Ed Puddick directs the RBC Jazz Orchestra, with the Paul Dunmall International Quintet

Review by Tony Dudley-Evans:


Thursday 27th November 2019  –  Eastside Jazz Club, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire

This concert brought together again the Paul Dunmall Quintet for which Dunmall had composed the Soultime Suite in 2018.  That project did a short tour to great acclaim and a recording of the Birmingham concert was issued on the FMR label (FMR 27817).   For this concert, however, Dunmall had come up with the idea of arranging the tunes for a big band and had been working with arranger/composer Ed Puddick to create a set of big band frameworks within which the quintet would work.

The formula was wonderfully successful.  Dunmall and Puddick have come up with a great set of arrangements that set off the improvisations of the quintet very effectively.  The quintet was on top form with Dunmall creating the long flowing lines for which he is known, and Percy Pursglove adding contrast with wonderfully expressive gestures on the trumpet and flugelhorn.  These two were strongly supported by the trio of Steve Tromans on piano, Dave Kane on double bass and the amazing Hamid Drake on drums.

What was unique about the concert, however, was the way that the arrangements for the big band did not come in at specified times in the set, but were cued by Puddick at points in the improvisations that he judged to be suitable.  This approach created a spontaneity and variety very appropriate to the music and exciting for the audience.

Puddick’s contribution to the event was thus very significant and it is to be hoped that similar experiments can be conducted in the future.

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