Paul Dunmall: New Video

Paul Dunmall Invites 9th December EJC

The session of Paul Dunmall Invites last week at the Eastside Jazz Club (EJC) was one of the best yet. The invitees were on this occasion guitarist Steve Saunders, bass player Dave Kane and drummer Miles Levin. This quartet had made a video at Sansom Studios for TDE Promotions and Fizzle back in September, and this session was so good that Paul immediately booked the quartet for the Paul Dunmall Invites December event.

There were many interesting differences between the two sessions. On the recording there was a lot of collective improvisation with each member of the quartet playing off each other. This is very much a feature of the Dunmall approach to free improvisation; he listens to what is going on in the music, and has the ability to react to it and pick up particular phrases and rhythms from other members of the group. The other three players reacted in a similar way. I sat in as the ‘professional listener’, and Paul and I agreed that this had been one of the best sessions recorded at Sansom Studios.

Free improvisation really is different each time, and Thursday’s live session at EJC went in directions that were distinct from the studio recording. The collective improvisation was there, and was very strong, but Paul dropped out on a number of occasions leaving the trio to interact with each other. In these passages the exchanges between Steve Saunders and Dave Kane were particularly intense and exciting, and throughout Miles Levin added to this intensity on the drums. Paul would then come in at exactly the right moment, often taking the music in another direction. As ever in free improvisation, a structure emerged with a movement between the really strong dramatic passages, and those where the energy levels were lower.

This particular group of players is a mix of experienced and less experienced improvisers, Dave Kane and Miles Levin have been playing with Paul for many years, but Steve Saunders is a new discovery, and one who is rapidly becoming one of the most exciting improvisers in the city. Paul has an ability to find new young players, mostly graduates (recent or not so recent!) from the jazz course at Birmingham Conservatoire such as Steve, James Owston, Richard Foote, Chris Mapp and Jim Bashford, and bring them into the world of free improvisation.

Screenshot of the video

The video of the quartet’s session at Sansom Studios will be released at 8pm on Thursday 16th December; you can access it here. It has an interesting interview with Paul as well as some great music.

Final point: the quartet went back into Sansom Studios yesterday to record an album for release next year, and I am reliably informed (I couldn’t be there) that it was the best session yet! Details of label etc to follow.

The Paul Dunmall Invites continues next year at EJC. Follow this website or for dates.

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