Saxophonist & bagpipe player Dunmall's amazing Sun Quartet with Tony Malaby, Mark Helias and Kevin Norton performing live in NYC the day after Dunmall's Vision 2008 Fest show.
Dunmall, Paul Sun Quartet
Ancient and Future Airs
Label: Clean Feed
Released in: Portugal
"The day after a rare and triumphant presentation in New York (with Henry Grimes and Andrew Cyrille, at the 2008 edition of the Vision Festival), British saxophonist Paul Dunmall recorded this album with Tony Malaby, Mark Helias and Kevin Norton. It was hot, very hot, in that day (the 15) of June, and the music here recorded has the same high temperature. But that doesn't mean you'll find in "Ancient and Future Airs" an explosion of sounds. His present musical approach, less and less Coltranean (his reference in the use of the tenor saxophone), is meditative, even in the most expansive moments, atmospheric and with a generous use of spaces. In this encounter with American musicians, we find him more close to the free/bop tradition - and that means this CD swings more (blame Helias, very specially, for the balance of this music), and is more bluesy (Malaby's direct responsability), than all those that document his European combos. One particularity of this new edition is the larger timbral spectrum considering that this his a quartet, with Paul Dunmall also playing bagpipes in full effect, Norton adding the vibraphone to the drumset and Malaby choosing the soprano sax as complementary voice. What great combinations they propose for this slow combustion of improvisational skills!"-Clean Feed
• Show Bio for Kevin Norton
"Kevin Norton was born in Brooklyn and raised in Staten Island, NY. The composer/percussionist came to jazz in an unlikely setting but befriended drummer and fellow record collector Kenny Washington as a teenager. Studies at Hunter College introduced Kevin to Milt Hinton and after a short period, Kevin began to perform with Milt Hinton, eventually recording The Judge's Decision with a quartet led by Milt. Under Milt's encouragement, Kevin went back to school to get his Masters Degree from Manhattan School of Music.
After graduation he played every kind of gig available to a versatile percussionist: classical, jazz, blues, Dixieland, off-Broadway shows, rock, but especially taking part in the blossoming downtown New York City scene that strove to combine all these musics. This lead to him playing with Fred Frith's band Keep the Dog, which also included harpist Zeena Parkins and saxophonist John Zorn. Soon Mr. Norton was asked to play with a vast amount of downtown New York (sometimes called the Knitting Factory scene) ensembles. However, he longed to return to his jazz roots and began to play with downtown outsiders Phillip Johnston and Joel Forrester and their co-led band, the Microscopic Septet (and later Johnston's Big Trouble, with two CDs on Black Saint).
Still unsatisfied on a level of self-expression, Kevin began to devote himself to his own projects featuring his composition work and his improvising on total percussion (predominantly vibes and drums). Kevin has written several multi-movement pieces sometimes based on extra-musical subject matter. For Guy Debord (in nine events)is a piece for quintet and woodwind soloist (originally Anthony Braxton) based on the texts of the radical French philosopher whose thought proved central to the riots of Paris, 1968. Change Dance (Troubled Energy) draws it's inspiration from another radical political activist, Kathy Change (born Kathleen Chang). Both suites are approximately an hour in duration. On February 23, 2006 Kevin's Water and Fire Suite was premiered. It was commissioned as part of the national series of works from Meet The Composer Commissioning Music/USA, which is made possible by generous support from the National Endowment for the Arts, The Helen F. Whitaker Fund, and the Target Foundation.
In less than 10 years he has led and/or co-led about 20 critically acclaimed recordings, many of them making year-end "Best of" lists. On one of the recent recordings, Time-Space Modulator integrates intricate, sophisticated composition work with the deep improvisatory skills of Kevin, Tony Malaby, Dave Ballou and John Lindberg.
Kevin has also played with many highly esteemed European Improvisers such as Paul Rogers, Jo‘lle LŽandre, Paul Dunmall and Frode Gjerstad. Also, for about ten years, Mr. Norton was Anthony Braxton's main percussionist in both the "ghost trance" phase and the "standards" phase, plotting out the course for all percussionists who followed him. His most recent projects include compositions for various sized chamber groups and a duo with pianist Connie Crothers.
In June of 2002, Kevin Norton was a resident composer at the prestigious MacDowell Colony. He has served on the faculty of several schools including the University of Maryland and is currently on the faculty of William Paterson University."-Kevin Norton website (http://www.kevinnorton.com/bio.html)
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• Show Bio for Mark Helias
"Mark Helias is a renowned bassist, composer and producer who has performed throughout the world for more than four decades with some of the most important and innovative musicians in Jazz and Improvised Music including Don Cherry, Edward Blackwell, Anthony Davis, Dewey Redman, Anthony Braxton, Abbey Lincoln, Cecil Taylor, and Uri Caine among many others. A prolific composer, Helias has written music for two feature films as well as chamber pieces and works for large ensemble and big band. His orchestra piece "Stochasm" was premiered by the American Composers Orchestra in June of 2011. Twelve recordings of his music have been released since 1984, his latest being "The Signal Maker" on the Intakt label. He teaches at Sarah Lawrence College, and SIM (School for Improvisational Music) in Brookyn, NY."-Mark Helias Website (http://www.markhelias.com)
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• Show Bio for Paul Dunmall
"Paul Dunmall was born 1953, Welling, Kent; saxophones, clarinets, bagpipes, miscellaneous wind instruments.
As told to Watson (1989), Paul Dunmall was a working class lad from Welling who left school at 15 and spent two years repairing instruments at Bill Lewington's shop in Shaftesbury Avenue, London. He turned professional at 17 and, following two years touring Europe with a progressive rock band (Marsupilami), joined the Divine Light Mission, a spiritual movement led by Guru Maharaj Ji and moved from London to an ashram in America. He told Isham (1997), 'I moved to an ashram full of musicians - a music ashram - but it was still spiritual practice. That gave me a spiritual understanding through meditation, Coltrane's music, and all the rest of it, led me to that, and that's been a fundament in my life ever since - that I can actually sit down and meditate and forget my body. I realise how important meditation is in my life... but I don't do it so much these days.' During the three years he lived in America, Dunmall played with Alice Coltrane (in a big band with the Divine Light Mission) and toured for twelve months with Johnny 'Guitar' Watson.
Back in England, he played with Danny Thompson and John Stevens as well as folk musicians Kevin Dempsey, Martin Jenkins and Polly Bolton and then, in 1979 he became a founder member of Spirit Level (Tim Richards, piano; Paul Anstey, bass; Tony Orrell, drums), staying with the group until 1989. During his time with Spirit Level, Dunmall joined the two-tenor front line group Tenor Tonic with Alan Skidmore (1985), played and broadcast with Dave Alexander and Tony Moore in the DAM trio (1986) and formed the Paul Dunmall Quartet with Alex Maguire, Tony Moore and Steve Noble (1986).
In 1987 Paul Dunmall joined the London Jazz Composers Orchestra, being a constant member and appearing on all their recorded output from that date onward. The following year the improvising collective quartet Mujician was formed by Keith Tippett, Dunmall, Paul Rogers and Tony Levin and has continued to be a regular performing, touring and recording group, sometimes augmented by other musicians. Dunmall has also played in a trio with Keith and Julie Tippetts and in Keith Tippett's big band Tapestry. Two other duos have also sprung out of Mujician: Dunmall with Tony Levin (two CD releases) and Dunmall in folk-influenced outings with Paul Rogers. Another regular playing partner throughout this period and up until the present includes Elton Dean.
In 1995, two trios were formed, the first with Oren Marshall, tuba and Steve Noble, percussion, the second with John Adams, guitar and Mark Sanders, percussion, these sometimes coming together as a quintet. More recently, Dunmall has played in another reeds/guitar/drums trio with Philip Gibbs and Tony Marsh and there appears to be regular crossover between all these players. The Paul Dunmall Octet was founded in 1997."
Dunmall also has released a large number of albums and a box set on the UK FMR label, in various configurations and instrumentation.-EFI (http://www.efi.group.shef.ac.uk/musician/mdunmall.html)
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Shipping Weight: 2.00 units
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Label: Clean Feed
Catalog ID: CF 138
Squidco Product Code: 11231
Packaging: Cardstock Gatefold Sleeve
Recorded at the Living Theatre, New York on June 16, 2008 by Jon Rosenberg.
Kevin Norton-drums, vibraphone
Mark Helias-double bass
Paul Dunmall-tenor saxophone, bagpipes
Tony Malaby-tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone
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1. Ancient Airs 49:43
2. Future Airs 9:19