All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Live Reviews

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

1

Live From Birmingham: Hamid Drake, Paul Dunmall & The Phoenix Jazzmen

Martin Longley By

Sign in to view read count
The Paul Dunmall & Hamid Drake Quintet
mac
October 4, 2016

This gig was part of a very short three-date tour, assembled by Birmingham promoter Tony Dudley-Evans. Saxophonist Paul Dunmall's free jazz and improvising eminence has now cloaked the entire globe, so his regular Stateside tours have helped forge relationships with some of his finest American counterparts. The Chicagoan drummer Hamid Drake is one of these sonic allies, and a further collaboration between the pair is destined for natural success, both of them being powerful and thoughtful in equal proportions. Dunmall has penned an extended work for this gig in the intimate, and very nearly sold out Hexagon Theatre, The Dreamtime Suite retaining a free- form mien even though set within a pre-determined structure.

Besides special guest Drake, Dunmall had also co-opted a trio of younger players, two of whom are stalwarts on the Birmingham scene. Percy Pursglove (trumpet), Steve Tromans (electric piano) and Irishman Dave Kane (bass) all played a strong role in the communication of Dunmall's sonic conception. Drake dips into abstraction, when he's not discovering some fresh funk anti-rhythm to power a part of the music, before switching the beat into another type of beast, then slipping back towards the free-form skin-for-its-own-sake explorations. Pursglove acted in close harmony with Dunmall, until the themes broke off into soloing. There seemed to be more detailed instructions, when compared to many other Dunmall works, its movements carefully flowing and progressing. Pursglove and the leader came together again when they both hoisted their bagpipes to form a formidably bleating free jazz vanguard, upending the reality of the horn section with their wheezing skinfuls. Dunmall also tooted a brief solo on wooden flute/whistle, intensifying the improvising shepherd vibrations.

Tromans was extremely Miles-electric in his attack, joyfully mangled via his distorto pedal-settings, frequently impressing with the extremity and imagination of his soloing adventures. At one stage, Drake moved to a frontal chair, hoisting his large North African bendir, or frame drum, cutting back into a sparse, quietened sequence. Dunmall wasn't attaining his accustomed level of ripping expression, as this appeared to be a deliberately considered, and more texture-varied sequence of compositions. Consequently, there was a perpetually building sense of tension, dispersed via a series of folkloric investigations, which lowered volume levels, and opening up the pores to contemplation. The set has now been broadcast on BBC Radio 3's Jazz Now programme, and surely this was a fortuitous choice between the three prospective gigs, given the raised quality of this particular performance.

The Phoenix Jazzmen
Solihull British Legion
October 9, 2016

Singer Sheila Fawkes guests with the Phoenix gents, bringing an extroverted touch to an already chatty outfit. She delivers a couple of ditties midway through each set, then returns for the gig-climax. First, Fawkes tackles "Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans?," which comes complete with a perky tenor saxophone solo from Mike Hayler. "Cakewalking Babies From Home" launches next, as a more unusual selection, delivered in romping fashion, then "Crazy Rhythm" follows, with trombonist Terry McGrath keeping it simple with a tin whistle, and then just with Pete Robinson's guitar accompaniment, for a spell. "Isle Of Capri" is in quartet form, led by clarinet, incarnated as a bouncy version, with a chordal bass solo. In the second set, Fawkes returns to sing "Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out," her highlight moment of the gig. There's a calming "Creole Love Call," with clarinet and muted trumpet, a calling out for contemplation, continuing the well-paced variations of the show. McGrath sings "Home" (an old favourite of Henry Hall & His Gleneagles Hotel Band) in period style, followed by a breathy clarinet solo and a muted trombone quaver. The indoor New Orleans umbrellas came out on three or four occasions: always the barometer of a lively gig!

Photo Credit: Garry Corbett

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Detroit Jazz Festival 2018 Live Reviews
Detroit Jazz Festival 2018
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: September 19, 2018
Read Beethoven, Barber and Vivaldi at The Jazz Corner Live Reviews
Beethoven, Barber and Vivaldi at The Jazz Corner
by Martin McFie
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Bryan Ferry at the Macedonian Philharmonic Hall, Macedonia 2018 Live Reviews
Bryan Ferry at the Macedonian Philharmonic Hall, Macedonia...
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: September 16, 2018
Read Live From Birmingham: Dinosaur, Meatraffle, Hollywood Vampires, Black Asteroids & Paul Lamb Live Reviews
Live From Birmingham: Dinosaur, Meatraffle, Hollywood...
by Martin Longley
Published: September 16, 2018
Read Binker & Moses At London's Jazz Cafe Live Reviews
Binker & Moses At London's Jazz Cafe
by Chris May
Published: September 15, 2018
Read 12 Points 2018 Live Reviews
12 Points 2018
by Ian Patterson
Published: September 14, 2018
Read "David Ostwald’s Louis Armstrong Eternity Band at Birdland" Live Reviews David Ostwald’s Louis Armstrong Eternity Band at...
by Tyran Grillo
Published: November 25, 2017
Read "Lee Konitz 90th Birthday Celebration at Regatta Bar" Live Reviews Lee Konitz 90th Birthday Celebration at Regatta Bar
by Steve Provizer
Published: February 13, 2018
Read "Jazzdor Berlin" Live Reviews Jazzdor Berlin
by Henning Bolte
Published: June 29, 2018
Read "Novara Jazz 2018" Live Reviews Novara Jazz 2018
by Henning Bolte
Published: June 30, 2018
Read "Kyle Taylor Parker at The Green Room 42" Live Reviews Kyle Taylor Parker at The Green Room 42
by Tyran Grillo
Published: March 17, 2018
Read "John Brackett Quartet at Redfish Restaurant" Live Reviews John Brackett Quartet at Redfish Restaurant
by Martin McFie
Published: November 30, 2017