MUJICIAN
Paul Dunmall | Tony Levin | Paul Rogers | Keith Tippett

The improvising quartet Mujician was formed in 1988 and remained a working ensemble until Tony Levin's death in 2011.

For more than two decades, this British free-jazz quartet had been working and refining their dynamic take on improvised jazz with the same quartet of musicians, all of whom are long-time mainstays on the English and European free-jazz scene:

Paul Dunmall - saxes, clarinet, bagpipes
Tony Levin - drums
Paul Rogers - double bass
Keith Tippett - piano 

 


10 10 10



RUNE 492

“This is a band that breathes life together,” noted Coda, “The magic level of response and the creation of mood and event between players is masterful, inspiring...” In recent years, a groundswell of interest in improvisation has resulted in myriad groups of varied skill attempting this art; Mujician, however, stood apart.

Mujician formed in England in 1988, after Dunmall assembled Tippett, Levin, and Rogers to play a gig on July 11, 1988. Impressed by how well they worked together, the four musicians decided to form an ongoing, leaderless cooperative ensemble. The group decided to call itself ‘Mujician’, a name that Tippett had used in the early ‘80s for a solo piano series. The term ‘mujician’ derived from Tippett’s daughter Inca’s mispronounciation of her father’s profession as a small child. All four musicians liked what ‘mujician’ evoked; in Tippett’s words: “a combination of magic and music...[and] also the word “mu” contained in it as well, which some people regard as a sacred word.”

Whether on record or in performance, the quartet always worked within the simple-yet-vast idea of completely free improvisation, always adhering to their one ground rule of never discussing music prior to playing it.

“In 2010 Mujician did a short tour organised by to celebrate Tony Levin's 70th year. Whilst on tour, on 10th October, Mujician were recorded in the Victoria Room at the University of Bristol Music Studios by the great engineer Jonathan Scott. Little did we know this would be the last time we would record, as Tony Levin passed away a few months later.

Mujician were together for 22 years, and in that time we played throughout Europe, Canada, Russia, South Africa and many concerts in the UK. In 2020 Keith Tippett died after a long illness. I believe that Mujician was one of the great groups in jazz history. It wasn't just a free jazz group; it covered so many areas that I think all we can say is it played outstanding music.”  – Paul Dunmall

10 10 10 press release

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THERE'S NO GOING BACK NOW



RUNE 232

On this, their sixth album, the group does what they have always done, which is to dig in and to investigate the music and where the music takes them, which in this case is a single, 45' long piece!

"Working within the instrumental parameters of the standard post-bop combo - piano, bass, drums and saxophones - the band situates itself in a space midway between what could be called Brit-Improv and American energy music...their sound is, if anything, more exhilarating than it has ever been." - Jazz Weekly

"With There’s No Going Back Now we are confronted with yet another example of a gripping mindset where total time and concentration takes control over an extended period. The fact that the result is such a grand, beautiful epic is some kind of justification, truly now there can indeed be no way back from instant classic status. This performance will haunt Keith Tippett, Paul Dunmall, Paul Rogers and Tony Levin forever. There’s No Going Back Now has the kind of definitive aura associated with Soft Machine’s Third or Kronos Quartet’s White Man Sleeps; there will be other music to come but this one will set the seal on everything else that follows. I guess, some days these things just happen." - Steve Day



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SPACETIME



RUNE 162

Spacetime is another essential slice of improvising "Brit-jazz", features Mujician experimenting with shorter formats, and includes 15 pieces under 10 minutes each, recorded live in the studio.

"...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... 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." - All Music Guide



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COLOURS FULFILLED



RUNE 102

Produced by Evan Parker, Colours Fulfilled is definitely their best release yet. As Option said about their last release, "If you want to know where free-jazz is at these days, check this one out." While still obviously "free", this is one of their most overtly "jazz" releases, & it swings like mad!

"Mujician's music works because the group's four very forceful musical personalities don't get in each other's way. For all their differences, their strengths seem complimentary - Keith Tippett's massive, lumpish piano chords; Paul Dunmall's brutal, rough-hewn sax lines; the gravity of Paul Roger's bass playing; and the stony clarity of Tony Levin's percussion. The album begins and ends with Dunmall on bagpipes, two powerful performances which underline just how distinctive this group sounds. Elsewhere the music picks up where 1996's excellent Birdman left off, exemplifying the uncompromising charms of the tradition which it extends." - The Wire



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BIRDMAN



RUNE 82

Mujician are an extraordinary UK improvising/free jazz quartet, featuring Keith Tippett-piano, Paul Dunmall-reeds, Paul Rogers-bass, & Tony Levin-drums. Intense-yet-controlled, with dynamic interplay from all four musicians. Mujician's music is notable for its wide range of musical interplay, its contrast between fiery freedom & calm melodies, and for it's wide variety of tonal color. They manage to be both ''avant garde'' & ''in the tradition''.

"The interplay among the four musicians is incredible - this is a listening band. The music may be unfettered & spontaneous, but the players are disciplined & sympathetic to the musical moment." - Goldmine

"...in the fine tradition of the Art Ensemble, Roland Kirk, or Mingus at his most out; solid intuitive, organic improvisation with all concerned leanding their ears. A-" - Montreal Mirror

"A major statement by a very fine band" - The Wire



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POEM ABOUT THE HERO



RUNE 62

"The second album from Mujician was recorded live earlier this year. In the interim, free jazz has developed a tradition and language which Poem About The Hero unashamedly refers to. It may not be that radical anymore, but Tippett's ensemble can still surprise you with the ease with which it can slip in and out of different formal confines - from the rich and balladic, through the microtonal and muscular. " - The Wire


"Despite the intense free-jazz dialogue and improv, there are several instances of lush melodic content along with moments of quiet solitude. Mujician isn't about an eccentric bunch of free jazzers competing against one another, but a tight cohesive unit with a stake planted firmly in the ground. Highly recommended." - All About Jazz

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THE JOURNEY



RUNE 42

Mujician’s 1st release.


"The Journey is in the fine tradition of the Art Ensemble, Roland Kirk, or Mingus at his most out; solid intuitive, organic improvisation with all concerned leanding their ears. A-" - Montreal Mirror

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MEDIA
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PRESS RELEASES
10 10 10 press release

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