Otis Trio ’74 Club’ (Far Out) 3/5

Otis-Trio-74-ClubBrazilian specialists Far Out have always been keen to champion new talent in Brazil and Sao Paulo-based and born group Otis Trio are no exception. It has to be stressed that this is not at all the stereotypical terrain of bossa and samba with jazz that a great many Brazilian jazz musicians focus on and they are to be congratulated for taking an alternative route. Rather the trio (plus augmented six piece brass section and vibes) are more of a Brazilian equivalent of Medeski, Martin and Wood with freer elements of jazz added in on this their first full length album. Otis trio excel as creating riffs on guitar and vibes and then improvising off that and the opener, the haunting ‘Montag’s Dream’ typifies their sound as does ‘Quarta Feira Santa’ which may just be the album’s strongest number and the rhythmic element is here with a sparing use of brass orchestrations. A first taster of the trio came with the releases of the 7″ ‘Otis Natu’ which has a bubbling bass line that recalls the Japanese-French collective United Future Organization in their prime. If the all original numbers do sometimes lack the necessary melodicism throughout to retain the listener’s attention, then this will come in time with more experience and greater confidence in writing material. Definitely a band to watch out for in the future. Tim Stenhouse