March 5, 2024

Amaro Freitas played (le) poisson rouge

Amaro Freitas' new album Y'Y was released last week and on Tuesday, he came to (le) poisson rouge for his second ever New York City show and first-ever headlining appearance.

Filling (le) poisson rouge with a captive audience, most of whom were seated at dinner tables, Brazilian jazz pianist Amaro Freitas performed a solo set full of magic and wonder, his deep sense of spiritual connections forever present and a direct source of inspiration for the night at hand. On the cover of his new album comes a notes that declares "Freitas' work has always been an attempt to rescue things that came before colonization. With Y'Y, Freitas further codifies his fresh 'decolonized' interpretation of Brazilian jazz, one the may well shatter preconceived notions of what jazz can be" and his work on stage took that notion even further. Drawing from modern classical piano motifs that at times defied rhythm and lyrical melodies was juxtaposed with what Freitas has described as sounds of the Amazon that he recreates live on stage. There are ambient moments that recalled the tranquil work of Hiroshi Yoshimura's classic records Green or Surround and his ability to bring these recordings to life through careful percussive looping and padding of the piano was a remarkable thing to witness. Fitting in to the style of the moment along with other breakthrough ambient and astral jazz pieces by the likes of André 3000 or Shabaka Hutchings and Brandee Younger, both of whom are featured on the new album, it was exciting to see such a responsive crowd who felt truly devoted to the performance, engaging in harmonized chanting or following instructions on how to be the rhythm section of the song by learning hand claps to keep the beat live on the spot. His own transfixion with the piano was hypnotic enough in itself, his fingers running the length of the keys almost in the fashion of playing them like the strings of a harp, the tingling sensation adding wondrous texture on its own, without the addition of his drums, bells, and whistles. His tributes and ties to nature gave the show a grounding sensation, the pull of the music keeping the crowd locked-in, gazes firmly placed on Amaro and nothing else, his enchantment was magnetic and majestic. At the conclusion of each number, the crowd roared with excitement, the pure elation that had been built-up during the song seeing release in the form of utter joy and a beckoning for more. A nourishing and refreshing set, it brought forth a state of bliss that lingered throughout the venue, a collective feeling of calm and peace reflected across the crowd as the night came to a close, everyone now residing in a new mindset of chill. As the twinkling piano faded, it was like awakening from a dream, fully recharged and ready to start a new.

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