Exposé Online banner

Elton Dean / Paul Dunmall — If Dubois Only Knew
(Blueprint BP194CD, 1996, CD)

by Jeff Melton, Published 1998-07-01

If Dubois Only Knew Cover art

Two seasoned British sax players: just them, no keyboard, guitar, bass, or drums for accompaniment. Uh-oh! Eight songs of duets and free jazz performance? God, I need some Tylenol, just thinking about playing this disc, 'cos I'm going to have such a migraine after wading through an entire hour of this brash mess! In the disc insert we have one big picture of two old guys blowing their proverbial hearts out. For an album that was recorded at somebody's home three years ago and then released by a good indie UK label (Voiceprint), it should be something really special, right? Without any constant meter to fall back on, your typical jazz crowd classifies this performance as 'difficult but disciplined' and well... it is. But the focal point through it all is a simple raw improvisation. Two competent players trading licks, melodies and random ideas in real time with no frills. The complementary pieces, “Wide Asleep” and “Deep Awake,” may be a slight commentary on either the home engineer's or musician's dispositions after hearing playback of the master tape. The most listenable duet is “That's Your Plot” where Dean takes a back seat role as Dunmall solos quietly over a pulsing ostinato that quickly changes into parallel sixteenth note waves of yakkety sound. You may even wonder how musicians can make a living by playing this kind of seemingly disorganized chaos. Well, it's a love or hate situation... no inbetweens here. I was hoping there would be at least a couple of good ballads to offset some of the banter, but alas they were not to be heard on this occasion. But wait... who the hell is Dubois? If he only knew about this disc, he may run over to the nearest bridge and... For free jazz purists only.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 15, 1996 releases

Related artist(s): Elton Dean, Paul Dunmall

Latest news

2021-04-01
New Aristocrats Live Album on the Way – No foolin'! These supreme musicians toured Europe early in 2020, just before touring ceased to be a thing musicians could do, and there were some hot performances captured. On May 7, some of these will be releases as Freeze! Live in Europe 2020. » Read more

2021-03-25
Return of Jerry Lucky's Progressive Rock Files – After much consideration and surprisingly, positive feedback, Jerry Lucky is announcing the launch of the progressive Rock Files podcast, featuring the latest progressive rock music from around the world. » Read more

2021-03-14
Jewlia Eisenberg RIP – The sad news has come out that Jewlia Eisenberg has died. As a founding member of Charming Hostess, Eisenberg changed the face of music, bringing together Balkan klezmer, American folk, and experimental rock in a distinctive blend that garnered much praise. » Read more

2021-03-11
RIP Roger Trigaux – The sad news has come to our attention that Roger Trigaux, the guiding force of Present and former member of Univers Zero, passed away on the evening of March 10, 2021 after a long ilness. » Read more

2021-02-14
SoundQuest Fest 2021 – SoundQuest Fest, first experienced as a live festival in Tucson Arizona in 2010 was created by ambient music pioneer Steve Roach. This 2021 event will unite a worldwide gathering of artists and audience members together for a 3-day online event unique in the realm of ambient music. From March 26-28th a continuous flow of streamed performances, audio-video wonder worlds and deep immersion zones will burn bright on Roach’s YouTube channel. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Contrarian - Minor Complexities – While one can't fault this for its flawless execution, outstanding vocals or the excellent and thoughtful lyrics, it certainly doesn't cover any new ground stylistically beyond that well worn path...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues