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UNDERGROUND, UNDERGROUND

Artist: Paul Dunmall

Date of Release: 23/09/2016

Catalogue no: SLAMCD 2101

Label: SLAM

Price: £9.99

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Paul Dunmall Quartet
Paul Dunmall saxophone, Howard Cottle saxophone,
Olie Brice bass, Tony Bianco drums.

Paul Dunmall’s trilogy* previously released on SLAM left no doubt of Dunmall’s dedication to Coltrane’s music. He writes:
‘Coltrane's music still has such a powerful impact on all musicians even today, 50 odd years later. I will certainly never tire of it. You can hear his influence all through “Underground Underground”’

This time the music is composed by Dunmall, inspired by Coltrane ~ specifically by the Coltrane classic album ‘Sunship’

*SLAMCD 290 ‘Thank You to John Coltrane’
SLAMCD 292 ‘Tribute to Coltrane’
SLAMCD 296 ‘Homage to Coltrane’

 

Reviews

 

31/01/2017 Colin Green

Between 2011 and 2013, Paul Dunmall (tenor saxophone) and Tony Bianco (drums) recorded three albums as a testament to the inspirational playing, compositions and spirit of John Coltrane, all on the SLAM Productions label -- Thank You to John Coltrane, Tribute to Coltrane and Homage to John Coltrane. In 2015, Dunmall and Bianco were joined by Howard Cottle (tenor saxophone) and Olie Brice (double bass) in two performances which celebrated Coltrane’s Sun Ship (Impulse!, 1971), one of the last recordings of the Classic Quartet, from 1965, and an album which had a seminal impact on Dunmall in his youth. When it came to go into the studio however, rather than record another Coltrane tribute, he decided “to write some heads in the same vein as Sun Ship so we could still capture that intensity, and play with that Coltrane spirit, but make it our own thing”. Underground Underground -- all first takes – is the result.

In this setting, it’s usual to deploy saxophones of different registers for variety and to avoid the saxophonists treading on each other’s toes. Not so here. Rather than adjoining areas, the two tenors occupy the same space, and like Phaeton’s burning chariot, it makes for an exhilarating ride, “With flaming breath that all the heaven might hear them perfectly”.

The heads are often simple figures, such as the title track’s clarion call sounded out on overlapping saxes, and the ardent, jabbing phrases of ‘Sun Up’. As one would expect, the prevailing tone is ecstatic and jubilant, executed at a high-voltage pace, hectic yet never out of control, with Dunmall and Cottle animating phrases until they achieve a molten volatility. Over the whole album, they’re driven by and draw on the kinetic buoyancy of Bianco’s drums and Brice’s taut, gutsy bass. And when the saxophones do play together, it never feels cramped. In “Timberwolf’, the longest track, there’s a passage of jointly sustained virtuosity in which they embrace and blossom, taking the theme to the brink. There’s also intensity of a different kind. ‘Hear no Evil, Play no Evil’ is a ballad, whose yearning melody is beautifully set-off by Brice’s agile bass line. The solos have that Coltrane-esque mix of exaltation with tinges of remorse.

‘Sacred Chant’ is the closing number, with Cottle and Bianco engaged in a fiery duet before, by way of contrast, a stately theme is introduced by Dunmall. The impassioned and the dignified continue in opposition until the whole band is sucked into the whirlpool, but the melody never completely goes away, and eventually is affirmed in noble unison, repeated until the fade.

Coltrane’s music-making was so rich that, even now, just when you think you’ve pinned him down, there’s something more to be found. This album is a fitting tribute to that inexhaustible body of work and the continuing inspiration it provides.
Colin Green http://www.freejazzblog.org/ 31/1 2017.

 

07/10/2016 Mike Hobart

Underground Slam CD2101.
Paul Dunmall, Howard Cottle (ts), Olie Brice (b) and Tony Bianco (d). Rec 21 July 2015

Saxophonist Paul Dunmall continues his homage to John Coltrane with a lively set of six originals inspired by Coltrane’s album Sun Ship, the penultimate recording by the saxophonist’s classic quartet. By that time, Coltrane was exploring the phonics and fury of a new generation, which made the role of McCoy Tyner on piano somewhat problematic. Dunmall’s response is to replace the piano with like-minded tenor saxophonist Howard Cottle on the frontline. And with drummer Tony Bianco mirroring the ‘call to arms’ breaks of a Sonny Murray or Rashied Ali, the album is a bit of a free jazz tenor sax joust in which Dunmall’s rounder sound and greater emotional depth come out on top. The title track, ‘Sun Up’, a feature for drummer Bianco, and ‘Sacred Chant’, the album closer,.use short stubby themes to launch high energy ‘up-and-at-‘em’ solos, best heard with the volume turned up,. Bassist Olie Brice’s melodic counterpoint stands out, and the rhythm section sustains good energy levels and powerful pulse. The remaining tracks celebrate Coltrane’s elegiac side with spiritual themes and emotionally-charged balladry, though at times Coltrane’s lyricism gets lost. Perhaps this is why one track is called ‘The Inner Silence was Too Loud’. The exception is Brice’s singing bass introduction to ‘Timberwolf’, and ‘Hear No Evil, Play No Evil’, a floaty ballad which moves away from the Coltrane aesthetic.
Mike Hobart Jazzwise October 2016.

 

24/09/2016 Danny Mathys

As I played Underground Underground several times by now, I believe my conclusion after a first listen still stands : Paul surpassed himself and I firmly believe this is not only the album of the year but it is the album of the decade !
Danny Mathys

 

22/09/2016 Robert D. Rusch

There is nothing matter-of-fact about PAUL DUNMALL’s playing as more often than not there is a ferocious
immediacy to it. One of the most frequently recorded leaders of the past 25 years, it would seem hardly a month
goes by when he is not recording. An unabashed admirer of Coltrane, 3 of his Coltrane tributes were covered in
the Oct-Dec 2015 Papatamus, his playing is torturous and unrelenting. Dunmall’s latest, UNDERGROUND
UNDERGROUND [Slam cd 2101] is inspired by Coltrane’s “Sunship”. The 6 originals [66:05] were recorded
7/21/15 with Dunmall’s long time drummer, Tony Bianco, sometime associate Howard Cottle [ts] and new associate
Olie Brice [b]. To give you an idea of Cottle’s playing Slam has listed the order of which tenor man is playing when.
If you enjoy balls-to-the-wall tenor playing you may like this twice as much. It is wonderful and exhausts me.
Choose yer poison. Robert D Rusch, Cadence Oct 2016

 

12/09/2016 Bruce Lee Gallanter

PAUL DUNMALL QUARTET With HOWARD COTTLE / OLIE BRICE / TONY BIANCO -
Underground Underground (Slam 2101; UK) Featuring Paul Dunmall & Howard Cottle on tenor saxes, Olie Brice on acoustic bass and Tony Bianco on drums. Paul Dunmall put this quartet together to do a tribute to ’Sunship’, one of Dunmall’s favorite albums by the John Coltrane Quartet. This quartet features two tenors, bass & drums instead of the usual Trane configuration: sax/piano/bass/drums. Mr. Dunmall has selected an impressive crew: the previously little known (to me), except for a couple of Dunmall octet & orchestra CDs. Howard Cottle on tenor, Olie Brice on bass (worked with Tobias Delius, Ingrid Laubrock & Waclaw Zimpel), and longtime Dunmall partner, Tony Bianco on drums. Dunmall and Bianco have already recorded several Coltrane duo discs. All of the music here was written by Mr. Dunmall and is in the spirit of the ’Sunship’ album. The title track is first and erupts like a massive hurricane with an explosive Trane-like tenor solo from Mr. Dunmall, the quartet: tight, powerful and filled with cosmic spirits. Mr. Cottle also takes an impressive solo and he captures that intense, rip-roaring eruption as well. Both tenors sound wonderful together, tight and spinning in circular waves. "The Inner Silence was Way Too Loud", simmers with sublime slow-burning energy, the rich harmonies for both saxes provide a swell hypnotic, head-nodding groove. Mr. Cottle takes a strong solo with the rhythm team stirring up the turbulent waters around them. The ever resourceful Tony Bianco is in fine form here, sounding like the amazing Elvin Jones at times as plays in a similar circular way. What is amazing about this disc is how well it does capture that Trane Quartet spirit without sounding too much like them. Having a difficult day? Stressed out by the barrage of bad news from the Daily KOS? If you need some positive inspiration, then you need some of this cosmic medicine: reach for this disc and let it rip! - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG https://mail.aol.com/webmail-std/en-gb/suite

 

02/09/2016 Vittorio Lo Conte

La musica di John Coltrane è stata di ispirazione per le ultime incisioni di Paul Dunmall al sax tenore insieme al batterista americano, ma residente a Londra Tony Bianco. È un sodalizion che ha funzionanto e che ha presentato la musica del grande sassofonista americano, ancora oggi capace di avere un forte impatto sul pubblico. Questa volta si è deciso di allargare il gruppo, dal duo al quartetto, senza pianoforte, ci sono Olie Brice al contrabbasso e Howard Cottle al sax tenore. La musica che ci presentano ha qualcosa di energetico, ispirata al classico Sunship di Coltrane, ma senza sue composizioni, Dunmall ha preso la decisione di scrivere lui i brani. Fin dall’inizio la musica si presenta come un’ondata di energia, una colata lavica in ebollizione che tutti i musicisti contribuiscono a tenere al massimo della temperatura. I due sassofonisti si scambiano le parti, quando non sono impegnati in contemporanea in assolo, Tony Bianco sforna nuovi ritmi in continuazione ed insieme a Brice forma una ritmica dinamica che dà alla musica l’intensità richiesta. Sia su Underground Underground che su The Inner Silence Was Too Loud si abbraccia con fervore questa estetica, su Sum Up c’è un significativo assolo di batteria in cui il livello di l’adreanlina è al massimo dopo arriva Dunmall ad urlare ed a continuare lo stato di intensità evocato. Soltanto su Timberwolf la musica ritorna, si fa per dire, a situazioni più tranquille, il brano comincia con un lungo assolo del contrabbasso di Brice, dopo alcuni minuti si aggiungono gli altri, il sassofono urla di nuovo a squarciagola e la musica si accende di nuovo. Hear No Evil, Play No Evil é un brano più tranquillo, in cui la band mostra un altro tipo di energia, interiorizzata più che rivolta all’esterno. Il finale Sacred Chant chiude in bellezza un disco che gli estimatori del genere non si faranno scappare.
Vittorio lo Conte http://www.musiczoom.it/?p=26562#.V7TDy5grLcu
TRANSLATION
The music of John Coltrane was the inspiration for the latest recordings of Paul Dunmall on tenor sax with the American drummer, but resident in London Tony Bianco. It is a sodalizion who funzionanto and presented the music of the great American saxophonist, still able to have a strong impact on the audience. This time it was decided to enlarge the group, from duo to quartet without piano, there are Olie Brice Howard Cottle on bass and tenor sax. The music that we have got something energetic, inspired by the classic Sunship Coltrane, but without his compositions, Dunmall made the decision to write his songs. From the beginning the music is presented as a wave of energy, a lava flow on the boil all the musicians contribute to keep the maximum temperature. The two saxophonists exchange roles when they are not engaged simultaneously in solo, Tony Bianco churns out new rhythms continuously and together with Brice form a rhythmic dynamic that gives the music the intensity required. Underground Underground is that of The Inner Silence Was Too Loud is embraced with fervor this aesthetic, of Sum Up is a significant drum solo in which the level of the adrenalin is at most after arriving Dunmall to scream and to continue state evoked intensity. Only about Timberwolf music returns, so to speak, in the situation is calmer, the song begins with a long solo of the bass Brice, after a few minutes you add the other, the saxophone screams again out loud and the music turns on new. Hear No Evil, Play No Evil is a quieter song, in which the band shows a different type of energy, internalized rather than outward. The final Sacred Chant ends happily a disc that fans of the genre will not run away.

 

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