Birthday Greetings

Birthday Greetings to Paul Dunmall at 70

Paul Dunmall at the 2022 Cheltenham Jazz Festival. Photo copyright John Watson /

Friends and colleagues wish saxophonist Paul Dunmall a happy seventieth birthday, today, 6 May 2023, when there is also, apparently, a coronation going on….

James Allsopp: Happy birthday Paul, thanks for 25 years of inspiration and looking forward to many more. Best wishes, James Allsopp

Martin Archer: Hi Paul, I hope you are having an amazing birthday, sorry I’ve not been able to get along to the event(s). I’m so glad that after many years of ships almost passing in the night that we’ve finally got to know each other in the last period – working with you on music releases is great fun and a great experience – here’s to many more to come! Til soon – Martin.

Alex Bonney: Happy Birthday Paul! You’ve been such an inspiration to me for many years, I’ve never heard a saxophone sound fill a room quite the way you can! I will fondly remember the Albert Ayler tribute gigs we did years ago in London and it was wonderful to record with you recently. Have a great day and keep it ‘In The Big Key’! All the very Best, Alex

Faith Brackenbury and Tony Bianco: Happy Birthday, Paul. Have a lovely day. Love Faith and Tony.

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Olie Brice: Paul Dunmall is to my ears one of the greatest saxophonists and improvisers in the world – its been a dream come true, a privilege and a joy to play with him so regularly. He is also an inspiration in his generosity and kindness to everyone. Happy birthday Paul!

Xhosa Cole: Mr Paul Dunmall! Many, many happy returns – thanks so much for the joy and inspiration that your sound(s) and your voice brings to my heart and to the hearts of all those that hear you. Honestly can’t imagine what the world of this music would be for me without the guiding beacon of your music LIVE! 

Stephen Davis: What can I say…Paul is an amazing musician and person. He taught me so much about the music that I will always cherish!

L-R: John O’Gallagher, Xhosa Cole, Paul Dunmall.
Photo courtesy of Xhosa Cole

Pascal Dorban: My brief encounter with Paul at the Vortex about 10 years ago is still vivid in my memory. As I recall, after his gig he handed me a box of CD’s which I carried back to my hotel. Here we are 10 years later celebrating the birthday of a prolific yet young jazz musician. Happy birthday Paul.

Tony Dudley-Evans: I first became aware of Paul Dunmall’s music when Tony Levin told me in the 1980s that he was loving playing with a young saxophonist who had recently moved into the Worcestershire area.  I have loved working with him over many years, particularly recently in the Paul Dunmall Invites series at Birmingham Conservatoire.  The way that Paul has championed young players keen on being involved with free improvisation as well as more experienced players has been a notable feature of that series.

John Etheridge: I first met Paul Dunmall when we played in DannyThompson’s Whatever .There were two contrasting sax players in the band . Cool,cerebral Tony Roberts and Paul , the visceral powerhouse ,chewing up forests with his mighty playing .For years afterwards we were talking about making an album and finally we did .Completely improvised of course and one of Paul’s vast catalogue of improv recordings . What a thrill to just go onstage and burn -no handing round parts -so liberating! We played again recently and as ever his playing got right to the spot ,direct ,impassioned ,earthy and spontaneous -a force of nature .Happy 70th Birthday Paul -keep tearing it up ! Still a lot in the tank.

Paul Dunmall on saxello at the Vortex’s 2006 Elton Dean tribute.
Photo by Helena Dornellas courtesy of Richrd Kaby

Mike Fletcher: Paul – happy birthday!! Thanks for all the music, inspiration and, most of all, the instruments!

Richard Foote: Dear Paul, many thanks for all of the incredible and profound musical experiences. Watching/hearing you play is always inspirational and it’s a real honour to get to make music with you. Happy Birthday and hope you have a wonderful day!  Thanks,  Richard 

Lafayette Gilchrist: Happy Birthday greetings and so many well wishes to You. I know that We’ve only had but one occasion to hit together, but Man was a special special moment for Me. That night at The Vortex some years ago is still with me like yesterday. All the best to You on Your Birthday. Best Wishes Always, Lafayette Gilchrist.

James Brandon Lewis: Wishing Paul Dunmall a happy 70th … I remember the 1st time I heard him at Vision Festival in NYC  years ago … Wow what a sound , I mean most of the battle is trying to find your sound ,,,, when I think of Sound Paul is one of the first people I think of … Over the years he has shared words of wisdom with me and I am forever thankful. There is only one him !!!!!

Glen Leach: Happy Birthday Paul! We’ve only known each other for a short time, but the effect that knowing you and playing with you has had on me has been profound. Your music constantly blows me away. So thank you for that! I hope you have a wonderful birthday and I hope to see you soon. All the best, Glen

Bernard Lyons and Paul Dunmall. Photo courtesy of Bernard Lyons

Bernard Lyons: Happy Birthday Dun. I recall it like yesterday,first hearing you in the 1980s at Bath Festival with Spirit Level. I walked in on a full force tenor solo on Rama and Sita that night and it scrambled my brain in a serious way. From Mujician  through countless other groupings you have provided so many of the most rewarding musical experiences I have witnessed. A great artist and wonderful human,I am proud to call you a friend and comrade. All the best, man! 

Rachel Musson: Happy birthday dear Paul. A huge thank you, of course, for your beautiful music. And also a huge thank you for your warm support over the years. You are an inspiration. 

Liam Noble: Working with Paul has been one of the most intense and rewarding experiences of my career, as well as quite possibly the most relaxed! The whole history of the music is in whatever horn he picks up, and it comes out differently every night. And he’s a great bloke too!

John O’Gallagher: Happy 70th birthday Paul! Your music and generosity have always been an inspiration. Thank You!

Evan Parker: I first heard Paul play when I played opposite him playing with Spirit Level.  That was a good while back! He gave me a beautiful neck-strap that his wife Linda had made for me.  I heard that night  he was something special as a player.  He has continued to give me the gifts of his wonderful playing and his great human spirit ever since.  May there be many Happy Returns.

Paul Dunmall at the 2023 Cheltenham Jazz Festival. Photo copyright John Watson /

Ed Puddick: Dear Paul, It has been a great honour to work with you in recent years…and I can’t wait to put our next project together in the Autumn. The way you approach making music continues to be an inspiration to us all. Have the happiest of 70th Birthdays! Very best wishes, Ed

Percy Pursglove: Happy Birthday, Paul! I can’t fully articulate the huge contribution that you’ve had on my development as a musician over these years …. Since the first time I heard you play live with Tony Levin in the room above the Pat Kav in Brum (my student mind fully blown!), the first time we played together – scared witless, struggling to keep up – to the time we played a bagpipe duet with Hamid, live for BBC R3 (me never having played them before!), through to the many recordings, concerts and indescribable musical moments that we have shared since.  You are a unique genius, an inspiration and gentleman.  I love you dearly, old boy!  Many happy returns. 

Angelica Sanchez. Happy Birthday Paul! To many more happy and healthy ones. Much Love, Angelica.

Mark Sanders: I first heard Paul in the mid 1980s in the duo with Paul Rogers, they were using folk inspired tunes as a springboard for their improvisations, releasing a cassette called ‘Folks’. Beautiful tunes with outrageously virtuosic playing. His playing was so dynamic, exciting and awe inspiring then, and of course still is, and is always exploring new ideas. He’s also a good friend, I miss our travels together to gigs abroad where we suddenly look at each and say “oh blimey where are we, where do we go now?”  Happy Birthday Dun !! 

Steve Saunders: Happy Birthday Paul! I’m eternally grateful for all that you’ve done for me musically and personally – you’ve always championed the young musicians in Birmingham and your inspiration and support has helped build what is now a thriving free jazz/improvising community. I’ve learnt an unbelievable amount from playing and being around you over these past few years, and very much hope to continue hearing that massive tenor sound for years to come!” All the best, Steve.

Steve Swell: Happiest of Birthdays Paul! You are such a unique improviser and I have always enjoyed hearing you! It was so great to finally get to play with you in London and to make the recording we did in 2019 in Birmingham. You really inspired me into different areas during that recording and I am very happy with it. I do so hope we get to play together again soon. 70 years old is the new 40 so there is much more for you to do!!! My best wishes to you and yours and I hope you enjoy this day! Keep on keepin’ on!!!

Trevor Taylor: Well that 50 odd years since we met at Dunkirk Jazz Fest has flown by! It’s been a pleasure releasing over 109 CD’s and documenting all your great playing. I’m doing a gig tonight and will have a drink for you. Happy 70th

Julie Tippetts: Happy Birthday Paul. Have a good one. So many memories… Enjoy your day, Love Julie.

Paul Dunmall at Eastside Jazz Club. Photography by Luke Doak

Mark Wastell: Happy Duns Day!! Sending you plenty of 70th birthday best wishes Paul. Still blowing as strong now as on the first occasion I saw you, with Tim Richard’s Spirit Level with special guest Jack Walrath, in 1986. That’s almost forty years ago! Lots of birthday love, Mark xx

Oliver Weindling: Every time there’s a chance to see and hear Paul Dunmall at the Vortex it’s been a sense of anticipation well rewarded. Be it in Mujician, Profound Sound Trio, with Evan Parker and the various other lineups that he’s brought. And when he comes down we can notice his influence on younger musicians, who often make an effort to attend, or request to play with him. Which makes him a role model for all generations. Therefore the chance for us to celebrate his 70th at the Vortex, having also done his 60th a decade ago, is a privilege and a pleasure.

With thanks to all contributors, and to Olie Brice, Oliver Weindling, Tony Dudley-Evans, Bernard Lyons and Ed Puddick for their help…

LINKS: Celebrations of the birthday will take place in Birmingham (7 May), Vortex London 13 May (First and second shows) and Bristol (24 May)

1 reply »

  1. Oh my dear friends so very moving your lovely comments I thank you so much and wish you all Peace,Love,Joy on your life and musical journeys I hope we meet up again soon Paul

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