Ulrich Gumpert: Quartette (2007)
They launch the proceedings with a cosmic blast during the free-bop opener, "Conference at Baby's. Elsewhere the quartet toggles between a tightly-wound modus operandi and an open-ended improvisational forum. In certain regions of sound and scope they communicate an ominous gait. Then on the peppery "Vom alten Lager, they intersperse free-form exchanges with a Thelonious Monk-type melody.
The title track is loaded with high-heat, largely due to Gumpert and Wolff's brusque unison choruses, as Jan Roder's lyrically-charged bass solo segues the group into a turbo-mode jazz waltz. But the high-flung excitement factor mellows out some during the dirge-like ballad "Von Hier und Anderswo.
Gumpert and associates perform within a rather misty plane that toggles between precisely arranged, swiftly executed movements and wide-open musical vistas that present more than a few surprises. With thrills a minute, tally this one up as one of the more adventurous prog-jazz releases for 2007.
Track Listing: Conference at Baby's; Vom alten Lager; Blue Circus; Quartette; Conference at Luten's; Von Hier und Anderswo; Conference at Conny's; Circulus Vitiosus.
Personnel: Ulrich Gumpert: piano, composition; Ben Abarbanel-Wolff: tenor saxophone; Jan Roder: bass; Michael Griener: drums.
Record Label: Intakt Records
Style: Modern Jazz