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Amaro Freitas: YY review

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    Posted: 24 Feb 2024 at 10:58am

Amaro Freitas: YY review transcendent sounds inspired by the Amazon

(Psychic Hotline)
The Brazilian jazz experimentalist draws on the atmosphere of the rainforest and its mythical beings to create his most explosive, explorative LP yet   


Brazilian pianist Amaro Freitas approaches the 88 keys of his piano as if they were drums. Across three albums since his 2016 debut Sangue Negro, Freitas has honed a style of muscular, complex rhythm within jazz improvisation. Often playing different metres in each hand, he encompasses everything from folk maracatu polyrhythms on 2018s Afrocatu to staccato, mechanical repetitions on 2021s Sankofa. 

The artwork for YY

His latest album, YY, puts this rhythmic playfulness in service to a spiritual theme. Dedicated to the preservation of the Amazon, the nine tracks of YY (meaning water or river in Sater Maw dialect) use whistles, prepared piano and percussion to evoke the sounds of the rainforest and its mythical beings. Opener Mapinguari (Encantado da Mata) sees Freitas playing twinkling phrases over shakers and cymbal washes, reflecting the rustling of leaves; dedicated to the water mother spirit, Uiara (Encantada da gua) Vida e Cura develops a cascading rhythm over dampened piano strings to create the effect of water rushing.

The pleasant atmospherics continue through the breathy, bird-like whistles of Viva Nan and the enveloping harp melodies of Brandee Younger feature Gloriosa. But its when Freitas unleashes his innate sense of experimental rhythm that the album soars. The second half of eight-minute odyssey Dana dos Martelos breaks down into thundering bass discordance and frenetic right-hand phrases, channelling the chaos of a storm, while closing track Encantados is a highlight, featuring Hamid Drake on drums, Shabaka Hutchings on flute and Aniel Someillan on bass. Over 10 minutes, Freitas develops a fast-paced syncopated motif against Drakes hard-swinging groove, exploding into a solo that plays like an urgent rallying cry.

YY finds Freitas at his most wide-ranging, embodying soft natural ambience as well as dramatic action on the piano. It is an album of mood music that refuses to settle, leaving the listener moved and invigorated.

from  www.theguardian.com

Edited by snobb - 24 Feb 2024 at 11:00am
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