Alan Wilkinson / John Edwards / Steve Noble: Live At Cafe OtoBy
The trio is establishing their sound in London's music scene as fierce improvisers, performing in multiple seminal groups such as the N.E.W and the Peter Brotzmann & Alan Wilkinson Quartet. Following their first recording, Obliquity (Bo'Weavil, 2008), this concert captures their sound in unadulterated form, a performance that is an unrelenting and whimsical ride, all within the space of just two tracks.
A clarinet's scream opens "Spellbound" into thirty-one minutes of sheer energy. It's frantic pace moving like a wall of soundscreeching horn, slicing bowed bass trills, and polyrhythmic drums. Yet within this sonic barrage, the music never becomes monotonous. It adapts and changes, like a living organism. Around the four minute mark the music resembles a hectic marketplace in India; at nine minutes, a rowdy groove tempo; at twelve minutes, a complete three ring circus act with horn skronks, dizzying bass, and tinkering percussion. Surprisingly inventive, these musicians are in complete control of their instruments, displaying excellent technique and stamina in a muscular display of trio abandon.
"Recoil" is just under eight minutes but still packs a nasty punch. It's a shorter yet equally potent display of musical theatrics (howls, whistles, and outlandish voices). Noble's drums lay down a funky path as Edwards' double bass quakes. Right at the end of this impossible-metered tune, the music changes to a decelerated swing tempo with Eric Dolphy-esque swagger. From the wild applause at the end of both tracks, Oto's crowd got what they wanted and the trio delivered a definite live experience.
Alan Wilkinson: alto, baritone saxophone, voice; John Edwards: bass; Steve Noble: drums.
Title: Live At Cafe Oto | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Bo'Weavil