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Luís Lopes' Humanization 4tet - Live in Madison

Lloyd Gedye, Mail & Guardian

Bridging the gap between experimental, classical and rock and roll jazz music.

Recorded in June 2011, a few months after the Humanization 4tet had released their second album, Electricity on Ayler Records, this live set is truly something to hear.

Recorded on the last stop of a 10-date United States East Coast tour, the album sees the band roar through free jazz, rock, funk and hard blues – tearing it up, totally in charge of their instruments.

Guitarist Luis Lopes, with some funky backing from drummer Stefan Gonzalez, puts almost all rock guitarists to shame with his performance in the opening piece, Bush Baby, shredding like there's no tomorrow.

But Lopes knows when to pull back and feature his comrades.

The restrained funk groove holds it all together as first Lopes and then tenor saxophonist Rodrigo Amado show off their chops.

Follow-up Jungle Gymnastics is a pile-driving, wild-born child, with Lopes and Amado creating absolute chaos. Frank Zappa is smiling in his grave.

Long March for Frida Kalo starts off with some restrained bass for a minute and a half from Aaron Gonzalez and then some gentle drums from his brother. Slowly Amado builds up the tension on his saxophone, then hands it to Lopes, who takes the song somewhere else, before they all bring it home together.

It is a welcome respite from the tension and chaos of the first half of the album – as is Big Love, a bouncy up-tempo groove, with Lopes playing a muted blues tone, while Amado tears skyward with his horn, a torrent of roaring saxophone that is monumental in its beauty.

The closer Dehumanization Blues is the band's live staple and, on this night in 2011 in Madison, the band did itself proud with a primal rendition.

This album is a must-have for fans of experimental jazz and draws influence from low-down and dirty rock and funk.