Rylickolum presents Paul Dunmall in a highly sympathetic setting, plying his tenor alongside fellow improvisational heavyweights, percussionist Kevin Norton and bassist Paul Rogers. For this recording, the trio was in tiptop form, in the midst of a tour of the eastern United States in the spring of 2003, and the disciplined synchronicity clearly shows. At first glance, the combination of sax, bass, and drums might appear to be a dreary if not wearingly tedious prospect, particularly considering the length of the tracks. (The last one is more than half an hour.) And that might have been the case if this was nothing more than a long blowing session. Fortunately, producer Robert Rusch is far too savvy to succumb to such temptations, and instead the listener is invited to join these three on an exciting journey that is simple yet diverse, and full of surprising twists. The trio is not comfortable simply shrieking with shocking noise-splitting fusillades. Instead, a far different road is pursued, one that embraces free improvisation but not anarchy, in which stunning shades of color are intermingled among contrasting palettes. Dunmall often blows softly, albeit intensely, and part of the appeal is watching his endless flow unfold with passionate, though never hysterical, virtuosity. The three pieces almost form a suite, vaguely interconnected by time and geography. Every so often Dunmall flexes his muscles on tenor, bursting through like a person breaking out from prison, or Norton flashes brilliantly on vibes, or Rogers mesmerizes on acoustic bass, but that is hardly the point, as the pieces unwind almost symphoniously. If the episodic silence (particularly on the final track) is sometimes misplaced, or at least disconcerting, the overall effect of the trio of pieces is revelatory, and there is much to savor.
AllMusic Review by Steve Loewy