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

2017-04-16
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more

2017-04-16
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more

2017-02-20
Larry Coryell RIP – One of the greats of jazz guitar has left us at the age of 73. Larry Coryell was one of the founding figures of jazz fusion, but produced a significant body of work the bridged many styles. His group Eleventh House provided a unique take on the combination of jazz and rock that was distinct from contemporaries such as Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, and Weather Report. » Read more

2017-01-31
John Wetton RIP – After a long battle with colon cancer, singer and bassist John Wetton has died at the age of 67. As an integral member of such bands as King Crimson, UK, and Asia, his was one of the distinctive voices in progressive rock, lending a human touch to often difficult music. » Read more

2017-01-30
Seaprog Announces First Artists for 2017 – The organizers of the Seaprog Festival in Seattle have announced the first set of confirmed performers for the 2017 festival. The best known names are Jack o' the Clock and Zero Times Everything, but a host of other bands are featured, mostly from the Northwest. The festival will take place June 2-4, 2017. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Yochk'o Seffer / Neffesh Music - Ghilgoul – For those who read Exposé, sax genius Yochk'o Seffer should be well known. Practically the John Coltrane of French fusion and new music, Seffer's touch has graced many classics from early Magma,...  (1995) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues