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Universal Indians: Nihil is Now

Eyal Hareuveni By

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Universal Indians is a trio comprised of Amsterdam-based, American saxophonist John Dikeman and the resourceful and powerful rhythm section of Norwegian bassist Jon Rune Strøm and drummer Tollef Østvang, both of whom cooperate in other outfits such as the Friends & Neighbors quintet responsible for No Beat Policy (Øra Fonogram, 2011), the All Included quintet that released Reincarnation of a Free Bird (Stone Floor, 2012), and the yet-to-record The Way Ahead sextet; both also manage Stone Floor Records.

This trio presents its own definition of contemporary freely improvised jazz: muscular, passionate, raw and intense music created on the spot, with no distinct leader and with tight, immediate and supportive interplay. The energetic and restless opener, "Schizo in the Park," shifts between expressive solos from the entire trio—all informed by formative free jazz outfits by such leaders as pianist Cecil Taylor and saxophonists John Coltrane, Albert Ayler, and Peter Brötzmann}—but already demonstrating clear, independent voices of their own. Dikeman's tone here is more urgent and confident than on his recently recorded trio with bassist Raoul van der Weide and drummer Klaus KugelAcross the Sky (Not Two, 2012)—while Strøm and Østvang sketch a loose framework.

"Petropolitics" and "1096 DA" are structured as experimental, free streams of searching articulations and fragmented temperaments with total abandonment to sound, slowly fermenting into uncompromising, full-throttle eruptions. "1096 DA" possesses a tighter framework—playful interplay, even—featuring imaginative, colorful solos, with all three players employing varied extended techniques on their instruments. The ironic closer, "Dressed Like Cowboys," is folded in a relaxed pace, beginning with another muscular solo from Strøm. When Østvang and Dikemam join in, they expand the color palette with communicative, supportive and dense interplay.

Powerful, focused and compromised demonstration of free jazz.

Track Listing: Schizo in the Dark; Petropolitics; 1096 DA; Dressed Like cowboys.

Personnel: John Dikeman: saxophones; Jon Rune Strøm: double bass; Tollef Østvang: drums.

Title: Nihil is Now | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Stone Floor Records


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