Hit and Run

John Butcher / Paul Dunmall / John Edwards

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Hit and Run Review

by Fran├žois Couture

Dream dates come and go, and most of them are usually disappointing when compared to the promises they held on paper. Such is not the case with Hit and Run. Paul Dunmall was scheduled to appear at the 1999 Total Music Meeting with his usual partner bassist Paul Rogers. The latter was sidelined by health problems, so John Edwards, who was already playing a duet with saxophonist John Butcher, stepped in. This CD presents 35 minutes from the Dunmall-Edwards set, 37 minutes from the Butcher-Edwards set, and a closing five minutes with the three musicians. Now, the saxophonists are very different players, so in a sense the unifying factor is the bassist. Yet, he adapts so well to his partner that one could easily be lured to think of him as two separate musicians. Dunmall opens the CD with his bagpipes, a stunning sound color to hear in free improvisation -- so rare and yet so appropriate. The rapport between the new mates is instantaneous, natural and highly rewarding for the listener. Butcher and Edwards, on the other hand, have been playing together for quite some time, but the occasions to hear them in a duo context are few. The saxophonist's attention to silence and self-contained sound events is complementary with Dunmall's more generous esthetic. The short trio is not the free improv piece of the year, but it brings an interesting conclusion, Dunmall choosing the pipes instead of going head to head with Butcher. Recommended.

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