Reviews that mention John Adams

April 4, 2005


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

April 12, 2002


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