Music Program
 

Tuesday, June 17, 2008 at 8:00 p.m.

Paul Dunmall / Tony Bianco Duo

 

For thirty years Paul Dunmall has carved out a reputation for himself and is now widely recognized as one of the most uncompromising and talented reed players on the International jazz/improvised music scene. Whether playing in small groups or big bands his musical sensitivity and imagination combined with a powerful sound make him one of the most distinctive improvisers playing today. His octet and Moksha big band showcases his abilities both as a composer drenched in the Jazz and Folk traditions and as a sympathetic leader able to give maximum freedom to an elite group of fellow improvisers.

Paul Dunmall
Born 1953, Welling, Kent; saxophones, clarinets, bagpipes, miscellaneous wind instruments. As told to Watson (1989), Paul Dunmall was a working class lad from Welling who left school at 15 and spent two years repairing instruments at Bill Lewington's shop in Shaftesbury Avenue, London. He turned professional at 17 and, following two years touring Europe with a progressive rock band (Marsupilami), joined the Divine Light Mission, a spiritual movement led by Guru Maharaj Ji and moved from London to an ashram in America. He told Isham (1997), 'I moved to an ashram full of musicians - a music ashram - but it was still spiritual practice. That gave me a spiritual understanding through meditation, Coltrane's music, and all the rest of it, led me to that, and that's been a fundament in my life ever since - that I can actually sit down and meditate and forget my body. I realise how important meditation is in my life... but I don't do it so much these days.' During the three years he lived in America, Dunmall played with Alice Coltrane (in a big band with the Divine Light Mission) and toured for twelve months with Johnny 'Guitar' Watson. Back in England, he played with Danny Thompson and John Stevens as well as folk musicians Kevin Dempsey, Martin Jenkins and Polly Bolton and then, in 1979 he became a founder member of Spirit Level (Tim Richards, piano; Paul Anstey, bass; Tony Orrell, drums), staying with the group until 1989. During his time with Spirit Level, Dunmall joined the two-tenor front line group Tenor Tonic with Alan Skidmore (1985), played and broadcast with Dave Alexander and Tony Moore in the DAM trio (1986) and formed the Paul Dunmall Quartet with Alex Maguire, Tony Moore and Steve Noble (1986).

In 1987 Paul Dunmall joined the London Jazz Composers Orchestra, being a constant member and appearing on all their recorded output from that date onward. The following year the improvising collective quartet Mujician was formed by Keith Tippett, Dunmall, Paul Rogers and Tony Levin and has continued to be a regular performing, touring and recording group, sometimes augmented by other musicians. Dunmall has also played in a trio with Keith and Julie Tippetts and in Keith Tippett's big band Tapestry. Two other duos have also sprung out of Mujician: Dunmall with Tony Levin (two CD releases) and Dunmall in folk-influenced outings with Paul Rogers. Another regular playing partner throughout this period and up until the present includes Elton Dean.

In 1995, two trios were formed, the first with Oren Marshall, tuba and Steve Noble, percussion, the second with John Adams, guitar and Mark Sanders, percussion, these sometimes coming together as a quintet. More recently, Dunmall has played in another reeds/guitar/drums trio with Philip Gibbs and Tony Marsh and there appears to be regular crossover between all these players. The Paul Dunmall Octet was founded in 1997.

In 2000, Paul Dunmall started the CD-R-only DUNS Limited edition label featuring many of his regular playing companions.
Some recent reviews:

"Dunmall matches the inexhaustible percussive attack of Bianco. Each disc is an hour-long free improvisation workout. This post-Coltrane approach could even be considered post-Rashied Ali. Dunmall doesn't so much stand toe-to-toe with the likes of Peter Brštzmann blowing powerful blast of sound. He works in a shrewd energy pattern modulating much like the energy drummer Bianco. Bianco's approach might start with Ali, but he travels the same roads as Milford Graves and Frank Kiermeyer. Raucous playing is not his bag, he creates wave upon wave of energy working the cymbals in a continuos pattern. Bassists Mattos and Rogers hold their own, Mattos supplying light touches of electronics and Rogers meeting the energy waves head on. A brilliant addition to this uncompromising label."
MARK CORROTO - ALL ABOUT JAZZ (2002)

"Drummer Tony Bianco's resume reads like a laundry list of disparate musical talent. Here's a man who has performed with rock and rollers Chuck Berry and Edgar Winter, modern jazz bassist Reggie Workman, saxophonist Dave Liebman and many others. However with this release, the drummer along with tenor saxophone titans Paul Dunmall and Simon Picard derive inspiration from John Coltrane's free-style explorations. Tony Bianco's UTOMA TRIO is all about raw firepower and unrelenting energetic spirit! The first piece, Oceans In Space presents the listener with twenty-five minutes of viscous soloing and scintillating improvisational speak, thanks to the stylistic inventions of the saxophonists who exhibit intuitive call and response dialogue at an often-torrid pace while the leader provides a mini-clinic on the art of free-jazz drumming. Throughout, Bianco renders a rock solid and changeable pulse yet multitasks his rhythmic inclinations while pushing and prodding the dynamic twin sax attack into uncharted regions of sound; although the band alters the momentum with poignant lyricism and effective use of space on Labyrinths. The tumultuous choruses continue on the final piece, White Eagle as the musicians exhibit unimaginable stamina in concert with climactic developments, cunning interaction and the soloist's faint injections of melody and meticulously constructed fabrics of sound. Hence, a mind-blowing modern jazz/improvisational extravaganza it is! Strongly recommended." GLENN ASTARITA - ALL ABOUT JAZZ (2000)


Some publications related to this event:
June, July and August, 2008 - 2008