By Tim Niland
Luís Lopes Humanization 4tet is an exhilarating band featuring the leader on electric guitar, Rodrigo Amado on tenor saxophone, Aaron Gonzalez on bass and Stefan Gonzalez on drums. Taking jazz and boosting it with the concentrated energy of punk and metal, they come out with a challenging and exciting piece of work. “Eddie Harris – Tranquilidad Alborotadora” has some raw and funky soulful saxophone, perfect for its dedicatee, with the band finding a groove and then exploding it into righteous improvisatory action. The collective improvisation is fast and fresh with excellent saxophone playing leading the charge, and then the music transitions to the other part of the performance with pointed guitar and fine drumming. The saxophone becomes much freer, loose from the blues grounding and developing a raw and fierce tone, and Lopes‘ guitar branches out on a powerful feature that lights up the music with electrical splendor. There is more open space on “Replicate, Pt. 1” which is gradually filled by the instrumentalists creating, in short order, a fast and vibrant improvisation with short choppy strokes that cascade and create a flow in a manner that the listener is swept up in. Fast pointillist notes of guitar and very rapid slashing drums meet sax and bass and then gradually ease out. “She” has a nice melody for sax and guitar with beefy bass and drums, gradually moving from blustery post bop into more daredevil free expression. Swirling phasing guitar adds excellent atmosphere as Amado digs in his feet and wails and the drums drive even harder. This group is very tight and focused no matter how far out they go as evidenced by Lopes scalding guitar solo that threatens to peel paint from the walls and is met by an equally ferocious saxophone and drum cacophony, before returning to the innocuous melody. Drums set the table for soaring saxophone and guitar on “Brainlust Distraction” with fast and knotty tenor saxophone playing which is deployed to very good effect as guitar and drums ride hard along side, and Amado is truly in his element making every breath count. Lopes leads the bass and drums unit to an equally fine trio section, playing complex and powerful music. Continuing on from the earlier track, “Replicate, Pt. 2” has a short theme that is soon made into a blistering improvisation, very free and open sounding, with all of the musicians creating and sharing within this space, weaving and flowing dynamically as the music develops of its own accord. This was an excellent record with the band perfectly melding modern and free jazz with just the right amount of thematic material. They play brilliantly as a group, and just as well as soloists, making for a consistently interesting and exciting album.