The Squid's Ear Magazine


Dunmall, Paul Ensemble: It's A Matter Of Fact (Discus)

Following his previous Discus release Yes Tomorrow, UK saxophonist and composer Paul Dunmall expands his quintet to a septet with legendary vocalist Julie Tippetts and trumpeter Charlotte Keefe joining the exemplary ensemble of Martin Archer on sax, Richard Foote on trombone, Steven Saunders on electric guitar, James Owston on double bass and Jim Bashford on drums.
 

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UPC: 5051078002125

Label: Discus
Catalog ID: 148CD
Squidco Product Code: 33226

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2023
Country: UK
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold 3 Panels w/ booklet
Recorded at Sansom Studios, in Birmingham, UK, on September 12th, 2022, by Olly Sansom.


Personnel:



Paul Dunmall-tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone

Julie Tippetts-voice

Charlotte Keeffe-trumpet, flugelhorn

Richard Foote-trombone

Steven Saunders-electric guitar

James Owston-double bass

Jim Bashford-drums

Martin Archer-alto saxophone, baritone saxophone, harmonica


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Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"Paul's dynamic Birmingham quintet's release Yes Tomorrow was a Discus highlight of 2022. We enjoyed the release so much that we took the unusual step of suggesting he add Julie and Charlotte to the group to make a second release. Paul embraced the idea with enthusiasm, and came up with this suite for the expanded group. The result is a freewheeling set with a great "live gig" feel, which gives plenty of space for each player to shine, and which mixes some tight compositions with open ended improvisation sections."-Discus



"Hot on the heels of last year's excellent Yes Tomorrow album, Dunmall has expanded the ensemble and created a suite of 9 pieces (the final 5 grouped in 2 pieces running to 10 and 20 minutes). The opener, 'Calling the Spirits', at 17'33 and mixing several moods, melodies and styles acts as a suite in its own right.

This begins exuberantly with Tippetts' repeated invocation, using the tunes title, is buoyed along with rich ensemble playing and some masterful mixtures of post-bop rhythmic patterns. Dunmall then launches into a solo that is steeped in vintage bebop, drawing the ensemble to pulsating support.

He then cedes the platform to Archer's alto and Foote's trombone and a rambunctious rhythm section, before Owston's bass solo merges with Tippetts' mediatative scat signing and Saunders skittering guitar lines and Keefe's playful trumpet. As a means of introducing and showcasing the ensemble, this works well.

The second, 'Golden boat', and third, 'Purple Dance', pieces have Tippetts at her most powerful and resplendent, as she effortlessly switches from delivering lyrics in a punchy rhythm to scaling the heights with wordless scat-singing.

Throughout the album, her singing responds to the ensemble and they to her. Riffs from the ensemble find their way into her vocalisations and vice versa, mutating, morphing and growing in complexity.

As a means of showcasing Dunmall's compositional and arranging skills, the piece works superbly. I really enjoy the clash of styles and techniques that the piece encourages in the players and the vivacity with which they respond to this.

One could list a host of experimental ensembles as reference points to illustrate the way in which each of Dunmall's compositions comfortably mix an avant-garde attitude to breaking rules with a deeply held respect for the various generations of jazz musical idioms.

But such a list would do a disservice to the richness and originality of the playing here. This is quite simply ensemble playing of the very highest quality, made particularly refreshing and exciting by Tippetts' signing and vocal gymnastics."-Chris Baber, Jazz Views


Get additional information at Jazz Views

Artist Biographies

"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)
5/25/2023

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"Julie Tippetts (born Julie Driscoll, 8 June 1947) is an English singer and actress, known for her 1960s versions of Bob Dylan and Rick Danko's "This Wheel's on Fire", and Donovan's "Season of the Witch", both with Brian Auger and The Trinity. Along with The Trinity, she was featured prominently in the 1969 television special 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee, singing "I'm a Believer" in a soul style with Micky Dolenz. She and Auger had previously worked in Steampacket, with Long John Baldry and Rod Stewart.

"This Wheel's on Fire" reached number five in the United Kingdom in June 1968. With distortion, the imagery of the title and the group's dress and performance, this version came to represent the psychedelic era in British rock music. Driscoll recorded the song again in the early 1990s with Adrian Edmondson as the theme to the BBC comedy series Absolutely Fabulous, the main characters of which are throwbacks to that era.

Since the 1970s, Driscoll has concentrated on experimental vocal music. She married jazz musician Keith Tippett and collaborated with him and now uses the name Julie Tippetts, adopting the original spelling of her husband's surname. She took in Keith Tippett's big band Centipede and in 1974 sang in Robert Wyatt's Theatre Royal Drury Lane concert. She released a solo album, Sunset Glow in 1975; and was lead vocalist on Carla Bley's album Tropic Appetites and also in John Wolf Brennan's "HeXtet".

Later in the 1970s, she toured with her own band and recorded and performed as one of the vocal quartet Voice, with Maggie Nichols, Phil Minton, and Brian Eley.

In the early 1980s, Julie Tippetts was a guest vocalist on an early single by pop-jazz band Working Week, on the song "Storm of Light", which brought them to the attention of a wider audience."

-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julie_Driscoll)
5/25/2023

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"Trumpeter Charlotte Keeffe's unique approach and passion for improvised, experimental and jazz music has seen her performing regularly across the UK and internationally as a soloist and as part of several ensembles, duos and trios. Her music has been featured on BBC Radio 3, Resonance FM and Jazz FM and recent appearances with her quartet include Jazz In The Round and a sell-out performance at Lancaster Jazz Festival. Other recent highlights include being featured as a performer and composer/arranger on Sheffield-based Martin Archer's latest project, Anthropology Band, performances with Alex Ward's Item 4 and regular appearances and conductions with the London Improvisers Orchestra.

Inspired by the likes of Miles Davis and Polish artist Tomasz Stańko, Charlotte studied Jazz Performance at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama before going on to become a scholarship recipient at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama and a Help Musicians UK Award Winner. With her Quartet, Charlotte explores the relationship between her compositions and experimental improvisation, producing a unique musical experience inspiring creative freedom of expression. Bassist Ashley John Long, drummer Ben Handysides and guitarist Moss Freed join Charlotte in this latest collaboration.

Charlotte is also a performer with The Brass Monkeys, Moss Freed's Union Division and Calum Gourlay's Big Band. She took part in the Summer Studios Artist Residency 2019 with drummer Andrew Lisle and bassist Otto Willberg in Andrew's trio project at The Sage, Gateshead. Charlotte played in Marin Alsop's Taki Concordia Orchestra at the World Economic Forum 2019 playing to world leaders and celebrities including Sir David Attenborough. She's performed at several music festivals including Brecon Jazz as part of Steve Waterman's Big Band, Glastonbury and Wilderness alongside Liane Carroll, Charlotte Church, Laura Mvula, Kate Nash, Camille O'Sullivan and Will Young."

-Charlotte Keeffe Website (https://www.charlottekeeffe.com/biography)
5/25/2023

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Richard Foote is a Birmingham, UK tromobonist best known for his horns and drums band Young Pilgrims, approaching New Orleans jazz in modern ways.

-Squidco 5/25/2023

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"Steven Saunders-guitar, composer

Having recently graduated from the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire with a first-class honours degree in Jazz, Steve Saunders is a composer working within both the contemporary classical and jazz idioms. He has studied composition and improvisation under such internationally renowned figures as John O'Gallagher, Hans Koller, Percy Pursglove, Jörg Achim Keller, Mike Williams, Mark Hodgson, Greg Cohen, Jez Franks and Chris Montague. With John O'Gallagher, Steve studied post-tonal music from the Second Viennese School to the late twentieth-century modernists, whilst his studies with Hans Koller and Jörg Achim Keller specialised in arranging and composition for large ensembles, ranging from a small big band up to, and including, a symphonic orchestra. Steve studied with Jörg and Greg Cohen at the prestigious Jazz-Institut Berlin, during his undergraduate exchange period.

Throughout his university epoch Steve also sought private lessons with composer and pedagogue Lee Differ, with whom he undertook studies in harmony, counterpoint and form, analysing the classical tradition through to the modernist period.

In his final year of study, Steve developed an interest in the French 'spectral' movement, most notably, composers Tristan Murail and Gérard Grisey. This, alongside his technological advances inside IRCAM's own 'OpenMusic' software and his attraction to computer music, inevitably led to a composition exploring this area. Entitled Abstract Visions of a Foreign Land, this piece was a forty-minute, six-movement composition devised for an eleven-piece ensemble, aiming to amalgamate the intricacies of spectral harmony (as well as its relationship to time) with formal frameworks and improvisatory concepts taken from contemporary jazz. This piece was Steve's final project in the Conservatoire and was received to critical acclaim from a large audience, receiving one of the highest marks to ever be awarded to a final project.

After attending the premiere, US-based violin and percussion duo, 'String Struck Duo' (Shannon Riley and Gloria Yehilevsky respectively) commissioned Steve to write a piece for their series of winter concerts; this composition will premiere in Buffalo, New York and Chicago in winter 2019, and aims to further explore the concepts introduced by frequency-based composers.

Asides from his compositional pursuits, Steve has been an active guitarist on the UK jazz and improvised music scene for the past six years, leading several of his own projects (such as G L I T C H, his electronic based improvisatory trio, or his contemporary jazz group, 'Steve Saunders Sextet') as well as performing as a prolific sideman in other projects, playing alongside such notable musicians as John O'Gallagher, Jim Bashford, Percy Pursglove and Chris Mapp. Additionally, he has been an active educator, teaching guitar and music privately and in organisations for several years, as well as assisting in school workshops introducing children to improvisation and composition."

-Steven Saunders Website (https://steve-saunders.com/about)
5/25/2023

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"James Owston is a Birmingham based double and electric bassist playing regularly in the UK Jazz Scene.

James was born in Sutton, London in 1996 and moved to Gloucestershire in 2000. After taking up the electric bass at age 14, he played predominantly rock and groove music, until he was eventually introduced to Jazz. This led to him take up the double bass at age 18 to pursue his new-found passion for the music. Prior to attending University, James played with the Gloucestershire Youth Jazz Orchestra and other small ensembles, performing in the local area.

In 2015, James accepted an offer to study Jazz at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire where he has been receiving tuition from Arnie Somogyi and Mark Hodgson, Percy Pursglove and Mike Williams, as well as many other tutors at the institution. As part of his studies, James has received masterclasses from notable Jazz musicians Mark Turner, Jeff Ballard, Gilad Hekselman, Dave Liebman and Mike Gibbs, as well as getting the opportunity to perform with musicians such as Jeff Williams, Steve Cardenas and Julian Arguelles.

Whilst studying in Birmingham, James met the renowned British Jazz drummer, Clark Tracey, and in 2017 he joined the Clark Tracey Quintet. This led to performances at major UK Jazz venues such as the Vortex, 606 Club, Herts Jazz and South Coast Jazz Festival amongst others. As well as this, James has also performed in the Birmingham Symphony Hall foyer, Birmingham Town Hall, Eastside Jazz Club and Cheltenham, Manchester, Cleethorpes and Trondheim Jazz festivals. In April 2018, this band recorded their first album, also being James's first professional appearance on record, which is due to be released in September 2018.

As well as being an active sideman, James is leading his own groups, notably the James Owston Mingus Quintet, that focuses on the compositions and style of the great Charles Mingus, a strong influence for James as a bass player and composer."

-Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/pg/jamesowstonmusic/about/)
5/25/2023

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"Jim Bashford, who hails from Sutton Coldfield UK started playing drums age 10 and was influenced by the rock/progressive rock and jazz scene worldwide, he was mainly self taught for the first 6 years then he studied drums under Steve Palmer.

The CONSTRUCTION quartet formed by Jim performed a tour in 2010 of original compositions with Icelandic guitarist Hilmar Jensson, Johnny Brierley bass and Robin Fincker sax and clarinet. The quartet was then joined by Tim Harries on bass with a recording to follow called CENTRELINE THEORY which has recently been released on LEO Records 2017.

After 14 years of playing as a sideman in bands covering all genres and also working in construction full time whilst studying on a popular music course, Jim then moved on to study at the Birmingham Conservatoire for the BMus (Hons.) jazz course where he continued under drum tutors such as the great Tony Levin, Gene Calderazzo, Jeff Williams and Malcolm Garrett. He runs Auditions at the Birmingham Conservatoire and organises workshops with highly acclaimed artists on the jazz scene in Europe and the U.S. and also collaborates with Cheltenham Jazz Festival to run a session with the conservatoire students and Trondheim students as well as organising auditions for the course in the U.K. and Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.

Jim is a member of no less than 20 different ensembles and tours extensively throughout the UK and Europe, including appearances at London jazz venues such as the Barbican Centre, The Vortex and Kings Place; and prominent venues in Birmingham. He has also performed in prestigious international jazz festivals including the Cheltenham Jazz Festival, Juan le pins Jazz Festival and future engagements at the London Jazz Festival. Also a short tour with Dave Sinclair from the band Caravan with a recording in Japan to follow and also recently a European tour with Katie Melua."

-Jim Bashford Website (http://jimbashford.co.uk/bio)
5/25/2023

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"Martin Archer was born in Sheffield, England, in 1957. He started playing saxophone at age 15 and first got active on the Sheffield improvisational scene in 1973. In the early '80s, he recorded an LP with Bass Tone Trap, his first group. In 1983 he formed the saxophone quartet Hornweb, which, in ten years of existence, released three albums. It is during that time that Archer released his first solo album, Wild Pathway Favourites (1988) and founded the Discus label on which he since releases all his music.

In 1993, he disbanded Hornweb and turned to synthesizers and sequencers while shifting his activities from stage to studio. He developed a compositional approach in which he records improvisers soloing, then manipulates this raw material, combining it with electronics and structuring it into a whole new piece. This technique is illustrated on Wild Pathway Favourites, Ghost Lily Cascade (1996), and Pure Water Construction (with bassist Simon H. Fell, released in 1999). Later works such as Winter Pilgrim Arriving (2000) moved toward more constructed and less abstract pieces, even making room for melodies and rhythm tracks at times.

Apart from his solo work, Archer is also involved in Ask, a duo with guitarist John Jasnoch, and Transient v Resident, an ambient electronics project with Chris Bywater."-All Music, François Couture



"Martin Archer is a composer / improviser who is equally at home on stage or in the studio. His own distinctive saxophone playing is rooted in AACM jazz. Through his use of keyboards and electronics, and as a studio producer, he extends this interest into extended song form and leftfield rock music. He is also co-director of the uncategorisably avant choir Juxtavoices.

His principle music work is the Discus Music label, the imprint for his various releases, notably by the groups described below.

His current jazz based projects include Engine Room Favourites (current a 4 drummer, 14 piece big band), Story Tellers (6 piece group including shaman instruments alongside the conventional instruments), plus various ad hoc smaller groups. All of these are strongly aligned with AACM tradition and teaching.

Archer has a long running duo with veteran vocalist Julie Tippetts. Each of their highly acclaimed CD releases deliberately explores song from a different perspective - the duo aims to be truly progressive, and takes in elements from jazz, rock, soul and pure abstraction.

Archer's main live performance vehicle is the trio Inclusion Principle with Herve Perez and Peter Fairclough. The group operates in a space between electronics, nu-jazz, contemporary electroacoustic music and free improvisation. In performance you will hear pure jazz skill, electronic beats and areas of texture and abstraction all seamlessly woven into a fascinating and constantly shifting tapestry of sound.

The sprawling Orchestra Of The Upper Atmosphere was formed by Archer as an improvising rock group with shades of Terry Riley, Magma, Alice Coltrane and Sun Ra, very much in the progressive / krautrock tradition, and noted for its large scale string, horn and vocal arrangements.

Also in rock music, Archer is a member of the USA based heavier than plutonium prog / sludge / zeuhl group Combat Astronomy under the direction of Jamie Huggett.

Surprising, delighting and occasionally alarming audiences for a number of years now, Juxtavoices is a 30 piece choir for mainly untrained voices co directed by Archer with Alan Halsey which has racked up dozens of performances and issued three CDs.

This eclectic combination of sources and highly individual applications makes Archer a unique inhabitant of the school of English maverick composer / improvisers. "-Discus

-All Music, Discus Records (http://www.allmusic.com/artist/martin-archer-mn0000146946)
5/25/2023

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Track Listing:



1. Calling The Spirits 17:33

2. Golden Boat 3:40

3. Purple Dance 9:12

4. Don't Ask Why 5:54

5. Latu / Reunion 10:38

6. It's A Matter Of Fact / Ahimsa / Dreaming Again 19:10

Related Categories of Interest:


Improvised Music
Jazz
Free Improvisation
London & UK Improv & Related Scenes
Octet Recordings
Staff Picks & Recommended Items
New in Improvised Music
Recent Releases and Best Sellers

Search for other titles on the label:
Discus.


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