Paul Dunmall Ensemble: It’s A Matter Of Fact

Dunmall's music here was inspired by wood engravings but there's nothing wooden about this carve-up with Martin Archer, Julie Tippetts et al

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Dunmall and the wood engraver Pete Lawrence had been discussing their love of free jazz when Dunmall surprised Lawrence by revealing that his (Dunmall’s) engravings were completely improvised. Lawrence had been used to planning and designing his engravings, but suggested that the two of them worked improvisationally on the same blocks, turn and turn about, a process which produced 20 “duets”. These, in their turn, inspired this album.

There’s nothing wooden (sorry!) about these performances, nor would you expect there to be, given the distinguished line-up. The long opening track starts with a menacing, loping ensemble before the rhythm begins to break up and the ensemble lines separate into more free individual parts.

This pretty much sets the agenda for the rest of the session, with apparently tightly arranged ensemble passages mixing with improvised contributions from individual players or groupings, such as an exciting headlong tenor solo by Dunmall on Reunion and the pleasing solos by Saunders on the title sequence and Purple Dance, backed by just Owston and Bashford until the piece becomes more abstract as other performers begin to sidle in, first providing a strong riff which alternately fragments and re-forms.

And so it goes, reflecting that original inspiration.

Discography
Calling The Spirits; Golden Boat; Purple Dance; Don’t Ask Why?; Latu / Reunion; It’s A Matter Of Fact / Ahimsa / Dreaming Again (66.34)
Charlotte Keefe (t, flh); Richard Foote (tb); Paul Dunmall (ss, ts); Martin Archer (as, bar, hca); Steven Saunders (elg); James Owston (b); Jim Bashford (d); Julie Tippetts (v). Birmingham, 12 September 20222.
Discus 148CD