Reviews that mention Paul Dunmall

July 28, 2021

Dunmall/Pursglove/Brice/Williams

Palindromes
West Hill Records WHR 002

Paul Dunmall/Matthew Shipp/Joe Morris/Gerald Cleaver

The Bright Awakening

RogueArt ROG-0103

Almost eight years separate these two live quartet sessions featuring British tenor saxophonist Paul Dunmall, but the high level of in-the-moment improvisation is almost identical. Other than intensity, there’s little overlap between the two discs. The Bright Awakening was recorded during 2012’s Vision Festival and features Dunmall who has partnered with many UK sound explorers embedded among American practitioners with the same experience: pianist Matthew Shipp, bassist Joe Morris and drummer Gerald Cleaver. Flash forward to Café Oto in 2020 and the saxophonist plays with London-based associates of the same ilk: trumpeter Percy Pursglove bassist Olie Brice and drummer Jeff Williams. The American program is a single creation, while the slightly longer London one is divided in two. MORE

July 28, 2021

Paul Dunmall/Matthew Shipp/Joe Morris/Gerald Cleaver

The Bright Awakening
RogueArt ROG-0103

Dunmall/Pursglove/Brice/Williams

Palindromes

West Hill Records WHR 002

Almost eight years separate these two live quartet sessions featuring British tenor saxophonist Paul Dunmall, but the high level of in-the-moment improvisation is almost identical. Other than intensity, there’s little overlap between the two discs. The Bright Awakening was recorded during 2012’s Vision Festival and features Dunmall who has partnered with many UK sound explorers embedded among American practitioners with the same experience: pianist Matthew Shipp, bassist Joe Morris and drummer Gerald Cleaver. Flash forward to Café Oto in 2020 and the saxophonist plays with London-based associates of the same ilk: trumpeter Percy Pursglove bassist Olie Brice and drummer Jeff Williams. The American program is a single creation, while the slightly longer London one is divided in two. MORE

May 28, 2021

Paul Dunmall Sextet

Cosmic Dream Projection
FMR CD 596-0920

By Ken Waxman

New Orleans and West Coast jazz exist so why not Birmingham (UK) jazz? Veteran British saxophonist/flutist Paul Dunmall and his associates make a good case for adopting the moniker with their performance here. Besides Dunmall, each of the players has an association with that city in the West Midlands. Besides his other gigs, trumpeter Percy Pursglove has since 2005 taught at the Birmingham Conservatoire (BC). Meanwhile trombonist Richard Foote, drummer Jim Bashford, guitarist Steven Saunders and bassist James Owston are all Birmingham based with most having attended the BC. MORE

July 16, 2020

Dunmall/Sanchez/Sanders

A Songbirds Temple
FMR CD 572-0120

Best-known for leading his own bands as well as long-time membership in the Mujician quartet, saxophonist Paul Dunmal has long been in the forefront of British Free Music. At the same time Dunmall, who years ago spent time in a Divine Light Mission ashram while playing in a big band with Alice Coltrane, believes in spiritual understanding through meditation. Sessions such as this one touch on both of his preoccupations. This is especially obvious in track titles such as the one which gives this CD its name, and the concluding “Bhagavathar”, honoring the 19th century mystic and Carnatic music composer. MORE

February 23, 2020

Dunmall/Gibbs/Taylor/Long

Landscapes
FMR 533-0510

Gresncsó String Collective

River Music

Adyton Records AGZE 09 CD

Erb/Loriot/Morishige

Dry

veto-records/exchange 017

Moving away from those deadening “with strings” sessions of the past where any number of accompanying string players helped a Jazz soloist create cloying, supposedly more palatable programs, free improvisers have turned the approach on its head. Today the dissonant tones and singular textures are as apt to come from guitarists, violinists, violists, cellists and bassists as they are from other instrumentalists. Meanwhile the horn players, whose solos were formerly sweetened by the strings, have become part of the ensemble, cooperating in a compelling program. These sessions feature one saxophonist interacting with various string player subsets. Each is an improvement on conventional “with strings” sets, but the subversion of expected string harmonies is what decides which stand out more than others. MORE

July 24, 2019

Various Artists

John Coltrane 50th Memorial Concert at Café Oto
Confront Recordings Core 07

More than a half-century after his death tributes to saxophonist John Coltrane are still being produced, although the focus has gone from memorials by his contemporaries to tributes by those who have been affected by his music. So it is on this exemplary two-CD set by a group of mostly British improvisers who are fully in Trane’s orbit. On the 50th anniversary of the saxophonist’s death, they created live interpretations of two of Coltrane’s iconic, late-period works, “Sun Ship” and “Ascension”. MORE

January 17, 2017

Paul Dunmall Quartet

Underground Underground
SLAM 2101

History, even history of the arts, assigns the most space to any area’s best-known practitioners. Others are almost ignored, even if some of their work is on the same level or even surpasses that of their preeminent colleagues. Improvised music is no exception. Which is a long-winded way of asking why isn’t tenor saxophonist Howard Cottle better known? Equivalent to visual artists who labored in the shadows of Picasso, Dali and others, but who produced work that measured favorably with theirs, Cottle goes mano a mano with tenor saxophonist Paul Dunmall and doesn’t suffer in comparison. MORE

June 11, 2015

Parker/Dunmall/Bianco

Extremes
Red Toucan RT 9349

Evan Parker ElectroAcoustic Septet

Seven

Victo 127

Harris Eisenstadt

Golden State II

Songlines SGL 1610-2

Anthony Braxton

Trio and Duet

Sackville (Delmark) SK3007

EarNear

EarNear

TourdeBras TDB90012 CD

Something In The Air: Canadian Exposure for Out-of-the-Country Out-of-the-Ordinary Improvisers

By Ken Waxman

Just as international improvisers sometimes find a more welcoming atmosphere for their sound experiments in Canada than at home, so too have Canadian record labels become a vehicle to release notable free music sessions. Attesting to this openness, two of the most recent discs by British saxophone master Evan Parker are on Canadian imprints. But each arrived by a different route. One of the triumphs of 2014’s Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville in Quebec, this performance of Seven by Parker’s ElectroAcoustic Septet (Victo 127) are available on Victo, FIMAV’s affiliated imprint. Consisting of one massive and one shorter instant composition, Seven literally delineates the electro-acoustic divide. Trumpeter Peter Evans, reedist Ned Rothenberg, cellist Okkyung Lee and Parker make up the acoustic side, while varied laptop processes are operated by Ikue Mori and Sam Pluta, with George Lewis switching between laptop and trombone, with his huffing brass tone making a particular impression during a contrapuntal faced-off with Parker’s soprano saxophone during Seven-2. At nearly 46 minutes, “Seven-1” is the defining work, attaining several musical crests during its ghostly, meandering near time-suspension, Allowing for full expression of instrumental virtuosity, dynamic flutters, flanges and processes from the laptoppists accompany, comment upon or challenge the acoustic instruments. Alternately wave forms loops and echoes cause the instrumentalists to forge their reposes. Plenty of sonic surprises arise during the sequences. Undefined processed-sounding bee-buzzing motifs for example are revealed as mouth and lip modulations from Evans’ piccolo trumpet or aviary trills from Rothenberg’s clarinet. In contrast the electronics’ crackles and static are often boosted into mellower affiliations that sound purely acoustic. Eventually both aspects meld into a climax of bubbly consistency with any background-foreground, electro or acoustic displays satisfactorily melded. More percussive “Seven-2” has a climax involving fragmented electronics pulsating steadily as first Evans, then Rothenberg and finally Parker spill out timbres that confirm formalism as much as freedom. MORE

December 26, 2014

Dvorak/Dunmall/Mapp/Sanders

Cherry Pickin’
SLAM CD 294

Putting fads and fashions aside, this seven-track CD could be irrefutably dubbed a perfect example of British Jazz from mainstream players in mid-career, if it wasn’t for the fact that the trumpeter and chief composer was born in Brooklyn. Putting that quirk of history aside, Cherry Pickin’ is an unbeatable vehicle for the talents of Jim Dvorak, who despite being born stateside in 1948 has been a resident part of the British scene for almost 45 years.

Infrequently recorded as leader, Dvorak, has been a member of the Keith Tippett Group, Chris MacGregor's Brotherhood of Breath and the Bardo State Orchestra to merely name three bands. His associates here are tenor saxophonist Paul Dunmall, a close contemporary, who has also been part of many ensembles; plus two younger musicians. Drummer Mark Sanders has partnered everyone from Evan Parker to John Butcher; meanwhile Birmingham-based bassist Chris Mapp is in bands with Sanders as well as everyone from saxophonist Dave Rempis to electronic whiz Leafcutter John. MORE

August 16, 2014

Red Dhal Sextet

Red Dhal Sextet
FMR CD364-1014

The closest thing to a multi-country super session, if such show biz-like tropes weren’t verboten in the more egalitarian Free Jazz Scene, the Red Dhal Sextet impressively tackles a set of instant compositions with the finesse needed to create high quality improvised music.

Recorded in Berlin, the sextet is pieced together from other bands. German alto saxophonist Frank Paul Schubert, Australian bassist Mike Majkowski and Greek drummer Yorgos Dimitriadis – all residents of the German capital – often play together in trio formation. Another Berliner by adoption, trombonist Hilary Jeffery is part of groups such as Zeitkratzer and plays in the octet lead by British tenor saxophonist Paul Dunmall, who is also featured here. Pianist Alexander von Schlippenbach has been part of countless European Jazz combos since the mid-1960s, most notably his own trio with saxophonist Evan Parker and drummer Pal Lovens. MORE

February 26, 2014

Edward Ricart Quartet + Paul Dunmall

Chameleon
New Atlantis CD 009

Dunmall/Hanslip/Gibbs/Ricart

Weeping Idols

FMR CD 356-0513

Having the talents of British tenor saxophonist Paul Dunmall and American guitarist Edward Ricart in common and recorded in the same year, these CDs confirm that the classification of the two sessions as Free Music is about as useful as noting that a Jeep and a Jaguar are both automobiles. Part of a double duo filled out by Brits Mark Hanslip on tenor saxophone and Phil Gibbs on guitar Weeping Idols is a four-track exercise in contemplative but often spiky improvisations with the balance subtly shifting among the four players. Chamaelon on the other hand, is except for Dunmall, all-American, with its six tracks spontaneously composed in a more aggressive manner, reinforced by contributions from bassist Jason Ajemian and drummer Andrew Barker as well as Herb Robertson on trumpet and so-called little instruments. MORE

February 26, 2014

Dunmall/Hanslip/Gibbs/Ricart

Weeping Idols
FMR CD 356-0513

Edward Ricart Quartet + Paul Dunmall

Chameleon

New Atlantis CD 009

Having the talents of British tenor saxophonist Paul Dunmall and American guitarist Edward Ricart in common and recorded in the same year, these CDs confirm that the classification of the two sessions as Free Music is about as useful as noting that a Jeep and a Jaguar are both automobiles. Part of a double duo filled out by Brits Mark Hanslip on tenor saxophone and Phil Gibbs on guitar Weeping Idols is a four-track exercise in contemplative but often spiky improvisations with the balance subtly shifting among the four players. Chamaelon on the other hand, is except for Dunmall, all-American, with its six tracks spontaneously composed in a more aggressive manner, reinforced by contributions from bassist Jason Ajemian and drummer Andrew Barker as well as Herb Robertson on trumpet and so-called little instruments. MORE

May 28, 2013

Meloni/Dunmall/Dessanay/Sanders

Pictures of a Quartet
SLAM 539

Maroney/Ilgenfritz/Niescier/Drury

Mind Games

OutNow Recordings ONR 011

With the saxophone plus rhythm section such a common configuration in Jazz, improvisers must resort to new stratagems to bring some originality to the proceedings. These quartets do so, but in widely different manners. The combo on Pictures of a Quartet for instance, works on melding variants of atonal improvisations with compositional impulses that relate to the background of Italian pianist Sebastiano Meloni. Mind Games on the other hand transforms the quartet symbiosis by building many of the tracks around the unexpected timbres generated by Denman Maroney’s prepared piano and Andrew Drury unusual percussion set. MORE

August 6, 2012

Label Spotlight

SLAM Productions
By Ken Waxman

Serendipity not strategy led to the birth of the British label SLAM 23 years ago, which since that time, from its base in Abingdon, six miles south of Oxford, has grown to a catalogue of almost 160 releases from European, South and North American improvisers.

SLAM simply came about when journeyman multi-reedist George Haslam, who at 50 had played with everyone from ‘30s dance band trumpeter Nat Gonella to free music trombonist Paul Rutherford decided he wanted to release a disc of solo baritone saxophone improvisations. “I made a couple of LPs on Spotlite with my group, but I wanted to make a solo improvised recording and I knew this would not fit with Spotlite whose beginnings had been with Charlie Parker,” he recalls. “I spoke to Eddie Prevost [who runs the Matchless label] and others, coming to the conclusion that the best way to do this and have complete control, was to do it myself. Eddie advised me to do a CD, not an LP – which, in 1989, was excellent advice. In the event I recorded an album of solos and duos with Paul Rutherford called 1989 - and all that”. MORE

August 16, 2011

Dreamtime

Double Trouble
Reel Recordings RR018/019/020

Unbeknownst to most Jazz fans the musical influence of the South African Blue Notes combo and Brotherhood of Breath (BOB) big band extended much further into Jazz’s lingua franca than evidenced by the groups subsequently led by the original expatriates. Part of the appeal of Dreamtime, for instance, founded in 1981 by three Englishmen and two London-domiciled expatriates – one Italian and one American – is the many of the themes pulse with that mixture of Townships and experimental sounds which characterized the BOB. MORE

July 22, 2011

Mark Anderson/ Paul Dunmall/Philip Gibbs/Tony Hymas

21st Century V-Bop
SLAM CD 284

Uli Kempendorff Quartet

Louise

Jazzhaus Musik JHM 189

Quartet combinations with saxophone, guitar and drums often negotiate the boundaries separating Jazz-Rock and Jazz-Improv. The German and British ensembles featured here negotiate opposite sides of the divide precisely because of each combo’s fourth member. With resilient pressures from Marc Muellbauer’s double bass, the band of reedist Uli Kempendorff, drummer Kay Lübke and guitarist Ronny Graupe works in Jazz-Improv conception. Meanwhile the intricate, somewhat spacey lines from Tony Hymas’ keyboards encourage Jazz-Rock invention from saxophonist Paul Dunmall, guitarist Philip Gibbs and drummer Mark Anderson. MORE

July 7, 2011

Van Hove/Dunmall/Rogers/Lytton

Asynchronous
SLAM CD 283

By Ken Waxman

An enviable instance of a so-called supergroup of European improvisers clicking in a festival setting, Asynchronous demonstrates what can be done in the familiar saxophone and rhythm section setting. It helps that each participant is a veteran, comfortable in many improv situations. Paul Dunmall, who plays tenor saxophone and border pipes here and 7-string bassist Paul Rogers are one-half of the cooperative British quartet Mujician, as well as leading their own bands. Antwerp-based pianist Fred Van Hove has been defining a Flemish variant on Free Jazz since before his participation in 1968’s Machine Gun; and Belgium-based, English-born drummer Paul Lytton is equally adaptable, having spent four decades time collaborating with stylists ranging from British saxophonist Evan Parker to American trumpeter Nate Wooley. MORE

January 28, 2011

David Sait

Sixty Interpretations of Sixty Seconds by Sixty Solo Improvisers
Apprise Records AP-04

As much a triumph of organization and timbral arrangement as music, this matchless CD is the result of a unique initiative by Toronto-based guzheng player David Sait. During 2009 and 2010 he solicited and collected original 60-second recordings from 60 improvisers he had played with or admired in the past, then knit the results into 10 separate tracks, each of which encompasses improvisations from six of the participants.

Considering that anyone hearing the results wouldn’t realize that each 60-second cut was recorded independently of the others, the suturing is almost faultless. Bearing in mind that contributions came from Canada, the United States, Mexico, Argentina, Japan, Spain, Australia, Ukraine, France, Belarus, Finland, Austria, Germany, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Portugal, Belgium, Serbia, Ireland and Italy, the idea that cerebral improvising is universal suggests itself as well. MORE

January 13, 2011

Trio BraamDeJoodeVatcher

Quartet
BBBCD 12 & 13

How can a trio be a quartet? That Dadaist query is more serious than is initially evident. For adding another musician to a long-established triangular entity, doesn’t necessarily result in a quartet sound if the thought processes don’t mesh. However Trio BraamDeJoodeVatcher here craftily avoids the phenomenon of merely creating music for three plus one. Using pieces from pianist Michel Braam’s “Q Book” as a basis, the three integrate guests’ sounds into their longstanding connection. MORE

October 27, 2010

Paul Dunmall/Chris Corsano

Identical Sunsets
ESP 4058

Van Hove/Dunmall/Rogers/Lytton

Asynchronous

SLAM CD 283

Philip Gibbs/Paul Dunmall/Tony Hymas/Paul Rogers/Neil Metcalfe/Tony Levin

Mumuksuta

Duns Limited Edition DLE 066

Straddling the sometimes artificially constructed divide that separates Jazz and Free Music is London-based woodwind player Paul Dunmall. He is able to creditably comport himself no matter the sonic situation in settings ranging from solo gigs to large ensembles. Three recent CDs demonstrate these skills in varied settings, only one of which is a bit louche. MORE

October 27, 2010

Philip Gibbs/Paul Dunmall/Tony Hymas/Paul Rogers/Neil Metcalfe/Tony Levin

Mumuksuta
Duns Limited Edition DLE 066

Paul Dunmall/Chris Corsano

Identical Sunsets

ESP 4058

Van Hove/Dunmall/Rogers/Lytton

Asynchronous

SLAM CD 283

Straddling the sometimes artificially constructed divide that separates Jazz and Free Music is London-based woodwind player Paul Dunmall. He is able to creditably comport himself no matter the sonic situation in settings ranging from solo gigs to large ensembles. Three recent CDs demonstrate these skills in varied settings, only one of which is a bit louche. MORE

October 27, 2010

Van Hove/Dunmall/Rogers/Lytton

Asynchronous
SLAM CD 283

Paul Dunmall/Chris Corsano

Identical Sunsets

ESP 4058

Philip Gibbs/Paul Dunmall/Tony Hymas/Paul Rogers/Neil Metcalfe/Tony Levin

Mumuksuta

Duns Limited Edition DLE 066

Straddling the sometimes artificially constructed divide that separates Jazz and Free Music is London-based woodwind player Paul Dunmall. He is able to creditably comport himself no matter the sonic situation in settings ranging from solo gigs to large ensembles. Three recent CDs demonstrate these skills in varied settings, only one of which is a bit louche. MORE

January 1, 2010

Profound Sound Trio

Opus De Life
Porter Records PRCD 4032

Dunmall/Bourne/Kane/Davis

Moment to Moment

SLAM CD 279

Any purported differences that are supposed to divide American Free Jazz from European Free Jazz vanish under the steady assault of British tenor saxophonist Paul Dunmall when he works up a full head of improvising steam on Moment to Moment and Opus De Life.

Granted that the meeting on the first CD between the London-based saxophonist and a Leeds-based rhythm section begins with an interface more understated and timbre-searching than the spectacular blow-out he participated in with two legendary New York Free Jazzers eight days previously on Opus De Life. Yet when the saxophonist explodes into glossolalia and triple-tonguing on the more-than-19 minute “Voluntary Expressions” the distance created by the Atlantic Ocean seems to shrivel into puddle width. This is universal improvising; not British or American Jazz. MORE

January 1, 2010

Dunmall/Bourne/Kane/Davis

Moment to Moment
SLAM CD 279

Profound Sound Trio

Opus De Life

Porter Records PRCD 4032

Any purported differences that are supposed to divide American Free Jazz from European Free Jazz vanish under the steady assault of British tenor saxophonist Paul Dunmall when he works up a full head of improvising steam on Moment to Moment and Opus De Life.

Granted that the meeting on the first CD between the London-based saxophonist and a Leeds-based rhythm section begins with an interface more understated and timbre-searching than the spectacular blow-out he participated in with two legendary New York Free Jazzers eight days previously on Opus De Life. Yet when the saxophonist explodes into glossolalia and triple-tonguing on the more-than-19 minute “Voluntary Expressions” the distance created by the Atlantic Ocean seems to shrivel into puddle width. This is universal improvising; not British or American Jazz. MORE

July 3, 2009

The September Quartet

What Goes Around
Loose Torque LT 015

Paul Dunmall Sun Quartet

Ancient and Future Airs

Clean Feed CF 138 CD

As he has proved in other situations – most notably his two decades long membership in both the London Jazz Composers Orchestra and the collective quartet Mujician – saxophonist Paul Dunmall is the consummate group player.

With wide-ranging influences that take in Carnatic sounds, semi-folk material, so-called Ecstatic Jazz and free-form improv, the London-based musician is known for his tenor saxophone playing, but also tries out other members of the saxophone family – including the saxello – and has recently turned his attention to the border bagpipes. MORE

July 3, 2009

Paul Dunmall Sun Quartet

Ancient and Future Airs
Clean Feed CF 138 CD

The September Quartet

What Goes Around

Loose Torque LT 015

As he has proved in other situations – most notably his two decades long membership in both the London Jazz Composers Orchestra and the collective quartet Mujician – saxophonist Paul Dunmall is the consummate group player.

With wide-ranging influences that take in Carnatic sounds, semi-folk material, so-called Ecstatic Jazz and free-form improv, the London-based musician is known for his tenor saxophone playing, but also tries out other members of the saxophone family – including the saxello – and has recently turned his attention to the border bagpipes. MORE

May 29, 2006

QUARTET NOIR

Lugano
Victo cd 096

SCHLIPPENBACH/DUNMALL/ROGERS/BIANCO Vesuvius
SLAMCD 262

Serendipitously recorded eight days apart, these mixed Euro-American quartet CDs with similar instrumentation couldn’t be more different – and that statement encompasses a lot more than personnel or geography.

Matching one of the founders of German Free Jazz with three younger, London-based improvisers is VESUVIUS, an all-out recording session firmly in the Energy Music genre. LUGANO, which is described as “a suite in three movements”, is as much minimalism as Free Improv, with the three Europeans and one American consolidating a series of understated timbres and waveforms into a collection of tones. Amazingly – or perhaps not – both CDs reach the goal of positive music making, though admittedly LUGANO’s are more micro. MORE

September 12, 2005

PAUL DUNMALL

In Your Shell Like
EMANEM 4111

Neo-cons and other tin-eared types who harp on Free Music’s so-called break with tradition, should listen carefully to the first track on this CD.

They want tradition? Here’s the sounds of two British musicians creating top rank improvisations using instruments that cast the saxophone and drum sets favored by the neo-boppers into the realm of recent novelties. London-based Paul Dunmall confines his playing to the border bagpipes, while Brussels-based Stevie Wishart extracts unique timbres from the hurdy-gurdy. If racket and clamor are avant-garde, then musicians playing the Scottish and Irish pipes and the portable mechanical viol have been bizarre ultramodernists for at least two centuries. MORE

April 4, 2005

PAUL DUNMALL MOKSHA BIG BAND

I Wish You Peace
Cuneiform RUNE 203

Unquestionably a 50th birthday present to himself – and his listeners – there’s a tendency to hear I WISH YOU PEACE as an attempt by British saxophonist Paul Dunmall to sum up his musical experiences after a half century of life. Yet it’s a much a reflection of the present and future as the past.

Writing the three-part suite at a time when the war in Iraq was in full battle mode, Dunmall’s spiritual preoccupations seem a bit overcome by bellicose motifs in this recording, initially premiered on BBC Radio 3. Still the title reflects the reedman’s desire for humankind to achieve a non-war-like serenity. MORE

August 9, 2004

WILLIAM PARKER/AD PEIJNENBURG

Brooklyn Calling
Dino CD 32004

PAUL DUNMALL/PAUL ROGERS
Awareness Response
Emanem 4101

Familiarity and novelty are the two strategies that can work equally well in improvised music. That’s why CDs with almost the same personnel can sound so different.

Consider the depth of penetrating understanding that goes into the duo session by two Englishmen, multi-reedman Paul Dunmall and bassist Paul Rogers, and contrast it with the interactive first-time meeting between American bassist William Parker and Dutch reedist Ad Peijnenburg. Similar on the surface, both discs define cooperative duo playing. But both arrive at that concordance differently. MORE

July 12, 2004

PAUL DUNMALL/PAUL ROGERS/KEVIN NORTON

Go Forth Duck
CIMP #296

PRESENT TENSE WITH PAUL DUNMALL
Infinity Calling
Foxy Productions Foxy 203

Fusion, jazz’s equivalent of the f-word, has its negative reputation because of the bombastic technique exhibited by most of its practitioners, especially those from the rock side of the fence. So when a quick-witted, almost highbrow CD like INFINITY CALLING comes along, you’re loath to describe it as a fusion effort, even though the three members of the Bristol, England band Present Tense don’t shy away from the label. MORE

April 12, 2002

PAUL DUNMALL

Something Normal
DUNS Limited Edition double 010

Ever since Fred Guy turned from the banjo to the guitar in Duke Ellington’s orchestra about 1933, the possibilities for banjo in post Trad jazz have been severely limited, or to be truthful, non-existent. Guitarist Chuck Wayne did record a bop-banjo track in the early 1960s -- you could look it up -- but generally if a banjo appeared on a jazz date, so did the New Orleans repertoire.

However British guitarists John Adams -- not to be confused with the American composers of the same name -- and Philip Gibbs don’t miss an opportunity to flail away at the what is probably the only indigenous African-American instrument during this two- CD set of collaborations with woodwind player Paul Dunmall. Adams, who has been part of Dunmall’s working trio, also plays both acoustic and electric guitars and mandolin plus banjo here, while Gibbs, who has recorded duo, trio and quartet sessions with the reed man, solos on both type of guitars and ukulele as well as the banjo. Not to be outdone, Dunmall, best-known as one-quarter of the Mujician group, trots out his flute, bagpipes, soprano and swannee saxophone, preznophone and moxeno -- whatever the last three might be -- on his side of the equation. MORE

March 22, 2002

MUJICIAN

Spacetime
Cuneiform Rune 162

Together for almost a decade and a half, the sound of the British quartet Mujician, is, if anything more exhilarating than it has ever been.

Working within the instrumental parametres of the standard post-bop combo -- piano, bass, drums and saxophone -- the band situates itself in a space midway between what could be called BritImprov and American energy music. In other words, while some sections of the more than 72½ minutes of music on this disc are given over to microscopic instrumental evisceration through extended technique and emphasis, others spew out molten-hot slabs of intense, protracted, multi-faceted free jazz assertions. MORE

January 8, 2002

PAUL DUNMALL/DAVE ALEXANDER/TIM WELLS

Live in London
DUNS Limited Edition DLE 0015

One of the busiest free jazz saxophonists in Europe, Londoner Paul Dunmall, like many other musicians, seems to have spent the past few years recording every gig he could. Now that he has his own label, the aptly named DUNS Limited Edition, he’s finally able to give wider currency to exceptional performances like the two on this CD.

No practitioner of the almost clichéd, British breath-control school of reed playing, Dunmall makes his mark in such ensembles as the cooperative Mujician band the London Jazz Composers Orchestra as an upright, straightahead player, whose hairy-chested overblowing doesn’t neglect volume and vibrato. MORE

November 12, 2001

PAUL DUNMALL/JOHN EDWARDS/JOHN BUTCHER

Hit And Run
FMP CD 116

PAUL DUNMALL/PAUL ROGERS
Alien Art
DUNS Limited Edition 008

Despite equal billing for all three musicians, except for its final five minutes, HIT AND RUN isn't a trio session at all. Instead it features bassist John Edwards doing yeoman service in duets with two of his British countrymen who happen to be some of the most accomplished reedists on the planet: John Butcher and Paul Dunmall.

Each of the meetings, however, is as different as the bearded, heavyset Dunmall and slimmer, clean-shaven Butcher are from one another. Dunmall's "Gaulstones" is a gaudy free-for-all featuring him on two different bagpipes and soprano saxophone; while Butcher's "Rhymes" is divided into four shorter rhymes, with him moving effortlessly from soprano and tenor saxophone and back again. What they share in common is excellence. MORE

August 20, 2001

PHILIP GIBBS/PAUL DUNMALL

Master Musicians of MU
Slam CD 241

Packaged and titled as it was some newly discovered field recording of hithertofore unknown Third World music, this CD is anything but. Granted there may be some unusual instruments on show along with some unexpected musical organization, but it's actually an improv session created by two players as British as Queen Elizabeth II.

Londoner Paul Dunmall is an exceptional reedman best known for his work as one-quarter of Mujician. Less-well known, Bristol-based Philip Gibbs is a guitarist who played with the likes of saxophonist Andy Sheppard in the 1980s, and a composer whose writing is influenced by gamelan music and the works of fellow composer Shapurji Sorabji. Recently, Gibbs' skills were displayed on two Dunmall CDs, the South Asian influenced MANJAH, and ONOSANTE, a more straightforward free session. MORE

July 9, 2001

PAUL DUNMALL

The Great Divide
Cuneiform Rune 142

PAUL DUNMALL
Solo Bagpipes II
DUNS Limited Edition 012

A heavyweight large ensemble work, THE GREAT DIVIDE allows British saxophonist Paul Dunmall to flex his writing, arranging and organizing muscles. Then for something completely different there's his solo bagpipes CD.

The orchestral session was created as a five-part suite featuring his long-standing octet, with a sixth blow out adding eight additional musicians. Cleaving midway between an ASCENSION-like, out-and-out free eruption and the more formal writing the saxophonist would have experienced in the London Jazz Composers Orchestra, the suite demands attention both for the strength of its soloists and its connective musical tissue. MORE

April 29, 2001

PAUL DUNMALL

Live At The Subtone
DUNS Limited Edition 002

PAUL DUNMALL Onosante DUNS Limited Edition 006

PAUL DUNMALL Manjah DUNS Limited Edition 007

Part of the so-called second generation of British improvisers, reedman Dunmall seems to have a stronger commitment to the jazz tradition than many others. That doesn't mean that he plays standards, but he's certainly in the lineage of intense sounds that owes more to saxophone visionaries like John Coltrane and Albert Ayler than contemporary European composers.

One-quarter of pianist Keith Tippett's freewheeling Mujician combo and, since 1987, a member of the London Jazz Composers Orchestra, Dunmall, has started his own label to expose different facets of his work. At least from the evidence here, it's limited only in distribution, not musical imagination.

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