I hadn't heard such powerful and engaging blowing in a while. Three jazz musicians going at it together, pushing each other off balance, playing with each other for an hour, putting their guts in their instruments, playing with as much energy as possible. Sometimes, that's simply what free jazz is all about. And these three deliver a magical moment. Center stage is the under-documented drummer Tony Bianco, a busy player unconcerned with extended techniques. He hits often and everywhere, but always remains within the jazz idiom (think of Edward Blackwell). Left stage is tenor saxophonist Paul Dunmall (of the British quartet Mujician), a fiery musician who can deliver great energy when at his best. Stage right is Dunmall's friend Simon Picard (Paul Dunmall Octet), another tenor. Both share the same language partly inherited from Coltrane. Utoma Trio is another take at the sax/drums face-off first exemplified by Coltrane and Rashied Ali (Interstellar Space) and more recently explored by Ivo Perelman (The Hammer with Jay Rosen, Brazilian Watercolour with Ali and percussionists Guilherme Franco and Cyro Baptista). A ten-minute track is squeezed between two half-hour improvs -- a good idea as it lets the listener rest a little. Bianco is unstoppable, while tenors trade solos or engage in battle. It could have been tiresome but it's not; the level of intensity translates into excitement and the listener comes out of Utoma Trio flushed but happy. The album was recorded in London on July 8, 1999.
Utoma Trio Review
by François Couture
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