Paul Dunmall Moksha Big Band - "I Wish You Peace", Cuneiform

Fifty years is [I'm guessing] an important milestone in a person's life. To celebrate saxophonist Paul Dunmall's 50th birthday, BBC commissioned a large group project to life. "I Wish You Peace" is a direct result of that commission. For way too long, saxophonist Paul Dunmall has been living in the shadows of other players and ensembles: Elton Dean, Mujician, LJCO. It's only in the last decade or so that he's really come out of the shadows and left his imprint on the world of new music. This record marks a ground-breaking effort, as the commission had allowed Paul to invite fourteen of his closest collaborators Keith Tippett, Elton Dean, Simon Picard, Paul Rogers, Paul Rutherford are amongst these to collaborate and play on a large scale piece. Though the piece is divided into three easy indexed sections, it works best as a whole. Over the course of an hour, the 15 piece Moksha Big Band [only fittingly, Moksha in Hindu means the supreme final liberation of the soul] swerves around corners of ecstatic noise, and features blistering soloing from just about everyone [wonderful solos from Dunmall, Picard and especially Tippett]. There are some shining written moments here, and I think in fact, Paul should do some more commissions of this kind. Even though, majority of the hour long project is filled with fast and furious soloing, this record shouldn't scare those who don't subscribe to the improvisation-is-best theory. Why? There are tight solos and inviting melodies that welcome you at every listen. There is so much happening at once in fact, that each spin of this record will reveal something new. Was this commission the best birthday present a musician could've received? I'd like to think so. Happy Birthday Paul!

Tom Sekowski

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