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Gebhard Ullmann/Basement Research: Hat And Shoes

Glenn Astarita By

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Track review of "Gulf of Berlin"

Without a doubt, German multi-woodwind ace Gebhard Ullmann is one of the busiest artists within the global jazz network. Hat & Shoes celebrates his Basement Research band's 20th anniversary and the artist's 50th CD as a co-leader and leader, including his other ensembles —Conference Call and the Clarinet Trio.

The all-star quintet ups the ante via its intensely wrought force-field and crafty deportment, compiled with spirited group evolvements. The three-man horn section's deterministic mode of operations, offer rousing and weaving breakouts, ballsy soloing spots, resilient storylines and a distinct sense of urgency that underscore the sometimes, dizzying improv segments. Yet they soften some of the heavyweight blows with minimalist style etudes amid introspective crosscurrents, edgy balladry and trombonist Steve Swell's drawling blues motifs along with other movements devised with scrappy exchanges.

The band closes out in a blaze of glory on the final track "Gulf of Berlin," where Ullmann, Swell and baritone saxophonist Julian Arguelles generate a blitz of speedy unison lines, serving as the primary theme. Moreover, drummer Gerald Cleaver pushes the ensemble with bristling pulses along with bassist Pascal Niggenkemper's thriving patterns. Shades of Ornette Coleman's harmolodic principles are inherent, enhanced by the odd-metered pulse. But the soloists' enjoy climactic improv space during the bridge, eased by the bassist's quiet interlude, as they go full circle by reintroducing the scorching theme as the band sonorously explores contrasting variables here and throughout.

Track Listing: Trinidad Walk; Wo bitte geht's zu den Hackeschen Höfen; Flutist with Hat And Shoe; Don't Touch My Music; Five; Blue Trees And Related Objects; Gulf of Berlin.

Personnel: Gebhard Ullmann: tenor saxophone, bass clarinet; Steve Swell: trombone; Julian Argüelles: baritone saxophone; Pascal Niggenkemper: double bass; Gerald Cleaver: drums.

Title: Hat And Shoes | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Between the Lines


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