Cherry Pickin'

Artist: Jim Dvorak

Date of Release: 14/07/2014

Catalogue no: SLAMCD294

Label: SLAM

Price: £10.99

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Track Listing









Jim Dvorak trumpet, voice; Paul Dunmall tenor sax, saxello; Chris Mapp bass; Mark Sanders Drums.

Jim Dvorak and Paul Dunmall were two of the earliest SLAM recording artists after the label was founded 25 years ago; Mark Sanders has also appeared on several previous SLAM releases, notably with Elton Dean, Nick Evans and of course Paul Dunmall. Bassist Chris Mapp is a new and very welcome name on the label.
The music, with the exception of track 7, was written by Dvorak whose composition style reflects the influence of Charles Mingus. Interesting that one of Dvorak’s early SLAM releases was his duo with Eric Mingus. The two horns show a synergy that comes from the years of association and mutual respect; Dvorak’s vocals add the drama.




05/01/2015 Peter Bacon

This is a CD of two halves. The first 35 minutes or so are filled by six compositions by Brooklyn-born, longtime UK resident, trumpeter Jim Dvorak while the final track is nearly 20 minutes of group improvisation.

E.D.’s Muse has Dvorak and Dunmall on tenor exchanging phrases over the increasingly bubbling double bass of Mapp and the pushing drums of Sanders. The whole thing gains more and more intensity through a Dunmall solo and a brief duologue with Dvorak before the trumpeter carries the baton onwards, the two horns increasingly paying off each other, rising through the notes ever upward. The whole thing has a timeless quality – it could be from anytime in the last 50 years.

If I’m Gonna Have To Choose is like a double declaration by trumpet and tenor over a free rhythm that has a tinge of Mingus about it, a tinge further highlighted by a well-articulated Mapp solo.

Love’s Own Prayer is a thoughtful and almost serene piece with Dumall and Dvorak thoughtful over bowed bass and percussive comments. Miller’s Tail gives the rhythm team full rein and they fit together like hand and glove in a boiling sea for the horns to sail over.

For Zapped, Dvorak declaims some quotes form Frank Zappa while with Lord Buckley’s Getty’s Mother Burg he gets all hippish (as opposed to hipsterish) with Dunmall adding the asides on saxello. Great fun.

While the composed pieces have some structure, there is still a marvellous freedom about them and this prepares the listener perfectly for that final four-way improv: As Above, So Below. In many ways it’s the highlight of the album, the musicians working together in an uncanny four-way telepathy. The tension and yet restraint of the opening, later on hearing the trumpet go real, real low and some jaw-dropping fast runs from Dunmall are just three of many joys along the way.
Peter Bacon 8 January 2015. http://thejazzbreakfast.com/2015/01/08/jim-dvorak-paul-dunmall-mark-sanders-chris-mapp-cherry-pickin/


01/01/2015 Bernie Koenig

Given the players on this CD, and the label it is on, I was expecting some free blowing, which
does come in the last track, which is almost half the length of the CD. But the first six tracks
feature compositions by Dvorak with structured improvisation. Once I adjusted to what I was
hearing, I really liked the music. We have four seasoned players, working extremely well
together. The interplay between Dvorak and Dunmall is great and Sanders and Mapp provide
excellent support. It is clear that these musicians know how to listen to each other. I recently
reviewed Dunmall’s Coltrane tribute CD and his tone here is much mellower, which is
appropriate to this session.
“Love’s Own Prayer” is a lovely bluesy ballad. Zapped uses words from Frank Zappa, and could be some kind of tribute to him, or perhaps something just inspired by him. And “Getty’s” is a kind of parody, using the parody of the Gettysburg address by Lord Buckley. The parody uses jazz references, so is an appropriate vehicle to improvise behind. Whenever I hear improvisation behind spoken voice I always think Mingus’s “Scenes in the City,” though the sound here is not that of Mingus.
But, to my ears “As Above” is the highlight of the CD. It begins quietly with some growling, and some great ensemble playing, and each player has an extended solo. The long interplay
between Mapp and Sanders is great. I only wish Sanders’ solo was a bit longer. And everyone
gets a second, shorter solo to end the piece.
A very enjoyable CD which features great playing and interesting compositions.
Bernie Koenig
CD review from Volume 40, No. 1: January issue


22/12/2014 Ken Waxman

Putting fads and fashions aside, this seven-track CD could be irrefutably dubbed a perfect example of British Jazz from mainstream players in mid-career, if it wasn’t for the fact that the trumpeter and chief composer was born in Brooklyn. Putting that quirk of history aside, Cherry Pickin’ is an unbeatable vehicle for the talents of Jim Dvorak, who despite being born stateside in 1948 has been a resident part of the British scene for almost 45 years.
Infrequently recorded as leader, Dvorak, has been a member of the Keith Tippett Group, Chris MacGregor's Brotherhood of Breath and the Bardo State Orchestra to merely name three bands. His associates here are tenor saxophonist Paul Dunmall, a close contemporary, who has also been part of many ensembles; plus two younger musicians. Drummer Mark Sanders has partnered everyone from Evan Parker to John Butcher; meanwhile Birmingham-based bassist Chris Mapp is in bands with Sanders as well as everyone from saxophonist Dave Rempis to electronic whiz Leafcutter John.
Mapp, who also plays the electric bass and electronics, is strictly acoustic here, with most of the tracks relying on his thickened arco sweeps as well as his rugged time keeping. On the whole most of the sounds here are FreeBop, with the emphasis more on Bop and previous styles than Free Music. “As Above, So Below” the one exception, is at nearly 20 minutes the lengthiest track. Here the rhythm texture of irregular drum snaps and sul ponticello string vibrations agitates below the intersection of Dunmall’s buzzing blasts and Dvorak’s tremolo lines. Binding at the end, horn solos confirming the saxman’s more experimental post-Trane expression, contrast with the trumpeter’s high-pitched shakes which frequently seem as if they’re going to reorient to replicate some familiar Bop standard.
Dvorak’s enduring Bop/Pop orientation is additionally confirmed by “Zapped” and “Getty’s Mother Burg”. The first could be termed dirge-psychedelic as Dunmall warbles comment on the trumpeter verbalising some of Frank Zappa’s lyrics. The second is Dvorak’s recitation of a bit by Bop-comic Lord Buckley with Dunmall’s saxello yaps providing bluesy counterpoint.
More musically meaty are other tracks. The trumpeter shows off a sophisticated obbligato that plays off Mapp’s thickened sul tasto line and Dunmall’s long pitches on “Love’s Own Prayer”, while Sanders cascading clinks and shakes help define “Miller’s Tail”, which otherwise confirms the saxophonist’s improvisational mastery – spinning out colorful variations without pause. Similarly “If I’m Gonna Have to Choose” – while resembling an early Ornette Coleman ballad – is another tenor triumph as Dunmall’s open-horn slither is ably seconded by Mapp’s guitar-like string pops.
The last title is invalidated by the session. The quartet’s command of many idioms means that no singular choice is necessary.
—Ken Waxman http://www.jazzword.com/one-review/?id=128648


25/10/2014 Rotcod Zzaj

Dunmall Sanders Mapp Dvorak – CHERRY PICKIN': Our (longtime) friends at SLAM PRODUCTIONS surely know how to “pi ck ‘em”…. lol! The combination of Jim Dvorak on trumpet & voice, Paul Dunmall on tenor sax & saxello, Chris Mapp on bass and Mark Sanders doing Drums is a clear winner, no matter what color of jazz your ears are. The opener, “Ed’s Muse“, is certainly a stand-out that will hold your attention, even if you have a severe case of J.D.D. (jazz deficit disorder)… the recording is so crisp you’ll feel like you’re right there in the room with these cats. The music is all original (except for track 7), so that’s an immediate draw for this listener. The spoken-word on “Gettys Mother Burg” made it my personal favorite… takes me way back to when I first started listening to poets & jazz… in point of fact, this is among my favorite pieces for the entire year of 2014. I give this stellar crew a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.99. Get more information at the SLAM PRODUCTIONS page for this release. Rotcod Zzaj


11/09/2014 George W. Harris

If you’re a fan of Charles Mingus’ musical vision, this album by Paul Dunmall/ts, Mark Sanders/dr, Chris Mapp/b and Jim Dvorak/tp is going to put a big smile on your face. They mix deeply swinging and bluesy originals with a healthy dose of freedom reigning. Pieces such as “E.D.’s Muse” and “If I’m Gonna Have to Chose” have a throbbing groove that aren’t afraid to be stretched and bent here and there by penetratingly searching solos by a Booker Ervin-inspired Dunmall and a Johnny Coles-imbibed Dvorak. A nineteen minute “As Above, So Below” mixes experimentation with rich bop tradition, but the real treat on this disc is a must-hear take of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address in the form of “Getty’s Mother Burg” in which Dvorak delivers a hilarious hipster interpretation of the classic speech in a jive talk that has got to be heard to be believed. What a hoot! This band has moxie!
George W. Harris • September 11, 2014 http://www.jazzweekly.com/2014/09/mingus-dynasty-dvorakdunmallsandersmapp-cherry-pickin/


01/09/2014 Marcus O’Dair

Founded almost by accident by baritone saxophonist George Haslam, SLAM has now been going a quarter of a century – and, since Dvorak and Dunmall were among the first artists to release on the label, this makes for an appropriate anniversary release. They are joined by fellow SLAM veteran Sanders, and Mapp in his label debut. Together they present seven magnificent, Mingusesque tracks – Dvorak’s distinct compositional voice blended with intense, impassioned improvisation. Mapp and Sanders make for a powerful, highly dynamic section, and there’s tremendous interplay between trumpet and sax, twirling around one another in a horn double helix, for instance, on the Chaucer-channelling ‘Millers Tail’. Occasionally Dvorak even breaks into song and spoken word. Inspired by Zappa on ‘Zapped’ and Lord Buckley on ‘Gettys Mother Burg’. These two moments may not be for everyone but he just about pulls it off – and the disc as a whole is superb.
Marcus O’Dair Jazzwise August 2014.


01/09/2014 Brian Morton

As good a quartet record as you’ll hear all year. Dvorak’s significantly underrated, perhaps because he moves so easily - too easily? - between jazz and free, perhaps because he has a Trickster’s ability to hide his most profound thoughts behind japes. Here’s a record that pays tribute to Frank Zappa and Elton Dean, though Dunmall only uses his saxello on a track that’s inspired by Lord Buckley’s Gettysburg Address.

The trumpeter has a tight but nicely fat tone that’s like no other around at the moment. He reminds somewhat of the Navarro/Howard McGhee generation rather than more obvious British-based contemporaries (Carr, Wheeler, Charig) and he has an ability, may be best expressed in the title of the closing improvised number, to suggest that every surface detail opens up into something larger and more expansive. “As above, so below” is the guiding principle of the Puritan tradition in American culture, which also has its place in the evolution of jazz, and Dvorak is endlessly aware that jazz is many and not just one.

Dunmall’s playing great these days, positively magisterial but with the puckish, almost narrative delivery still intact, Sanders is world class and Mapp is more than merely reliable; he’s the real article and a man to watch, his role here more than simply holding the centre.

Brian Morton Jazz Journal, Sept 2014


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