Friday, January 13, 2017

Paul Dunmall Quartet - Underground Underground (Slam Productions, 2016)

This is a very exciting small band free jazz album with Paul Dunmall and Howard Cottle on tenor saxophones, Olie Brice on bass and Tony Bianco on drums. Dunmall and Bianco have created a series of stellar John Coltrane tributes over the past few years and this album expands on that idea as this time the music is composed by Dunmall, though inspired by Coltrane, specifically his posthumously released Sunship LP. “Underground Underground” opens the album with storming full throttle music, with deep throaty saxophones in full gear rolling over torrential bass and drums. Two saxophones raise the intensity to hair raising levels with squalls of bass and drumming keeping pace. Swirls of noise and bursts of drums, move to a thrilling over the top conclusion that is stunning its power. They come out of the gate storming at full throttle on “The Inner Silence Was Too Loud” with deep guttural saxophones in full gear roaring over torrential drumming which blooms into a full rich sound. Raw peals of sound with a diamond hard tone, and a foundation of bass and drums all working in consort, developing shadows and light. Soloists shift from one saxophone to another, each with unique tones feeding a dark reverie and pushing forth. “Sunup” keeps the pressure on, with the two saxophones plus bass and drums developing a sound that belies the quartet format. The bass and drums ripple in a muscular fashion, supporting the saxophones which stalk the music like predators at the top of the food chain. There is a collective blowout with all instruments at maximum and then making way for a rattling drum solo. After the epic drum solo, the group displays amazing stamina which builds to a massive brawl of noise and excitement and collective caterwauling. The epic performance “Timberwolf” begins with a taut bass solo, which is eventually met by blasts of scalding saxophone roaring across the musical landscape. There are sharp needles of sound pushing forth waves of energy. The saxophones become intertwined above the roiling drums. The music is very exciting but nearly excausting in its unrelenting power. This was a very successful album which takes the lessons that John Coltrane taught in the min-1960’s and brings them into the present moment with great vigor. Fans of dynamic free jazz will be very satisfied with this album. Underground Underground -

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