This album is the latest in the vast discography that Paul Dunmall continues to build on the FMR label. It was recorded in the Sansom Studios in Solihull and features a saxophone piano bass and drums quartet with Paul on tenor and alto saxophones, Liam Noble, John Edwards and Mark Sanders. Paul’s plan is to document all his work on the FMR label and this quartet has worked together on a number of occasions at the Vortex in London, and as part of the Fizzle programme in Birmingham. It was the second concert in the Paul Dunmall Presents monthly series at the Eastside Jazz Club co-promoted by TDE Promotions and the Jazz Department at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. Sadly the Covid-19 has led to the postponement of that series.
It is good to hear Paul Dunmall in a saxophone piano bass drums quartet and this is a superb album with free jazz /improvised music at its very best. The interaction between Paul and Liam Noble is stunning throughout and John Edwards and Mark Sanders are magnificent as always. Not only do they make significant contributions to the collective improvisation, but they always provide an exciting groove.
There are three tracks of similar length, The Feeling Principle , Full Waking Trance and The Single Heart. Each track goes through a series of episodes, from a kind of call and response between Paul and Liam, through passages of collective improvisation, saxophone or piano solos over the bass and drums, duets between Mark and John and individual solos from Mark and John. Each track develops its own structure with an arc that builds up to a peak and then gradually winds down to a very satisfying conclusion. At first listening one might well assume on the basis of the variety and mood changes in these tracks that a certain amount of planning went into them or that at least they were discussed beforehand, but I am assured and readily believe that they were entirely improvised and the structure emerged organically.
Throughout Paul is on top form and shows his amazing ability to create solos full of interesting motifs and melodies. He never seems to repeat himself and he seems not to fall back on licks or favourite phrases. He is indeed one of the world’s finest improvisers.