British saxophonist (doubling here on border pipes) Paul Dunmall and American drummer Chris Corsano combine for an intense and high spirited duet album, most appropriate for the newly reactivated ESP label which is famous for free jazz albums by the likes of Albert Ayler and Sonny Simmons. A few jazz musicians (notably Rufus Harley) have doubled on bagpipes, but Dunmall is the first I've heard on the Scottish border pipes, which he plays on the opening performance, "Identical Sunsets." The pipes have a cool sound that is raw and unusual, sounding nasal and pinched, swirling and hypnotic. Accompanied by droning percussion, this gives the whole piece an unrefined and exotic sound. He moves back to tenor saxophone for the remainder of the album, opening the lengthy "Living Proof" with strong fast paced free improvisation. The deep tenor and muscular drumming recall the John Coltrane - Rashied Ali classic album Interstellar Space. Throughout the seventeen minute performance the two musicians slow the tempo and then speed it back up creating an elastic dynamism that is very exciting. Corasno deftly switches between brushes and drumsticks and Dumnall rotates between strong bleating honks and nimble short bursts of notes. The music segues directly into "Better Get Another Lighthouse" with a nimble and richly textured drum solo. Strong tenor saxophone peels out, wild and exciting with deep guttural squalls of tenor over fast drumming building to a very exciting finish of high intensity music. "Out of Sight" starts slowly with light saxophone squeaks and gently percussion, building speed and strength to a deep and potent conclusion. This was a rousing and exciting album with a great deal of dynamic depth. Both musicians lock in well together supporting and encouraging each other to make exciting and passionate music. Identical Sunsets - amazon.com
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Unnatural Ways - We Aliens (Tzadik, 2016) ****
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