Mujician: There's No Going Back Now (2006)
This quartet has been together for a long time, and its music has been documented on CD before. All of this is abundantly obvious in the single 45-minute piece on this disc.
Within the first two minutes it becomes readily apparent that this is an extraordinarily empathetic group, each member constantly alert to the contributions of his fellows. This combination of listening and responding is the very heart of what the group produces musically, and passages of all-out intensity are punctuated by ones of unworldly beauty. This is a considerable feat, and it's the very thing that holds the listener's attention over the course of the music, whose dynamic range is exceptional.
All four musicians in Mujician intimately know the meaning of individual expression, and to their credit, they successfully retain their identities while deeply committing to the work of the group as a whole. As such, what they offer us here is an antithesis of the soloist plus accompaniment that has always been a cornerstone of the practice of improvised music.
Thus, Paul Dunmall's tenor sax is capable of evoking Aylerian spirits at one point; at another, his mastery of what might be called spontaneous composition prevails. Keith Tippett's approach to the piano, at least on the evidence here, is less galvanic than it might once have been, but instead of falling back on some diluted strain of his earlier work, he now comes on as much more of a group pianist. Paul Rogers is all over his seven-string bass when the music demands it, and his work in the quieter moments is that of a master colourist. Tony Levin's drums are absent in some passages here, but he can be a fire-stoker of the highest order when that's required.
There's No Going Back Now is proof positive of what musicians can achieve if they are able to maintain ongoing working relationships. The music benefits accordingly, and the level of cohesion in evidence here is nothing other than welcome.
Track Listing: There's No Going Back Now.
Personnel: Paul Dunmall: tenor, soprano saxophones; Keith Tippett: piano; Paul Rogers: bass; Tony Levin: drums.