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Sunday, October 28, 2007

Paul Dunmall - Deep See (FMR, 2007) ****

No, this is not music for scuba-diving, though it may be an interesting experience. The cover art is some of the most unusual I have seen for this kind of music, but then again, what are the rules? Paul Dunmall is a British sax (and bagpipe!) player who has performed and recorded with musicians as diverse as Johnny Guitar Watson, Alice Coltrane and Keith Tippett, and who has been an essential part of the European free improv scene for the past decades. On this record he is accompanied by Tony Orrell on drums and Jim Barr on bass. The music is absolutely fantastic. It is accessible, free, light-footed dancing from beginning to end, with Dunmall playing extremely melodic (without playing themes), very softly, as if he's afraid of creating waves. The interplay among the three musicians is subtle, respectful, creative and focused on shaping this very gentle, fragile kind of free-form improv. Throughout the album, there is some boppish rhythm either explicitly in the foreground or implicitly present in the playing of the musicians. And don't worry, Dunmall sticks to his sax on this record. Coming back to the art work : the music does conjure up feelings of wonder, surprise and sympathy, feelings I could imagine having when admiring the deep sea landscape. Highly recommended.