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Long time associates since their Mujician days, saxophonist Paul Dunmall, bassist Paul Rogers and drummer Tony Levin are recorded live in Austria for two extended and deeply joyful improvisations.

Deep Joy Trio
Live in Austria

Deep Joy Trio: Live in Austria (FMR)
Label: FMR    
Released in: Great Britain    

"This disc was released just after the untimely death of drummer Tony Levin. He, bassist Paul Rogers and multi-instrumentalist Paul Dunmall make up the Deep Joy Trio, but their other collaborations are too numerous to detail here. Suffice it to say that they have been together, in one form or another, since the very beginning of Dunmall's career as a solo recording artist; they also form three quarters of Mujician, who played its first concert in 1988. All that is to say that group interaction does not get better than this, and Levin is an integral component of the reason behind it.

The band comes out swinging on this live set, Levin and Rogers hitting hard, Dunmall's soprano engaging them in long flowing lines. There was never a drummer with a deeper groove, a more intuitive sense of swing, than Levin, and it's the driving force behind the opening music on this disc. When Rogers or Dunmall brings the volume down, Levin understands that a reduction in volume does not mean a reduction in energy. He is as sensitive in quiet passages as he is forceful in loud, but always with a remarkable sense of timbre, making his set sound like gongs, tympani and other malleted percussion.

None of this is to denigrate the contributions of the other two participants. Paul Rogers' bass playing is unique among thousands. On his custom-made instrument, he is capable of the widest dynamic and pitch variations, traversing the spectra with ease and in the blink of an eye. Dunmall's playing can be sweet, savage, and cover all points in-between. Yet, it is the trio, as a unit, that is greater than the sum of the parts. Listen to a moment about thirteen minutes into the first improvisation. Rogers begins a kind of tonal ostinato, at the quietest dynamic level, Dunmall provides soft lines behind it, and Levin paints in soft hues around it all, stroking metal and skin in absolute sympathy.

It is heartbreaking to know that this trio will never perform again, but with music as tender and powerful as this, we must just be grateful for its legacy."-Marc Medwin, The Squid's Ear

"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 (

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Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
European Improv, Free Jazz & Related
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London & UK Free Improvisation Scene
Trio Recordings
FMR Records
Trio Recordings

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Product Information:

UPC: 649849986520

Label: FMR
Catalog ID: FMR 298-1210
Squidco Product Code: 14402

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2010
Country: Great Britain
Packaging: Digipack
Recorded September 21st, 2007 in Rudersdorf, Austria.


Paul Dunmall-soprano saxophone

Paul Rogers-7 string bass

Tony Levin-drums

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Track Listing:

1. Looking Deep 41:16

2. Deep Looking 9:23