Support All About Jazz

All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Pay $20 and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page, plus this box and the slideout box on the right for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.


I want to help
266

Ulrich Gumpert / Gunter Baby Sommer: Das Donnernde Leben

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
Ulrich Gumpert / Gunter Baby Sommer: Das Donnernde Leben Collaborations between pianists and drummers often evolve around a unique chemistry creating interesting works of art. Such is the case with Misha Mengelberg and Han Bennink, Matthew Shipp and Guillermo E. Brown, and Louis Moholo-Moholo and Marilyn Crispell. There's also Cecil Taylor and Tony Oxley, Paul Lovens, Jackson Krall or Max Roach). Add pianist Ulrich Gumpert and drummer Günter Baby Sommer to that list.

Maybe the closest comparison that can be made from to the music heard on Das Donnernde Leben ("the thundering life") is that of the Dutch Mengelberg/Bennink duo. While that duo is centered in Amsterdam upholding its European tradition, the music heard here has its roots in the American jazz and blues tradition.

The Gospel-tinged opening track begins with a Sommer drum solo, a gleeful yelp and scat singing, before the melody (an infectious toe-tapper) seals the deal. These two musicians trade solos throughout, finishing the other's phrase, like retelling favorite jokes. Similarly, the Peter Kowald-inspired "Blues Für P.K." is a Thelonious Monk-like piece by Sommer, fastening angular notes upon a blues romp. Tracks like "Free For Two" and the marching track "Soldat, Soldat" are great fun in their serious cartoon animated method. Sommer is a great colorist, moving beyond timekeeping into melody making.

When things turn a bit heavier on tracks like "Free For All" and "Ermutigung," the duo thoroughly shines. Gumpert's classical and improvisation skills assume control doling out interpretational wisdom with the gentlest of touch. The pianist has the ability to ring the keyboards as a percussionist or stroke the ivories as if he were holding a newborn. The session is best summed up by the final track, the hesitantly swinging waltz "Das kann doch nicht alles gewesen sein." Sommer and Gumpert dance in a synchronous, yet casual dance of music that is simply sublime.


Track Listing: Locker vom Hocker; Von C bis C; Blues für P. K.; Ermutigung; Free For Two; Inside Outside Shout (Sommer); Funk For Two; Kami-Fusen; Soldat, Soldat; Free Of All; Das kann doch nicht alles gewesen sein.

Personnel: Ulrich Gumpert: piano; Günter Baby Sommer: drums, percussion.

Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Intakt Records | Style: Free Improv/Avant-Garde


Shop

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
A New One
A New One
Intakt Records
2016
buy
[no cover]
'N Tango Für Gitti
Intakt Records
2012
buy
Das Donnernde Leben
Das Donnernde Leben
Intakt Records
2009
buy
Quartette
Quartette
Intakt Records
2007
buy
[no cover]
Markowitz' Blues
Intakt Records
1995
buy
[no cover]
Markowitz's Blues
Intakt Records
1993
buy
Joe McPhee Joe McPhee
reeds
Pharoah Sanders Pharoah Sanders
saxophone
Tadd Dameron Tadd Dameron
arranger
Tony Malaby Tony Malaby
sax, tenor
Michael Blake Michael Blake
saxophone
Steve Lehman Steve Lehman
sax, alto
Rob Reddy Rob Reddy
saxophone
Joe Giardullo Joe Giardullo
saxophone
Marion Brown Marion Brown
sax, alto
Aki Takase Aki Takase
piano
Jimmy Lyons Jimmy Lyons
sax, alto

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.