Saxophonist Paul Dunmall and bassist Paul Rogers share a longtime association playing European improvised music. With Keith Tippett and Tony Levin they complete the quartet known as Mujician. Dunmall also plays with singer Richard Thompson. With guitarist Phillip Gibb, Rogers and Dunmall comprise Moksha. With percussionist Ken Norton, an Anthony Braxton alumnus, they form a long-travelled trio that took time out here to document intimate empathy and free imagination.
The title track begins portentiously with struck chimes, Rogers softly grinding on bass, and Dunmall playing coy melodies. They quickly blossom into Norton and Rogers providing the clickety clack for Dunmall’s hard driving train. His powerful soprano runs itself out, Norton lets the bass drive for a while, and Norton switches to chilly vibes. Dunmall picks it back up, then rests while Rogers pulls rapid elastic bass and Norton offers light cymbal brush work. He gets crazy in the upper register and Dunmall returns to give chase. Norton adds more drums to the attack, adding thrust to the momentum, all three full force. As the rush dissipates, Norton returns to vibes and Dunmall confines himself to toneless breath, Rogers popping harmonics. Norton plays mysterioso vibes, with occasional drum splash.
The performance continues with “Villaka,” and Norton solos in stellar bursts on vibes. He continues creating spontaneous fire, and Dunmall joins him with a tenor full of gasoline. They make having a lot of ideas sound easy. Norton transitions to drums and Rogers returns with his aggressive fluency. The trio rocks hard, then Dunmall lingers over phrases, changing his purrs into barks, finally pops and squeaks coloring strenuous bass runnings from Rogers. Norton whizzes on brushes, switches to sticks, finally to vibes for Rogers’s high scratchings that drop low and Dunmall off again with Norton at his heels still on vibes. Going back to sticks on drums, he whips Dunmall into an inspired exchange.
After their retreat, “Indokeluka” begins with Rogers’ continued soft scrape. Norton contributes tentative vibes and Dunmall a slow soulful melody. Rogers’ itchy bowing infects Dunmall, who turns melodies in on themselves, finally disolving down to Rogers as the center. Dunmall breaks loose again with Norton casting rhythm nets under his feet, and Rogers continues his bowed meditation. With Norton back on atmospheric vibes, Dunmall rolls quick little phrases around; but as Rogers turns up the intensity, Dunmall gets raw. He slurs and overblows in duet with Rogers, Norton takes an uncluttered solo, and Rogers brings Dunmall back with him. Norton and Rogers take on a swinging rhythm and Dunmall plays all over it. With Norton blazing back on vibes, Rogers and Dunmall offer small comments.
As always, the recording boasts that patented CIMP sound: clear, clean, and refreshing. The unadulterated acoustics gives up every nuance and tone the trio can imagine.
Personnel: Paul Dunmall, soprano and tenor saxophone; Paul Rogers, AIL bass; Kevn Norton, drums and vibes.