Paul Dunmall: Identical Sunsets (2010)
If history is to be served properly, saxophonist Paul Dunmall's Identical Sunsets reaches, with much nervous energy, that part of the sonic universe that John Coltrane reached in the last months of his playing career. In the stellar regions of that universe, the heartand, therefore, Dunmall's instrument of choice (in this case, the tenor saxophone)does not beat as it does on earth. It fibrillates as life reaches a rarefied planethe life of an artist who must now bow to the new reality. Many artists, having reached that level of heightened awareness return with the view that they have had a mystical experienceand who can begrudge them that?
How the reed in Dunmall's mouthpiece fibrillateswhen his music reaches the levels of ecstasy where a heightened sense of spirituality takes a hold of himshows the saxophonist to be that kind of artist. His devotion to finding the true center of the tone of each note he annunciates is admirable. His fervor is so total that the melody is replaced by just the artist's voice, crying out to be heard. In "Identical Sunsets," Dunmall eschews the tenor saxophone for the double reed of the Border pipes. His state of being is directly related to the excitation into which he locks his instrument. Ostensibly the artist's discovery of a parallel reality which mirrors his own is a shock to the system, but then once this settles down and is digested, life must go on.
"Living Proof" is another long form of music which seems to be all about the endorsement of this new (or old) belief. The frenetic pace of the song suggests that there are more than seven steps to heaven and they must be negotiated at all costs. Here again, ecstasy is at the heart of the discovery that the artists has found; the living force that he was looking for. Now he must pay his dues and his respects of a different kind. Dunmall is, once again, controlled in the fury with which he sends out his newly discovered mystical message. Drummer Chris Corsano plays left brain to Dunmall's right lobe, anchoring the ecstatic voyage in an earthy groove that moves easily from single to double time, chasing Dunmall and never losing sight of his fanciful arc of harmony that finally comes crashing down into the reality of earth.
Dunmall's extraordinary energy is matched by Corsano, who plays wonderful countermelodies as best he can on the battery of percussion that he has brought to this date. This unique pairing and sympathetic playing on the part of Corsano has everything to do with the ability of Dunmall to ascend fanciful levels while soloing. It is also a good reason why the album is exciting to listen to from end to end.
Track Listing: Identical Sunsets; Living Proof; Better Get Another Lighthouse; Out of Sight.
Personnel: Paul Dunmall: tenor saxophone, Border pipes (1); Chris Corsano: drums.