Ernesto Rodrigues has been releasing so many improvising string ensemble albums, especially with his son Guilherme on cello, but also in various other contexts (e.g. the Lisbon String Trio), that they almost become their own genre. Moreover, Ernesto's recordings with Guilherme & Dietrich Petzold (on violin, viola, and sometimes other instruments) have become so numerous of late that they start to form a subgenre: In particular, while their series of interactions began (at least on recording) with Sacred Noise (a double album recorded in October 2016), much of this activity occurred in 2018, with the quartet album Get Your Own Picture (a meaty, hour+ long album recorded in Berlin in October 2018) being the latest installment. Get Your Own Picture actually follows (by recording date) closely on the heels of two "Creative Sources Digital" albums already appearing with Petzold & recorded a few days earlier that month (as already mentioned in December 2018), but also shortly after the second trio album, Ljubljana (also discussed here in December 2018) & the quartet albums Crane Cries (discussed April 2018) & Dis/con/sent (discussed October 2018): The latter, along with the digital-only releases, features Matthias Bauer on bass, while the former involves Elo Masing on violin (& thus, unusually for this developing genre, includes no bass) to form a more classical string quartet. And I say "more" because Petzold not only switches between violin & viola on Crane Cries & elsewhere, but sometimes includes e.g. keyboard, or even jagged bowed metal on Dis/con/sent.... Get Your Own Picture, however, not only continues to reprise the "jazz string quartet" with double bass, but involves Jan Roder for the first time: Roder had been discussed here (in May 2017) around Happy Jazz (with Olaf Rupp), and his participation apparently yields a more generally classical motivic & assertive atmosphere. Get Your Own Picture is then an extensive album, alternating shorter & longer tracks — & although the shorter tracks aren't necessarily punchier than passages within the longer sequences, the album does begin that way (i.e. almost in a late Beethoven-esque mode), before becoming sparser on the second track, which does itself eventually return to more straightforward melodic figures.... There's thus more traditional counterpoint, and more motivic repetition in general, than on many Rodrigues albums, but extended technique (e.g. in pizzicato or harmonics) is also sometimes featured beyond the basic arco sound: There's thus some "quiet scuffling" at times, but also boisterous "traffic" activity amid a variety of procedural journeys.... Given the ensemble & concomitant sophistication, a ready comparison is with the Stellari Quartet & its recent release Vulcan (itself recorded back in 2016), on which an ongoing group of four virtuoso string players develops a variety of styles & interactions over an extended series of tracks — apparently deriving from at least a couple of sessions & maybe more: Such an approach to performance & selection yields a rather weighty tome for the listener, deriving from years of interactions, whereas Rodrigues releases albums prolifically (often quite soon after recording).... Rather than such a dense & singular result (as Stellari makes an impression in part by being distinctive), Rodrigues' output thus consists of endless internal variation, both in quotidian inspiration & via a developing series of musical partners: It comes to elaborate its own sense of familiarity, and bares that development to the listener by releasing so much similar music, even if one outcome of such an orientation is to diminish the impact of individual issues. (In turn, the "process" becomes that much more transparent.) Within that context, then, Get Your Own Picture provides a relatively accessible (even melodic at times, yet still stimulating) snapshot of Rodrigues' work with Petzold in Berlin in 2018.
Todd McComb's Jazz Thoughts
released December 25, 2019
Dietrich Petzold - Violin & Viola
Ernesto Rodrigues - Viola
Guilherme Rodrigues - Cello
Jan Roder - Double Bass
Recorded October 28th 2018 by Dietrich Petzold.
Mix, mastering by Dietrich Petzold & Ernesto Rodrigues.
Studio tonus arcus, Berlin.
Production by Ernesto Rodrigues
Guilherme Rodrigues is a cellist, improviser and composer from Lisboa, Portugal.
He was born in 1988 in Lisboa and
started to learn cello and trumpet when he was seven at Orquestra Metropolitana de Lisboa and later in Conservatório Nacional de Música de Lisboa to study classical and music theory until his twenty-three. With an intuitive approach to improvisation and exploration of the timbres......more