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Dean/Dunmall/Levin/Rogers/Rudd/Tippett: Bladik

Glenn Astarita By

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“Bladik” was released in 1996 and basically represents the British free-jazz band “Mujician” with the editions of famed British saxophonist Elton Dean and veteran jazz trombonist Roswell Rudd. The first track “Forearmed” sets the pace with delicate percussion instruments suggesting a “calm before the storm” situation. Bassist Rogers commences in circular fashion with some crafty arco bass passages. The dialogue opens up a notch with some stellar interplay as the band converges while offering a wealth of surprises and tempo changes. A slow, brooding blues riff surfaces as the musicians collectively redirect their impromptu strategies. Turbo-charged improv and conversation continue as “Bladik” explore fragments of themes in alternating fashion among the individual soloist’s. Dean and Dunmall are a perfect match while the overall intensity is relentless. The humorously titled “Too Suchmuchness” amplifies the scorching and spirited approach featuring muscular phrasing! from the Saxophones of Dunmall and Dean. The recipe for improvisation and dialogue continue but the ever changing thematic developments signal a sudden foray into hard bop swing. The brisk pace eventually mitigates into a somewhat pensive and shadowy series of passages toward the end. Needless to say, there is a whole lot going on here with a good measure of substance and thematic growth throughout the entire project. The finale “K Ad Lib” is 32 minutes in length and serves as a fitting climax to a highly charged and exhilarating project. Legendary trombonist Roswell Rudd adds spice and color with generous doses of articulate improv and nuance.

“Bladik is essential listening and offers no recourse for the faint of heart. Easily one of the dominant free-jazz releases of the 1990’s. The English jazz scene in particular is alive and industrious with the advent of “Bladik and Mujician” to name but a few.


Personnel:

Elton Dean; Saxes: Paul Dunmall; Saxes: Tony Levin; Drums: Paul Rogers; Bass: Roswell Rudd; Trombone: Keith Tippett; piano

Title: Bladik | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: Cuneiform Records


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