The Mahasvanah Trio, at the Vortex 27/6/07 » Jon Wilkinson (guitar), Tony Bianco (drums), Julian Siegel (soprano/tenor sax, bass clarinet) «
Julian Siegel was depping for Paul Dunmall, who was unavailable (and apparently flooded out). The trio is described in the Vortex leaflet as “a concept orientated improvising trio using the drum as an arkestra … reminding one … of the Indian drone”. Basically Tony Bianco fired away with a rattling, droning drum line, while Siegel improvised around on top. The drums were a bit like Rashied Ali on Interstellar Space, or Isis and Osiris with Alice Coltrane… Pretty mesmerising, hypnotic. Siegel played both saxes and bass clarinet, while Jon Wilkinson—whose sound was a little overwhelmed in the mix—played interference patterns on electric guitar.
They played a first set for something like an hour, continuously, and then a second for something like closer to twenty-five minutes; Siegel played the first on tenor and bass clarinet, playing moving (shifting) lines that seemed to want to play something specifically tuneful. For the second half (much on soprano) he played more abstractly, in sorts of rhythmic changes (again not unlike Interstellar Space) and in this sense the horns and drums fit together more seamlessly. Throughout, Siegel and Bianco would fade in and out, coming together every so often to create something extra-ordinary… only to move off again, and allow the audience and themselves to become hypnotised purely by their own polyrhythms and pulse.