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Silent Knowledge

by Elton Dean Quintet

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Gualchos 28:39
Sound Awake 14:55


English jazz saxophone legend Elton was in the public eye for over 35 years

This was Cuneiform's first release by the great free-jazz saxophonist and composer Elton Dean and was also Elton's first-ever North American release under his own name.

This album features a European all-star free-jazz band: Paul Dunmall-saxes, Paul Rogers-bass, Tony Levin-drums (all of the well known UK jazz collective Mujician) and French pianist Sophia Domancich. It's a powerful "Brit-jazz" disc that features some tightly arranged compositions mixed in with superlative free blowing.

"What makes the record is the great feeling of all involved being totally immersed in what's unfolding, which is essentially big, brawny, free-minded jazz..." – The Wire

"Although Dean is titular head of the quintet, three-fifths of its personnel is made up of members of the Mujician group -- Tony Levin on drums, Paul Rogers on bass and Paul Dunmall on tenor sax. Regular Mujician pianist Keith Tippett is replaced by Sophia Donmancich, who has a robust, two-handed attack, although perhaps less of Tippett's musical eccentricity. Dean plays his customary alto sax and saxello, no longer doubling on electric keyboards as he did during his early Soft Machine days. The long opening piece, "Gualchos," betrays a strong and not unwelcome Coltrane influence, beginning with the rolling thunder of Donmancich's piano, and then a solemn minor theme played by the saxes in unison. Everyone then has ample opportunities for soloing, with Dunmall's hoarse, impassioned tenor a highlight, along with a serpentine duet between the unaccompanied horns at the end of the piece. A subsequent ballad, "First in the Wagon," has Dean taking an initial lyrical solo, followed by Donmancich and then apparently by Dean again on his other horn. Very lovely playing, indeed. The remained two tracks on the CD are more in the mode of Mujician, going beyond the standard jazz format of theme and solos and into the more challenging world of collective improvisation where the musicians take turns following one another's lead and combine in temporary duets and trios, pushing the music in various directions. These pieces are abstract and sometimes abrasive, with fewer touchstones for the listener, but they offer substantial creative challenges for both listener and musician. Whatever the territory, this group of musicians traverses it with panache." – William Tilland, AllMusic


released June 1, 1995

Elton Dean - alto sax, saxello
Sophia Domancich - piano
Paul Dunmall - tenor sax
Paul Rogers - bass
Tony Levin - drums

Recorded June 1, 1995 at The Premises, London, UK.

"The music here is a presentation of all that was played that day – a good day. May we all rediscover our silent knowledge." - Elton Dean


Elton Dean albums available on Bandcamp:

- cuneiformrecords.bandcamp.com/album/moorsong

- cuneiformrecords.bandcamp.com/album/just-us

- cuneiformrecords.bandcamp.com/album/bladik

- cuneiformrecords.bandcamp.com/album/silent-knowledge


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Cuneiform Records Washington, D.C.

Cuneiform Records is an independent record label releasing adventurous, boundary-bursting music by artists from around the world.

Founded in 1984.
Based in Washington D.C.

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