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Friday, April 23, 2010

Paul Dunmall - Moment To Moment (SLAM, 2009) ****½

Maybe a little later than my usual doing, here is another great album with Paul Dunmall on tenor saxophone, Matthew Bourne on piano and cello, Dave Kane on bass, and Steve Davis on drums. It's a little later because I just got it from eMusic, unaware of its existence. As you may expect from a Dunmall album, the music is improvised, yet in contrast to some of his other albums, despite the avant-garde leanings, it has a great sense of swing and the it sounds extremely focused and coherent. That is possibly the result of Bourne's piano playing, which offers a more solid backbone than the saxophonist's usual trio performances, and more space at the same time.

The music is incredibly nervous and intense, yet equally sensitive and full of a strange beauty, warm and welcoming despite the sometimes dissonant and harsh surroundings. Only listen to the evolution of the title track, starting with bowed bass and soft sax, some fine touches on a few piano keys, gentle cymbal hits (even the enemies of free improv will like this!), but gradually Kane and Bourne infuse the piece with dynamism, hypnotic and forward driving, with Davis using his full kit, increasing the intensity and power, making Dunmall soar and improvise like only he can do, and then slowly the piece quiets down, all sweet and sad, all beauty and warmth.

And the quality of the initial piece is kept up throughout the album, shifting between free improv and jazz, with the four musicians acting as one, with a coherence that is staggering. Highly recommended.

Buy from Instantjazz.

Listen and download from eMusic.

© stef