Jazz Articles

Daily articles including interviews, profiles, live reviews, film reviews and more... all carefully curated by the All About Jazz staff. You can find more articles by searching our website, see what's trending on our popular articles page or read articles ahead of their published dates on our future articles page.

5

Album Review

Conference Call: Prism

Read "Prism" reviewed by Mark Corroto


Conference Call is a quartet, but could also be described as a trio+ because the core members—saxophonist and bass clarinetist Gebhard Ullmann, pianist Michael Jefry Stevens, and bassist Joe Fonda—have been touring and recording together for more than two decades. The plus moniker derives from the quartet's interchange of drummers. Early on, the seat was occupied by Matt Wilson, then Han Bennink, Gerry Hemingway, and George Schuller. The quartet's latest edition is Swiss drummer Dieter Ulrich, who you might have ...

7

Album Review

Conference Call: Prism

Read "Prism" reviewed by Jerome Wilson


Most jazz groups that stay together for a long time, such as The Modern Jazz Quartet or The Art Ensemble of Chicago, achieve a certain prominence. It is a surprise then to realize that the lesser-known band, Conference Call, has been around since 1999 and is here releasing its eighth album. The group's core members are saxophonist Gebhard Ullmann, pianist Michael Jefry Stevens and bassist Joe Fonda. They have had a succession of drummers over the years; Matt ...

7

Album Review

Conference Call: Prism

Read "Prism" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan


Prism, by the band Conference Call, sounds, on the set's opening tune, “F.J.D.," like a bunch of guys who might mug you: a brash, turbulent, confrontational crowd with a “we-don't-take-no-mess-from-nobody" approach to making music. Credit reedman Gebhard Ullmann with his grouchy, working-man-roused-from-his-afternoon-nap tenor sax sound, and the powerful bass (which you can feel in your bones) of Joe Fonda, accompanied by the aggressive clamor of, Dieter Ulrich--the group's third drummer in its twenty year tenure—along with pianist Michael Jefry Stevens' ...

7

Album Review

Conference Call: Prism

Read "Prism" reviewed by Mike Jurkovic


During the roiling twenty years that Conference Call has willfully crisscrossed the broad Atlantic, the individual drummers haven't participated in all of the round trips. The pre-2020 drummer rotation was Matt Wilson, who left the band prior to its first tour in 2001 to prep for the delivery of triplets, Han Bennink, George Schuller, and Gerry Hemingway. But the core players remain. As does the key aesthetic: creative art as spontaneous geometry. So how you fit the individual pieces together ...

3

Album Review

Conference Call: Seven: Live @ Firehouse 12

Read "Seven: Live @ Firehouse 12" reviewed by Mark Corroto


The collective quartet Conference Call performs music within the egalitarian principles of jazz as a democracy, confirming that a band can be both leaderless and led by different players without diminishing the quality and character of its music. A working band since 1998, the lineup of reed player Gebhard Ullmann, pianist Michael Jefry Stevens, and bassist Joe Fonda employed multiple drummers in its first three years, including Matt Wilson, Han Bennink, and Gerry Hemingway before inviting George Schuller ...

837

Interview

Conference Call: Evolution of a Burning Bush

Read "Conference Call: Evolution of a Burning Bush" reviewed by Gordon Marshall


Conference Call can be as balanced and beautiful as an intricate organism, and just as soon rage with holy fire. The quartet--consisting of saxophonist Gebhard Ullman, bassist Joe Fonda, drummer George Schuller and pianist Michael Jefry Stevens--perpetually weaves in all three dimensions, as well as in time--its own, and music history's. Together since the late '90s, the group is going strong, burning away but losing no energy, relating jazz past and political past to hard and fast ...

147

Album Review

Conference Call: What About...?

Read "What About...?" reviewed by Raul d'Gama Rose


It has been said that live music offers the composer the opportunity to add the final ingredient in the decoction of their creation: the audience. In the case of Conference Call's 2007 concert in Krakow, Poland, documented on the double-disc What About...?, there's the dramatic addition of completely spontaneous, improvisations by one or more of the fiercely creative quartet. It's also why the mercury rises fast and furious from the get-go; the musicians taking ownership of their evolving sound, as ...


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