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March 2004

Paul Dunmall/Paul Rogers/Kevin Norton
Rylickolum: For Your Pleasure
CIMP Recordings

Saxophonist Paul Dunmall and bassist Paul Rogers comprise one-half of the longstanding British free-music quartet Mujician. When not involved in his own notable projects or his record label, Barking Hoop, drummer/vibist Kevin Norton sits in with Anthony Braxton. The three joined up recently for a short U.S. tour, and fortunately CIMP had the good sense to route these guys through a studio.

The title, Rylickolum: For Your Pleasure (CIMP), includes an old, pre-Cockney word meaning celebration or bacchanalia-evidently something that came up in conversation with the Pauls. It's a fun word, but it's hard to see how it fits with this ranging, collaborative and deadly serious recording. Norton and Rogers especially bring a lot to this ensemble. At the session, the bass player uses a specialized instrument, which includes two tiers of strings: six above the fretboard and 12 overtone-generating strings that run beneath it. Rogers shows off his instrument midway through "Villaka," but his incredible facility as a player is on display throughout. Norton, who must have been sprinting around the studio during these performances, switches frequently between his propulsive kit, vibes and small percussion instruments. Whatever he happens to lay his hands on at any one time seems to determine the tenor and intensity of this powerful music. Three long tunes take up the whole of the recording, and the band sound mutates constantly from charging postbop to quiet collective improv or folklike themes. Though Dunmall's tenor can be a powerful presence, and frequently is, the saxophonist commits completely to the collective sound.

Originally published in March 2004
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