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Lisbon Improvisation Players

The Lisbon Improvisation Players are a group of varying size set up by sax player Rodrigo Amado. It functions as an experimental nucleus for musicians who want to develop projects related to improvisation, and open to collaborations with artists from the dance, theatre or cinema fields. The variable nature of the project allows it to present itself as a tentet, a quartet, a trio, a duo or even to function as a solo performance.
Ken Filiano, Steve Adams (Rova Saxophone Quartet), Peter Epstein, Ulrich Mitzlaff, Nuno Rebelo, Marco Franco, Acácio Salero, Paulo Curado, Ernesto Rodrigues, Pedro Gonçalves, Nuno Ferreira, Manuel Mota or José Oliveira are some of the musicians who collaborated with the LIP project.

The mentor of this project, Rodrigo Amado, was born in 1964 and started studying saxophone when he was 17. His discography includes participations in several records from other artists like Vitor Rua, Mão Morta, Sei Miguel, Ena Pá 2000 and João Peste. He played hundreds of concerts through all the country making part of formations like SPQR (with Rafael Toral and Zé Pedro Moura), the septet of Sei Miguel, the duo Rodrigo Amado/Luís Desirat, João Peste and the Acidoxibordel, the Plopoplot Pot (with Nuno Rebelo, Paulo Curado and Bruno Pedroso), or many other formations of improvised music. He attended workshops oriented by such musicians as Carlos Zíngaro, Peter Kowald (Structures within Improvisation) and Jan Garbarek (saxophone).

The Lisbon Improvisation Players are not exactly followers of the harmolodic theories, but they apply one of the main rules of the Ornette Coleman “School”: in a group everyone can have a soloist part and play it simultaneously with the rest of the musicians. This procedure has become one of the standards of “Free Jazz” and, later, of “free music” when the first emancipated from the structure to launch deeper the roots of improvisation.

LIP are among these two lineages, putting together musicians with a jazz background and others with a stronger connection to “new improvised music”. Although we got used to hear

Paulo Curado, Acácio Salero and Pedro Gonçalves in jazz contexts, Amado himself has gone through areas not

so familiar, from which we can name as examples his integration in the enlarged “combo” of the electro acoustic group Vitriol or his staying with the Plopoplot Pot of Nuno Rebelo. It’s true that he was always, essentially, a jazz militant, but he never thought that this was a one way path, without crossroads or detours. Franco, in his turn, has developed remarkable work, together also with Nuno Rebelo and, more recently, with the violin player Ernesto Rodrigues.

What’s at stake here is not exactly an exercise of conciliation, an attempt of taking jazz to the extreme boundaries of totally “free” music, or give the first one back to it’s original imprint (or, at least, to one of its roots – the other, as known, is the “classic contemporary” music, how the Americans like to call it). This is a music made of cross-plans, (?): If, on one side, one can detect a clear return to the free jazz aesthetics, a tendency displayed by the most important international festivals, on the other what happens is that this “coming back” becomes a starting point for other flights.

How to face, then, what we listen here? Any conceptualisation, any objective that has eventually been predefined, is neutralised by the spontaneity and the high intuitive spirit shown through these improvisations, recorded live in the theatre Tivoli. What we find here is totally improvised music, disregarding “riffs” and all kinds of backing melodic phrasing, but also jazz, for the idiomatic patterns of the kind are felt.


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