October 26, 2020
Clean Feed CF 549 CD
Confirming the agile intensity that has kept this mixed Portuguese-American band going for the almost a decade, guitarist Luis Lopes’ Humanization 4Tet has created another vigorous session with Believe Believe. Appropriately recorded in New Orleans, which has been the birthplace of many styles of music, the band continues on its path of mixing the modern Rock dear to the guitarist’s heart with the Jazz sensibility of the other players, especially fellow Lisboeta tenor saxophonist Rodrigo Amado, with the Texan Gonzalez brothers capable players in both idioms.
Someone who moved from Rock and Blues to Free improvisation, Lopes is also a member of other local ensembles with Amado, and bands with non-Portuguese like Valentin Ceccaldi. Amado’s outside associates range from Joe McPhee to Chris Corsano, while bassist Aaron Gonzalez and drummer Stefan Gonzalez have racked up other US credits since starting out as the rhythm section of their father Dennis Gonzalez’ combos.
Laying their musical cards on the table with the first and longest track, “Eddie Harris/ Tranquilidad Alborotadora” the quartet easily mixes Chicago Jazz Funk via the saxophonist’s reed squeezes and slurs with warm but astringent guitar repetition that detours into psychedelic distorted fingering before Amado reupholsters the head with altissimo glossolalia. This isn’t a duo show however, since Stefan Gonzalez’s appropriate crashes, ruffs and rallies constantly spackles narratives directed by saxophone or guitar. He even turns the beginning of Stefan Gonzalez’s “Brainlust Distraction” into a vigorous but not showy solo spot. His subsequent patterning helps intensify the track’s tension, which is otherwise dependent on parallel pressure from multi-directional guitar frails and almost baritone-pitched thick reed honks. With the saxophonist’s stuttering split tones and New Thing-like galloping timbre extensions coupled with the guitarist’s metallic almost Metal strokes prominent on Amado’s compositions and elsewhere, yet Lopes’ “She” confirming that they can also essay a non-sentimental, near-ballad, the quartet comes across as a confident self-contained unit.
In fact, on the evidence here, it appears that the 4tet’s musical appeal should be as conspicuous as its membership is international.
Track Listing: 1. Eddie Harris/Tranquilidad Alborotadora 2. Replicate I 3. Engorged Mosquitoes 4. She 5. Brainlust Distraction 6. Replicate II
Personnel: Rodrigo Amado (tenor saxophone); Luís Lopes (guitar); Aaron Gonzalez (bass) and Stefan Gonzalez (drums)