Conference Call: Poetry In Motion (2008)
The creation of a work of art is an act of the mind that controls and shapes the medium's components in order to project the artist's sense of life and elicit a reaction from the consumer. In its highest forms, jazz might sound instinctive, but the reality is that years of practice have pushed the physical into the background and honed the mind to work exceedingly fast. A player entering "the zone" has not stopped thinking, but has dissolved the boundary between mind and body.
Poetry In Motion, by the collective group Conference Call, deserves to be considered as one of the year's best for the simple reason that its balance of thought and emotion, structure and freedom, clarity and abandon, is exquisitely and transparently laid out. Regardless of who composed any particular tune, providing a distinctive voice, the group acts as an organic unit, with the total sound becoming more than the sum of its parts.
In the notes, pianist Michael Jefry Stevens relates how he met reedman Gebhard Ullmann ten years earlier, with the two deciding to form a group. Stevens brought in his long-time musical partner, bassist Joe Fonda of the Fonda/Stevens Group. The drum chair has changed over the years, but seems to have settled down with George Schuller, who appeared on Spirals. The Berlin Concert (482 Music, 2004).
Stevens goes on to say how this studio recording bookends three live albums with the group's first album, and how being one of four strongand very differentcomposes and players creates "an extremely and exciting musical experience both on the bandstand and in the studio."
Track Listing: The Shining Star; Poetry in Motion; The Path; Next Step; Back To School; Quirky Waltz; Desert... Bleue... East.
Personnel: Gebhard Ullmann: soprano and tenor saxophones, bass clarinet; Michael Jefry Stevens: piano; Joe Fonda: double bass; George Schuller: drums, percussion and hammer whistle.
Record Label: Clean Feed Records