Exposé print issues (1993-2011)
Mujician — 10 10 10
(Cuneiform Rune 492, 2010/2021, CD / DL)
by Jeff Melton, Published 2021-10-10
After not having revisited the Mujician catalogue in quite some time, I was quite pleased to see that a final UK club gig was making the light of day. The quartet’s Bristol Concert I always considered to be a rewarding work where classical and free jazz players interacted within a unique, barely definable synergy. I jumped at the chance to dive deep into what these intuitive musicians were up to before it all ended. Suffice it to say, the group literally sways together in a tension building storm that on the title track. I can easily envision the entire piece mapping to the lifespan of a jaw-dropping Southwestern territory hurricane. Pianist Keith Tippett’s swirling arpeggios and rumbly catch-phrasing create and inform the spinal base of the storm; his piano has never been microphoned better. His sonorous range is noticeably rich for a club gig, clearly thanks to audio engineer Jonathan Scott (Mark Knopfler, Portishead). Saxophonist Paul Dunmall’s gnarly scrawls and wandering melodies map to a destructive yet beautiful force that passes quickly barely scraping a flat, sprawling landscape. Like the soundtrack to a carefully articulated quest, the players lived and breathed on how to bend a unpredictable dialog. Their personalized interplay over time had infused a performance level with rhythm, melody and noise that could be only confined by stage size. “Remember” varies from the title track in that Dunmall’s insistent leads cross Tippett’s spirited accompaniment that directs the group towards yet another unexpected destination. Levin’s drumming on this piece is representative of his best interplay with the ensemble, both foundational and exclamatory. With the release of this archive, it’s perhaps a little clearer how the spontaneous magic between the four was essential to the remaining three men. Despite the unexpected kick in the gut with Levin’s passing and later Tippett’s, this gig is a radiant assertion as to the fulfilling real time collaboration these four had together. RIP.
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