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Luís Lopes' Humanization 4tet - Live in Madison

Stuart Kremsky, The IAJRC Journal

Guitarist Luís Lopes’ Humanization 4tet tears it up for a young crowd Live In Madison on a limited edition CD (600 copies) that includes a 12-page booklet of photos from the show. It’s hard to go wrong when you’ve got brothers on bass and drums, since they have a lock that just can’t be beat. The González brothers, Aaron on bass and Stefan on drums, were raised in the heady free jazz atmosphere fostered by their father, trumpeter Dennis González. They still play with Dad in Yells At Eels, and they’re ready for anything you throw at them. The pair is deep in the pocket from the first notes of the hard grooving Bush Baby. The quartet’s version of this Arthur Blythe tune starts the show off with a bang. The unabashedly electric Lopes is a wildly unpredictable player. He also contributes three songs to the proceedings, the frenetic Jungle Gymnastics, the peaceful Long March For Frida Kahlo featuring an emotional bass solo by Aaron González, and the hard-riffing Big Love. Lopes’ guitar is worth paying attention to at all times, whether he’s soloing with abandon or egging on saxophonist Rodrigo Amado. Not that the excitable Amado needs more encouragement to take off into the outer reaches of his horn, where his sound can grow a bit strained. He’s more convincing in the middle of the tenor’s range, like his fiery solo on the set-closing Dehumanization Blues. Lopes pulls out all the stops on this one in a deranged and loud solo that finally does push Amado into ecstatic high-register screaming. A thumping drum solo interrupts everything and leads to the final recapitulation of Aaron González’s somewhat gloomy theme. The Humanization 4tet offers powerful and disruptive sounds from off the beaten track, and they’re well worth a listen.