Exposé Online banner

Paul Dunmall Octet — Great Divide
(Cuneiform Rune 142, 2001, CD)

by Jeff Melton, Published 2001-07-01

Great Divide Cover art

Tenor saxophonist Paul Dunmall has followed his acclaimed release from 1999, Bebop Stardust, with the next logical step, Great Divide. As a jazz composer, it's a challenge to clarify the boundaries surrounding your composition by allowing a large ensemble to break into planned cacophony and return to a melodic haven. By relying on Keith Tippett's Mujician ensemble (with the rhythm section of Paul Rogers and Tony Levin), Dunmall has found rooting for the five sections of the title track as well as the grand finale-closing piece, "A Passage through the Great Divide." Tippett's piano interlude with Levin's drumming on Part One is notable for the melodic relief as well as smooth transition point in the track. Rogers' upright bass is also exemplary on Part Three where the brass section is supportingly somber. When compared to Elton Dean's own big band endeavors, the last track matches much of the intensity of "Oh for the Edge" or "Ninesense" with emphasis on long notes amongst controlled chaos. In fact Dean and Evan Parker participate in the session making it a full sixteen piece endeavor, full of the what the free Brit jazz has personified: a large improvisation of merit. Considering the joint intricacy and bedlam that inherits these tracks, it's a miracle that the joyful expression doesn't spill out over the place by dwelling on subtle details. This album is a fine addition to the UK jazz tradition that is still alive and well.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 22, 2001 releases

Related artist(s): Elton Dean, Keith Tippett, Paul Dunmall

Latest news

2018-07-09
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more

2018-07-01
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more

2018-06-25
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more

2018-06-13
Jon Hiseman RIP – One of the great drummers of the rock era has died. Jon Hiseman was a veteran of such ground-breaking groups as Colosseum (I and II), Tempest, John Mayal's Bleusbreakers, and was a founding member of the innovative large band United Jazz + Rock Ensemble. » Read more

2018-06-05
Koenjihyakkei Seeks Funding for New Album – It's been quite a few years since the last new studio album by the amazing Koenjihyakkei. Now they are preparing Dhormimviskha for worldwide release, and they're asking fans to pre-order via a Kickstarter campaign to help it happen. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Blackmore's Night - Shadow of the Moon – Well, if this album doesn't make you want to run barefoot through the heather I don't know what will. Former axeman for Rainbow and Deep Purple has joined with his Lady to create an utterly enchanting...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues