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Album Review

Dunmall, Levin, Rogers and Tippett perform and record on a regular basis as the Mujician quartet, and the addition of Elton Dean on saxes and Roswell Rudd on trombone adds some weight to the quartet sound, but doesn't change the style of the music appreciably. Like Mujician, this augmented group starts with relatively open-ended collective improvisations, concentrating initially on individual instrumental textures and timbres, and then works its way gradually into melody, metrical regularity and interactions among various group members. Each of the three long pieces is a journey, and process is at least as important as product. In fact, the episodic, improvisational nature of the music is such that the CD might as well be one long 60-minute composition, because there's no clear sonic or stylistic transition between one piece and the next. Rudd is a real presence at times on trombone; he's an expansive, extroverted musician playing an instrument which accentuates such personal qualities. On occasion, Rudd's presence gives some of the blues-oriented sections a gregarious, almost Dixieland sensibility. Dean and Dunmall are both excellent on saxophones, and although there's no information on who's playing what, I suspect that Dunmall would be most often on tenor, while Dean would be playing his standard mixture of alto and saxello. The emotional range of the music on Bladek is enormous, and includes poignant solo work, both lyrical and raucous dialogues between group members, broad blues swagger, and some powerhouse collective free blowing which recapitulates the best of the late, expanded Coltrane groups.

Biography

Born: 28 October 1945 in Nottingham, England

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s

British saxophonist Elton Dean was one of the key figures in British free jazz for decades. Closely affiliated with the Canterbury scene, Dean — born in Nottingham on October 28, 1945 — had a résumé far more varied and than that tag would describe. Dean began his professional career with Long John Baldry's Bluesology in 1967 — the pianist in that band was Reginald Dwight, who found later stardom under the Elton John stage name formed by combining the "Elton" from Elton Dean and...
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Bladik, Elton Dean
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