This might blow away the cobwebs. OZO self-describe as an alto sax free jazz rock trio. They blend improvised sax workouts with wild drumming and guitar freak outs. Inspired by John Coltrane and Pharaoh Sanders amongst others, this is not for the faint hearted. if you like your music smooth and relaxing then probably best look away now.

Vinyl LP £18.99 REPOSELP090

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Saturn by OZO
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7/10 Daoud 06 February 2020

It’s been said that jazz is as much to do with not playing as it is playing. I'm gonna go ahead and say that OZO probably disagree. This album is dense.

Though there is definitely jazz here, it’s hard to get away from OZO’s hardcore roots, being that they are feature members of Drunk In Hell. Yes there’s saxophones that oscillate at the frequencies of all the colours in the cosmos, but there’s also a hard as fuck rhythm section that play with a ruggedness that might not go down to well at your local jazz bar. 

At first, it’s awe inspiring. Opener ‘Lifeship’ replaces jazzy drum fills with constant drum rolls, while the bass plays the sort of insistent rhythms that give punk music its vitality. Mixed among them is the saxophone. Shredding and squalling, it works as atmospheric backing as much as it does a leading voice. 

OZO say ‘Saturn’ is for fans of Pharaoh Sanders, John and Alice Coltrane, and though they definitely share an interest in a kind of cosmic intensity, these are artists who get the not playing bit of jazz. ‘Saturn’ is relentless, all three musicians are almost always playing at their limit. And while that makes for a fun listen, it’s quite fatiguing.

I think OZO would do well to look to a band like Fire!, a trio of the same instruments whose music is more intense because of the space leaves. There’s no denying that OZO are good at what they do, but I want more. And that might mean they need to give me less.


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