Album review

Paul Dunmall Quintet – ‘Yes Tomorrow’ / Richard Scott – ‘Everything Is All At Once’

Paul Dunmall Quintet – Yes Tomorrow

Richard Scott – Everything Is All At Once   

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(Discus Music 133CD and 134CD. Album reviews by Tony Dudley-Evans)

Discus Music, the Sheffield-based label run by Martin Archer, continues to commission excellent albums of cutting edge music.  This month it has launched two new albums: one features a quintet led by improvising saxophonist Paul Dunmall. and the other is a solo album of electronic music by Richard Scott.

Yes Tomorrow features seven compositions by Paul Dunmall, plus one solo saxophone improvised track. Dunmall is known as one of Europe’s finest improvising saxophonists, and is usually heard playing totally free music.  However, he has always written compositions for certain of his groups.  The Soultime and Dreamtime Suites were written for a group featuring Hamid Drake on drums, Percy Pursglove on trumpet, Steve Tromans on piano and Dave Kane on bass.  His writing draws on the blues and soul music, and also on his experience touring with blues singer Johnny Guitar Watson and his work in California with the Divine Light Mission band which often rehearsed with Alice Coltrane.  The combination of his blues and soul influenced writing and the free improvisation of the subsequent solos from the group on this album creates a unique and very exciting mix of music.

In recent years Dunmall has enjoyed working with young players, mostly graduates from the Conservatoire in Birmingham, and has taken pride in introducing them to free jazz.  On this album the quintet has Steve Saunders on guitar, Richard Foote on trombone, James Owston on bass and Jim Bashford on drums. Saunders is particularly effective throughout, and Dunmall is reported (on Bruce Coates’ excellent sleeve notes) as having commented that Yes Tomorrow is very much the guitarist’s album.  This is not to downplay the contribution of Foote who interacts brilliantly with Dunmall and the strong pulse provided by Owston and Bashford.  Indeed, thanks to the contributions of all five musicians, this is improvised music that really swings.   

Everything Is All At Once features Richard Scott (not Richard Scott, the improvising string player) on solo electronics using both analogue and modular synthesisers . Eight tracks present what Scott describes in his notes as ‘an ensemble approach to analogue synthesis’.  He creates something of the feeling of playing in a group through the use of multiple lines, and by exploiting the possibility thrown up by the occasional random sounds created by the machines of reacting spontaneously to them.  Overall we have eight nicely sculpted pieces that nevertheless retain an element of spontaneity.

LINK: Discus Music on Bandcamp

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