tout tout de suite”), il étire de longs traits de bruit blanc ou projette des éclairs électriques dans lesquels une fabuleuse énergie s’exprime également mais cette fois en dehors de toute notion de vitesse, bien au contraire dans une tension flirtant avec son point de rupture.

L’union de la glace et du feu

Au fil des morceaux, dans des chorus parallèles et quelques thèmes pris à l’unisson, la guitare et le ténor enlacent leurs timbres si dissemblables : le sax chaud bouillant, bondit en tout sens, sans cesse en mouvement du rauque à l’aigu, il s’appuie sur ses qualités de puissance en un saisissant contraste avec une guitare serpentine qui évolue hors des contingences du temps en des phrases atones et qui joue sur l’opalescence de ses notes éparses, brèves ou longues.

Et toujours derrière nos deux Texans furieux alimentent la chaudière de leur tempo multidirectionnel. On ne sera pas surpris de découvrir qu’ils aiguisent leur technique et leur langage au sein de groupes free punk, à commencer par le duo hardcore qu’ils forment sous le nom de Akkolyte (voir le très instructif MySpace d’Aaron Gonzales et sa floppée de vidéos – âmes sensibles, gare à vous tout de même, il y a du grindcore, etc. mais on y trouve aussi quelques douceurs, comme un sensible trio avec le pianiste chicagoan Curtis Clark.)

Dus à la plume d’un peu tout le monde, les thèmes de Humanization 4tet appariassent résolument simples, carrés, plutôt semblables à des riffs de rock. Mais toujours une fois le tempo et la couleur donnés, l’improvisation collective très vite prend le dessus. “Two Girls”, signé par Rodrigo Amado, s’en va sautillant sur un groove typiquement funk new orleans alors que le sublime “Procurei-te Na Noite (en gros, “je t’ai cherché toute la nuit”) de Luis Lopes pourrait passer pour un standard hardbop et sa ballade “Effigy” être composée par Wayne Shorter.

Artistes à suivre

La robustesse et l’ampleur du son de Rodrigo Amado classe le saxophoniste du Lisbon Improvisation Players dans la catégorie des Ken Vandemark ou Ellery Eskelin. Du reste, sa cote grimpe en flèche outre-Atlantique. Luis Lopes, guitariste autodiacte, vient du blues. Sa manière toute personnelle de dépasser sa fascination pour Jimi Hendrix en fait un incontestable artiste à suivre.

Un mot sur la nouvelle direction artistique de l’éditeur, Ayler Records, qui accompagne l’élargissement de son spectre vers de jeunes formations méconnues d’une rafraîchissante refonte de l’habillage de ses CD. Adieu le sempiternel bando vanille tout mou au-dessus d’une oeuvre abstraite plus ou moins inspirée. Le digipack d'”Electricity” conçu à partir des photos d’Antonio Julio Duarte est en ce sens une belle réussite qui colle parfaitement à la musique proposée”  Sudouest blog 

En jazz, je l’avoue sans honte, je suis d’une nullité crasse. Incapable d’expliquer pourquoi j’aime telle ou telle galette. Le love supreme de Coltrane, je le trouve magnifique mais de là à y trouver une spiritualité, un accomplissement créatif, j’en reste dubitatif (j’aimerais assez qu’on m’explique). Je perçois certaines choses mais n’arrive pas à me les expliquer. Et de toutes façons je lui préfère d’un poil de cul d’avance my favorite things, porte d’entrée inégalée (et inégalable) au jazz, qu’il soit free ou classique. Ce préambule passé, j’avoue aussi apprécier voir même plus que ça encore, le free-jazz. Enfin j’aime le free quand il reste dans des normes audibles ou pas. J’aime le fait qu’il soit déviant, se barre n’importe où sans prévenir, nous laisse sur le carreau dès les premières secondes pour nous rattraper, nous happer dans les dernières .Une illustration peut-être ? l’album electricity d’Humanization 4tet, parfait équilibre entre traditions et modernité, free et classique. Tu apprécies le jazz ? mais aussi les B.O des années 70, la soul, le blues, l’expérimental ? Humanization 4tet te propose tout cela et bien plus encore. Une relecture et un digest de quelques six décennies de jazz : du cool jazz au free en passant par l’avant-garde ou le jazz-rock,  auquel se raccrochent pas mal d’autres styles parce que les gars d’Humanization 4tet n’ont pas écouté  que ça et que ça transpire au travers de leurs compositions. Leur guitariste Luis lopes par exemple n’a pas été biberonné qu’au jazz, son jeu paraît plus sortir du manuel du rock voir de l’expérimental que du jazz. Pas de solo de merde, pas de démonstration prise de tête du genre je descends mes gammes comme un malade et je vous emmerde, pas du tout. Plutôt un jeu privilégiant l’intinct, sans fioritures, débarrassé de toute technique. Les frères Gonzales à la rythmique (contrebasse et batterie), s’ils ont été forcément influencés par leur père (le grand Dennis), semblent s’affranchir de son influence via le rock (two girls par exemple, osmose parfaite entre jazz et rock, l’impression que Miles Davis s’est invité sur un morceau de Morphine). Seul Rodrigo Amado, tenor sax (ce qui paraît être d’une évidente lapalissade pour quelqu’un pratiquant  le sax), échappe (et encore) à ces influences. La rencontre de ces fortes têtes donne un résultat que je qualifierai tout simplement de brillant. Equilibre quasi parfait entre mélodies et expérimental, free et classique tout en étant très abordable,d’une dynamique peu commune, ce genre de galette devrait limite être remboursé par la sécu. Porte d’entrée idéale pour le monde parfois hermétique du free-jazz au même titre que le zero degree music d’Adam lane Trio, electricity sait s’adapter au néophyte  tout en étant d’une intégrité remarquable. Autant le dire, chez moi, l’écoute d’electricity me procure un panard assez monumental. Le dernier disque estampillé jazz à m’avoir fait cet effet était celui de Dennis Gonzales justement, qui avait terminé album de l’année en 2009. Excellent quoi”  The beauty of sadness blog