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John Stevens Trio - Live at The Plough

Thomas Millroth, Orkester Journalen

Drummer John Stevens was primarily on of the foremost creators of the free form, but he was also devoted to many other ways of expressions from bebop and fusion to a kind of elongated free jazz à la Ornette Coleman. It is the latter we can hear here.
Stevens plays with flying a drive, a nervous and intensive drumming, which at once through Mike Osborne out in the highest stratosphere of free jazz. The sound is a little canned, the balance between the instruments is not always perfect, but the music comes through with a dense heat.

This kind of continuity of free jazz, which in a way isn’t completely free, not to be compared with for instance Frank Wright or Archie Shepp, was by Stevens called free bop. And sure, it has the flow of the bop, a winding secret-like melodic, which is completely possible to follow. It is a kind of linear music, in large related to Don Cherry’s music but without any ethnical parts.

Osborne is an excellent saxophonist, who here plays with a close intensity, which keeps the attention high through out the whole of the CD.

In “Plough Story” there is a beautiful bluesy swing and in “Carousel” it is the plain bebop jazz pressure which is valid. The CD finish up with a twenty-three minutes long piece which is full of exiting music as for instance a duo between the bassist Paul Rogers and a minimalist John Stevens. Unfortunately, the sound is not the best but the music is brilliant.