Dunmall, Levin, Rogers, and Tippett: reliable, dependable, combining quality and value. The description might be that of a law firm (or in England, a group of barristers), but in fact it applies to the free jazz collective known as Mujician. The adjectives are apropos and the band has been together for many years, producing tasty, adventurous music that pushes the barriers of convention, but never sacrifices high standards. Each of these four musicians is a significant soloist, yet the totality of their balanced, collective sound is due to a certain synergy among them as they create sculptures of an almost transcendent nature. The 15 tracks are divided into two suites -- "Spacetime" and "Exquisitely Woven Spiritual Communication" -- and whether the results speak to the higher realm implied by the titles is something to be debated among philosophers. What cannot be doubted, though, is that there is a coherency to the whole that exudes completeness; there is a comforting quality to it, too. Dunmall is a sort of odd bird in that he is a free player capable of performing energetically but is just as content to bring down the volume and sputter, plunge, and listen. Grandstanding is discarded in favor of a more nuanced approach. Sometimes it even rises to the level of magnificence. The quartet forges a distinct sound, radical yet accessible, unconventional but comforting.
by Steve Loewy