Sextet and Babu Trio

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Paul Dunmall
LABELS: Slam
PERFORMER: Paul Dunmall (ss, ts, bar-s); Paul Rogers (b); Tony Levin (d); Jon Corbett (ct); Simon Picard (ts); John Adams (g)
CATALOGUE NO: CD 207 (distr. These Records)

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Despite a distinguished UK-based career with the muscular straightahead jazz group Spirit Level, Danny Thompson’s folk/jazz outfit Whatever, and improvising aggregations like Mujician and the London Jazz Composers’ Orchestra, multi-reedsman Paul Dunmall has yet to receive the critical and commercial success he deserves.

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Possessed of a rich, full-bodied tone and great technical command, he is best heard – as on this double CD – in no-holds-barred improvising contexts, where his intense, occasionally volcanic virtuosity can be given free rein. Whether in a trio with Mujician’s rhythm section (Rogers and Levin), or with the larger band of sympathetic fellow improvisers represented here, Dunmall consistently produces powerful and passionate music; all the more regrettable, therefore, that the sound balance frequently places him too deep in the mix for this to be readily apparent. Thoroughly recommended, even so. Chris Parker