AMN Reviews: Paul Dunmall and Mark Sanders – Unity (2021; 577 Records)

Experienced UK improvisers Dunmall and Sanders have played together for decades but never recorded as a duo. With Unity, that particular box is now checked. These five medium-length tracks present a playful take on free jazz with Dunmall exploring short themes with his sax while Sanders plays the drum kit as a lead instrument and eschews traditional notions of rhythm.

Dunmall expresses himself in signature fashion, filling space with notes consisting of variations on motifs and more open-ended soloing. There is a hint of Ayler in his knotty tunefulness and how he manages to be experimental without extended techniques. Sanders keeps the tempo going with active use of snare and cymbals in particular. A contrasting track is The Quiet Mind, which features a slower pace and more atmospheric playing from both, notably Sanders’ drone-like use of the cymbals.

The result of all this is a pleasant-sounding, freely-performed release. Unity will be released May 14th via 577 Records.