«EMPoWered» documents four British masters of the art of the moment playing live at Iklectik in London in January 2019. The fab four – drummer Eddie Prévost, sax player Alan Wilkinson, double bass player John Edwards and guitarist N.O. Moore accumulated together many decades of perfecting this rare art. Moore Edwards and Prévost have comprised already a longstanding trio, known for their vigorous riffs and unconventional introspection that has released one album («Darkened, Yet Shone», on Prévost’s Matchless Recordings, 2018).
The expansion of the trio with Wilkinson added depth and resonance to the intense free-improvisation dynamics of the trio. As expected, this is a dense and fast-shifting performance, reflecting the strong, independent voices of the four musicians but also the immediate affinity between them, as well their inclusive sonic vision, embracing distinct schools of free jazz and Morre’s experiments with electronic manipulation of sound.
The four musicians are on full power within seconds, exchanging ideas in a lighting speed interplay, and feeding each other’s fiery approach. Prévost often sounds here as a mighty and free incarnation of Elvin Jones’s percussive legacy. He always pushes forward, inventive but focused on serving the music and it is always fascinating to listen to the way he interacts with the other musicians. Edwards and Prévost offer an incredible rhythm section, naturally virtuosic with almost no effort, and each touch of Edwards is impeccable. Wilkinson introduces a full-bodied, soulful and sometimes even lyrical voice to this quartet. Moore is the wild card here. He worked closely before with Prévost and was deeply influenced by Prévost’s weekly workshops, and in this performance, his dense and thorny playing sounds like updating the legacies of James Blood Ulmer and Sonny Sharrock. His electronic effects add an otherworldly, distorted noise to the mix.
One of the many great albums of Prévost is titled «Knowledge is Power» (a duo with Evan Parker, Matchless, 1997). This quartet has the secret knowledge of the art of free improvisation, a rare knowledge that keeps it empowered and inspired throughout this great performance.
Alan Wilkinson (s), N.O. Moore (el.g), John Edwards (b), Eddie Prévost (dr)