Jim Dvorak, Paul Dunmall, Mark Sanders, Chris Mapp – Cherry Pickin’

cherry pickin(Slam Productions SLAMCD294)

This is a CD of two halves. The first 35 minutes or so are filled by six compositions by Brooklyn-born, longtime UK resident, trumpeter Jim Dvorak while the final track is nearly 20 minutes of group improvisation.

E.D.’s Muse has Dvorak and Dunmall on tenor exchanging phrases over the increasingly bubbling double bass of Mapp and the pushing drums of Sanders. The whole thing gains more and more intensity through a Dunmall solo and a brief duologue with Dvorak before the trumpeter carries the baton onwards, the two horns increasingly paying off each other, rising through the notes ever upward. The whole thing has a timeless quality – it could be from anytime in the last 50 years.

If I’m Gonna Have To Choose is like a double declaration by trumpet and tenor over a free rhythm that has a tinge of Mingus about it, a tinge further highlighted by a well-articulated Mapp solo.

Love’s Own Prayer is a thoughtful and almost serene piece with Dumall and Dvorak thoughtful over bowed bass and percussive comments. Miller’s Tail gives the rhythm team full rein and they fit together like hand and glove in a boiling sea for the horns to sail over.

For Zapped, Dvorak declaims some quotes form Frank Zappa while with Lord Buckley’s Getty’s Mother Burg he gets all hippish (as opposed to hipsterish) with Dunmall adding the asides on saxello. Great fun.

While the composed pieces have some structure, there is still a marvellous freedom about them and this prepares the listener perfectly for that final four-way improv: As Above, So Below. In many ways it’s the highlight of the album, the musicians working together in an uncanny four-way telepathy. The tension and yet restraint of the opening, later on hearing the trumpet go real, real low and some jaw-dropping fast runs from Dunmall are just three of many joys along the way.

Categories: CD review

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