Mandalas In The Sky

Paul Dunmall, Matthew Bourne, Steve Davis & Dave Kane

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Format: CD

Cat No: BDV15134

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Release Date:  13 November 2015

Label:  Babel

Packaging Type:  Digipak

No of Units:  1

Barcode:  5028159000424

Genres:  Jazz  Contemporary  

  • Description

    It's hard to think of another unit in British jazz that oscillates so easily between irreverent humour and serious-as-your-life artistic expression as the trio of pianist Matthew Bourne, drummer Steve Davis and double- bassist Dave Kane.

    Their debut CD, Lost Something (2008), hinted at a barely suppressed mischievousness, with frenetic, Ritalin-burst versions of tunes by Annette Peacock and Carla Bley jostling alongside a poignant take on Monk's 'Round Midnight.' Similarly, the 2010 album The Money Notes, presented 22 brisk, attention-grabbing tracks of just a few minutes each, with titles referencing anarchic TV comedy The Mighty Boosh and the pointed critique of 'Utter Contempt For Those Who Scat Whilst Soloing.'

    But it was an album released between these two, with veteran UK tenor sax colossus, Paul Dunmall, that first revealed a different side to Bourne Davis Kane.

    2009's MomentTo Moment - recorded live at the University of the West of England - found room for long, searching exercises in free jazz, with Dunmall's huge, spiritually-charged tone setting a mood of both earnest introspection and joyous ebullience.

    Now, in 2015, the quartet reunite for their most accomplished statement to date.

    Mandalas In The Sky is an intense album in every way...
    Opening track,'ButterflySong' begins with tentative investigation of the piano's innards, and the sax searching for a route in - a brief pause and then piano, bass and drums crash like a breaking wave in perfect unison. It's a signifier of depth, a statement of intent for everything that follows, as churning piano chords provide a backdrop for Dunmall's sax combining the heart- worn sincerity of late Coltrane with the ecstatic shrieks of Pharoah Sanders.

    'Finding It' taps into a more enigmatic energy, with a smouldering bass throb, ghostly brushes and gongs, splashes of piano and low, gusty sax. On 'Last Time To Dance', a growling melancholy builds in intensity until a siren-like motif in the saxophone's middle register signals a tightening of energies that sends the bass and drums into tumbling free- fall. 'Master' is a poised and peaceful ballad; and 'Me We' sprints ahead with mercurial piano, an irrepressible sense of subliminal swing and even tangential echoes of Charlie Parker's 'Now's The Time' emerging from the saxophone's playful curlicues.

    But it's the closing, 20-minute excursion, 'Strange Time,' that lingers longest in the memory. Here, Dunmall switches to flute, with gently undulating tom-toms and bells painting an evening scene at a desert oasis. After a slow and tantalising build-up, the piece launches into full-bodied free-jazz, with Dunmall's sax slotting into a rich and assured tone. As Bourne's rippling trills goad Dunmall into the upper registers he achieves a blissful altissimo with strained harmonics creeping in, like the fabric of reality coming apart at the seams. After the explosion comes a soft, slow, seethe - the embers of a super nova gently lighting the high night's sky.
    Mandalas In The Sky is a trip to the furthest reaches of musical communion and back again. Climb aboard.

    One of Britain's most powerful saxophonists, Dunmall' s early career included encounters with the progressive rock band Marsupilami, Alice Coltrane and Johnny Guitar Watson. He has been an important member of the London Jazz Composer's Orchestra and the bands Spirit Level, Mujician,Tapestry and Moksha as well as his own octet and various duos and trios. He has recorded with leading names in avant-jazz including Elton Dean, Henry Grimes Chris Corsano and many more.

    Since winning Perrier Young Jazz Musician of the Year in 2001, pianist Matthew Bourne has pursued a career every bit as quixotic and energetic as his performances. He previously co-led The Electric Dr M and Distortion Trio; he has recorded with a heavyweight improvising quartet with Tony Bevan, Tony Buck and Barre Phillips; and he has forged a reputation as a formidably talented soloist, releasing two solo piano albums,The Molde Concert and Montauk Variations.

    As well as occupying the drum stool in Bourne Davis Kane, Steve Davis leads the quartet, Human, featuring Alexander Hawkins, Alex Bonney and Dylan Bates, which released a debut album, Being Human in 2013. He has also just released Sugar Blade, a transatlantic collaboration with trumpeter Ralph Alessi and pianist Kris Davis.

    Leeds-based double-bassist Dave Kane has played with legends of British jazz including Evan Parker, Keith Tippett and Elton Dean. His band, Dave Kane's Rabbit Project, released a CD, Eye Of The Duck, in 2009; he plays in a duo with trumpeter Alex Bonney; and he leads the Dave Kane Quartet featuring Bonney, drummer Joost Hendrickx and reeds player James Allsopp.

  • Tracklisting

      Disc 1

      Side 1

      • 1. Finding It
      • 2. Last Time To Dance
      • 3. Butterfly Song
      • 4. Master
      • 5. Me We
      • 6. Strange Time