Ernesto Rodrigues

Assemblage

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This album features the same trio as on Multiples, augmented by guitarist Manuel Mota. One could describe him as the Portuguese Taku Sugimoto. His playing is extremely quiet, sparse, and reserved. But unlike Sugimoto, who seems to exert an irresistible influence on his comrades in arms, Mota's presence doesn't draw the other three improvisers into a black hole of silence. Of course, violinist Ernesto Rodrigues, cellist Guilherme Rodrigues (also heard briefly on pocket trumpet), and percussionist José Oliveira (also on acoustic guitar and "inside piano") already have a penchant for self-restraint in free improvisation, but if they listen more than they play, when they emit a note it is not always a quiet one. And in fact, some passages in Assemblage are quite busy. So Mota often takes the fourth chair, weaving in his own subtle counterpoint to Oliveira's sudden "pops" and "tocks" and the Rodrigues' fragile string exchanges. "Assemblage II" builds to a relative frenzy, dominated by Oliveira's inside piano playing (and the sound capture is marvelously detailed), while the other two pieces explore quieter realms. After the 37 minutes of music have gone by, the listener is left a bit unsatisfied, not because of a lack of excitement ("less is more" really applies to this album), but because it seems that there was something left to be said -- or heard.