Portuguese jazz at the Hideout | Bleader

Portuguese jazz at the Hideout



Rodrigo Amado and Luis Lopes
  • Rodrigo Amado and Luis Lopes
Portuguese guitarist Luis Lopes made his Chicago debut last year at the Hideout with trombonist Jeb Bishop and bassist Joshua Abrams as part of the Clean Feed festival. He returns to the club tonight leading his main working group, Humanization 4tet.

As I wrote last year, Lopes "doles out notes in measured, thoughtful doses, whether his style is clean and lyrical or dirty and choppy." For this gritty group Lopes writes knotty, stylistically diverse tunes that abrade the border between postbop and free jazz, but he's ensemble oriented enough that you might not guess he's the bandleader just from listening. Indeed, Lopes seems somewhat deferential to his superb saxophonist, fellow Lisbon resident Rodrigo Amado—perhaps the most forceful and acclaimed contemporary Portuguese improviser.

The quartet's 2008 self-titled debut was solid, but they demonstrated impressive growth on their second album, last year's Electricity (Ayler). The band is rounded out bassist Aaron Gonzalez and drummer Stefan Gonzalez, both sons of the great Dallas trumpeter Dennis Gonzalez. (They've come a long way since I caught them as teenagers at the Empty Bottle, backing their father, in September 2000.) The rhythm team gives the music a fierce energy without being overbearing. On the opener, "Dehumanization Blues," they're relentless, pushing Lopes to wring coruscating feedback from his guitar while Amado breathes fire with his tenor saxophone. "Procurei-te Na Noite" invokes the spirit of early James "Blood" Ulmer with a deliriously off-kilter rhythmic attack, while "Jungle Gymnastics," which you can hear below, delivers a high-octane steeplechase of jagged phrases, both in unison and splattery counterpoint, by the guitarist and saxophonist.

Sharing the bill is the enticing duo of guitarist Jeff Parker and vibist Jason Adasiewicz, performing in that format for the first time. The two of them were supposed to play the Hideout on February 2, but the blizzard forced them to cancel.

Luis Lopes Humanization 4tet, "Jungle Gymnastics":

photo: Peter Gannushkin / downtownmusic.net

Today's playlist:

Tomas Fujiwara & the Hook Up, Actionspeak (482 Music)
John Surman, John Surman (Vocalion)
Smod, Smod (Nacional)
Ralph Alessi, Cognitive Dissonance (Cam Jazz)
Various artists, Harder Shade of Black (Pressure Sounds)