July 7, 2011
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.
Proof of this cooperation is dazzlingly apparent during the CD’s almost 47-minute title track. As Dunmall spits out reed bites and split tones with his considerable body weight behind them, Van Hove counters with churning chording and equally kinetic runs. As the saxman’s glissandi become progressively glottal and atonal, the pianist reaches inside his instrument to animate the tightly wound strings with stops, strums and pops. Rogers’ thick pressure on the bass’s multiplied strings plus Lytton’s skittering drags and rebounds mostly hold the rhythm no matter how often the saxophonist’s timbres move from nephritic to altissimo. With the only momentarily release from the staccato, cascading sound textures, those few instances when Lytton strikes a small bell with a wire brush, the fortissimo and polyphonic performance ends as intensely as it began. Van Hove continues outputting pile-driver chords from; Lytton ruffs and press rolls; Rogers’ sul tasto slides; and, nearly engulfing then other tones, Dunmall’s staccato tongue slaps and multiphonic intensity.
Nevertheless the skills displayed are such, that four-part connectivity is never lost, making the date a tribute to both individual talents and group interaction.
Tracks: Asynchronous; Moves
Personnel: Asynchronous: Paul Dunmall: tenor saxophone and border pipes; Fred Van Hove: piano; Paul Rogers: 7-string bass; Paul Lytton: drums
—For New York City Jazz Record July 2011