374

Alan Wilkinson / John Edwards / Steve Noble: Live At Cafe Oto

Mark F. Turner By

Sign in to view read count
Alan Wilkinson / John Edwards / Steve Noble: Live At Cafe Oto The audacity of free jazz is its tightrope balance between chaos and control, music almost without boundaries. Vociferous and untamed, maybe, but certainly not undisciplined, it takes a certain skill and ingenuity to create music such as heard on Live At Cafe Oto. To the contrary, the UK free jazz trio—Alan Wilkinson (reeds), John Edwards (bass), and Steve Noble (drums) is clearly versed in jazz theory from the hard bop sounds of Charles Mingus to the avant-gardism of Albert Ayler.

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 sound—screeching 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.


Track Listing: Spellbound; Recoil.

Personnel: Alan Wilkinson: alto, baritone saxophone, voice; John Edwards: bass; Steve Noble: drums.

Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Bo'Weavil | Style: Free Improv/Avant-Garde


Shop

More Articles

Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2) CD/LP/Track Review TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2)
by Nicola Negri
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Goat Man & The House of the Dead CD/LP/Track Review Goat Man & The House of the Dead
by Dave Wayne
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by James Nadal
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "Escualo" CD/LP/Track Review Escualo
by Duncan Heining
Published: November 24, 2016
Read "Neuroplastic Groove" CD/LP/Track Review Neuroplastic Groove
by Eyal Hareuveni
Published: August 18, 2016
Read "Les Deux Versants Se Regardent" CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read "Two Steps from the Blues" CD/LP/Track Review Two Steps from the Blues
by Geno Thackara
Published: May 18, 2016
Read "Home" CD/LP/Track Review Home
by Karl Ackermann
Published: May 10, 2016
Read "The Invariant" CD/LP/Track Review The Invariant
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 22, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!