Daily jazz blog, Marlbank

Paul Dunmall Ensemble, It's A Matter of Fact, Discus ****

One of England's senior free-jazz saxophonists who is 70 next month and possesses a voluminous discography that stretches back to the 1980s, Paul Dunmall has always owned a freedom pass. Dunmall stands tall in an august list of pioneering elders …

Published: 3 Apr 2023. Updated: 15 months.

One of England's senior free-jazz saxophonists who is 70 next month and possesses a voluminous discography that stretches back to the 1980s, Paul Dunmall has always owned a freedom pass.

Dunmall stands tall in an august list of pioneering elders still with us that would include fellow titans Alan Skidmore, Evan Parker, Courtney Pine, who provided his own overt take on spirituality last year, and Trevor Watts.

And like Manchester's Nat Birchall and breakout fellow Brum scene stars Shabaka Hutchings and Xhosa Cole (when Xhosa plays free) you can easily locate the Kent born Dunmall's sound within the triumvirate of John Coltrane, Pharoah Sanders and Albert Ayler like so many advanced spiritual players around the world enchanted by the possibilities of the sound and still nowhere near fully explored.

On It's a Matter of Fact where Dunmall in a highly arranged approach eschews the anarchy of some elements of the free sphere to place his sax in a kaleidoscopic blend with Martin Archer, Charlotte Keefe and Richard Foote in the horn section - and Julie Tippetts' voice is the real magnetic and super-wild element weaving in and out marvellously stealing the show at every turn.

The drummer here who steers the sound so well is Jim Bashford who has been tremendous in recent years with Xhosa Cole (as has bassist James Owston - the pair are on K​(​no​)​w Them, K​(​no​)​w Us). Steve Saunders' electric guitar is less obvious in the turmoil of rhythms. It's A Matter of Fact is best when it is at its most raucous as on the brassy push and pull of 'Don't Ask Why' and next track in the lashing together of 'Latu' / 'Reunion' when Tippetts goes even more operatic than elsewhere. An extremely satisfying release on so many levels it's one of the best UK originated albums of 2023 so far. Final word look in as you listen hard because the crisp and highly graphic cover art, so close-your-eyes woeful on many other clangers in the idiom in existence out there, is also ace.

MORE READING AND ESSENTIAL LISTENING:

Dunmall plays the Vortex, Dalston with both his octet and his quartet on 13 May

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This week's jazz what's on - choice gigs around and about

Duski St Ives Jazz Club St Ives Cornwall Tuesday 4 April Siobhan Waters and Timmy Boomer Flute and Tankard Cardiff Tuesday 4 Alison Rayner Quintet The Musician Leicester Wednesday 5 Omar The Jam House Birmingham Thursday 6 Nubiyan Twist …

Published: 3 Apr 2023. Updated: 15 months.

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  • Nubiyan Twist Propyard Bristol Thurs 6

Nubiyan Twist in 2021 managed the feat for a relatively new - any - UK band of reaching no. 2 in the Official UK jazz and blues sales chart. Singles from Freedom Fables (Strut) impressed us at the time, the Leeds/London collective exuding energy and exhibiting drive in quantity. Their track 'Tittle Tattle' featured the Anita Baker-loving singer Cherise. The album also included a guest slot from alto sax star/MC Soweto Kinch on the soulfully grooving 'Buckle Up.'



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With the hard bop trumpet imagination of Quentin Collins and saxophone prowess of Vasilis Xenopoulos running wild in the front line, high profile UK modern mainstream choice pianist Rob Barron, bassist Mátyás Hoffecker and fine drummer Matt Home last heard by us on storming form with Alex Garnett complete the line-up. Five-Way Split have new album All the Way out on the Ubuntu label, a company co-directed by hard bopper Collins also known for his work with the Stanley Turrentine appreciating Aussie ace Brandon Allen and UK soul icon, Omar.


GIG OF THE WEEK

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Claire Martin, above photo: press, has just released on the Stunt label a Richard Rodney Bennett homage collaborating with US arranger Scott Dunn conducting the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, I Watch You Sleep. The release also features in a small group setting pianist Rob Barron who contributes to the arrangement, double bassist Jeremy Brown and drummer Matt Skelton and the title track 'I Watch You Sleep' adapted from Bennett's music for 1979 John Schlesinger film, Yanks. The south-west London born Martin, 55, who debuted in 1992 with The Waiting Game worked with the composer lyricist Bennett on 2005's When Lights Are Low, 2010's Witchcraft and Say It Isn't So released in 2013 not long after the composer had passed away the previous year. Martin's classic songbook rapport with Ian Shaw five years her senior makes these two nights in Chelsea an irresistible magnet for jazz vocals fans to cling to.

Nubiyan Twist, photo top: publicity shot