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Time of Brightness

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Album Review

Bassist Paul Rogers is best-known as a valued sideman, notably with the free improvising ensemble Mujician. Here, he leads his own quartet, including two of his Mujician partners in performances of two of his own suites. The works are loosely structured with recognizable heads used as platforms for freewheeling improvisations. By thus reining in his players slightly, Rogers actually establishes a greater sense of tension and energy than is often achieved by "freer" bands. The other notable difference is the appearance of French pianist Sophia Domancich, whose lush and almost romantic approach serves as a wonderful foil for the orgiastic bellowing of saxophonist Paul Dunmall. She's an under-recognized musician who gets a real opportunity to shine here, especially as Rogers sets up various combinations of instrumentalists rather than adhering to any artificial theme-solos-theme formula. Rogers himself is an astonishing bassist who tends to launch himself into his playing with an unusual mix of ferocity and tact, never indulging in jazz clichés, always more interested in making a group contribution à la Barry Guy. His pieces range from quick lines with roots in bop to lovely, somber dirges that unexpectedly explode into emotional outbursts. Time of Brightness is one of the outstanding British free jazz releases of the '90s, one that fans of bands led by musicians like Keith Tippett or Elton Dean will greatly enjoy.

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Time of Brightness, Paul Rogers Quartet
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