Mujician Spacetime

Keith Tippett's evergreen quartet, featuring Paul Dunmall, Paul Rogers and Tony Levin, gives us another fine day's work. These guys just go into the studio, have a musical conversation and release the results to great acclaim. This is a great example, as all Mujician records are, of free music, which should have a much wider audience. The dynamic is not unstructured and the short running time of each tune denotes the complete exploration of shorter forms than the massive structures more common to their previous work. Dunmall and Tippett are clearly in the driver's seat, in terms of ramping up the energy. Dunmall's playing is in better relief here than on his own band projects and he swoops and dives through the supporting cast. Tippett, who plays with Dunmall in other combos, has a knack for finishing Dunmall's phrases in an understated way. His prepared piano has been developed through years of practice (and likely battered piano wires) and can sound like a harpsichord or even a distorted guitar, but with more nuance. Levin lays back, occasionally throwing in a steady ride to propel things but mostly playing for coloration. Rogers sometimes plays lead, but more often fills the role of the bottom of the mix. This band is not fuelled by testosterone and Spacetime is not energy music by any means, but it's still vital free jazz. (Cuneiform)