271

Joe Fonda: Live at the Outpost Performance Space & Live at the Iron Works

Kurt Gottschalk By

Sign in to view read count








Conference Call
Live at the Outpost Peformance Space
482 Music
2006


Fab Trio
Live at Iron Works, Vancouver, BC
Konnex
2005




Although the Fonda-Stevens group is a strong band, bassist Joe Fonda is best known as a sideman. His first recording was with Wadada Leo Smith in 1983 and he spent much of the '90s working with Anthony Braxton. Fonda has also played in groups led by Walter Thompson, Kevin Norton and others. On two recent releases, both albeit by collective ensembles, he shows the two sides of being a sideman.

Fonda has been a member of Conference Call - with saxophonist Gebhard Ullmann and pianist Michael Jefry Stevens - since the group's 2002 debut Final Answer (Soul Note). With the band's range of tones, he and a variety of drummers (Gerry Hemingway now fills the seat previously occupied by Matt Wilson and Han Bennink) are called upon to support driving, rhythmic tunes and slow, moody passages, often in the same piece. Across five tracks he does so with a mix of strength and deference, never pushing but always matching. On Stevens' "Circle Dance , he picks up a phrase from Ullmann and carries it as the horn slips into a short blues, then sidesteps slightly when Hemingway begins suggesting a soft rhythm on cymbals. It's the kind of subtlety that makes a band like Conference Call work.

The trio with Billy Bang and Barry Altschul (FAB Trio) is an altogether different affair. Bang's violin is almost impossibly bright and Altschul pushes harder than Hemingway. Fonda rises to the challenge by making the band something of a string duo with drums. His big bull viol darts quickly around the violin, with Altschul seeming to revel in the pointillist rhythms. The group shares writing credits on four of the six songs and repeat Fonda's "Song for My Mother from their 2003 debut on CIMP. Violins are as formidable sparring partners as saxophones and it's sometimes hard to aim your ears at the rest of the band. But in both cases and with two exceptional groups, Fonda finds his way through.


Tracks and Personnel

Live at the Outpost Performance Space

Tracks: 29 Shoes; Liquid Cage; Circle Dance; Mara Drole; As I Wait.

Personnel: Gebhard Ullmann: saxophones, bass clarinet; Michael Jefry Stevens: piano; Joe Fonda: bass; Gerry Hemingway: drums.

Live at Iron Works, Vancouver, BC

Tracks: FAB; For Frank Lowe; B.B; Tune For Barry; For Don Cherry; Song For My Mother.

Personnel: Billy Bang: violin; Joe Fonda: bass; Barry Altschul: drums.


Shop

More Articles

Read Dan Phillips Returns To Chicago Multiple Reviews Dan Phillips Returns To Chicago
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 21, 2017
Read New, Notable and Nearly Missed Multiple Reviews New, Notable and Nearly Missed
by Phil Barnes
Published: January 25, 2017
Read Blues Deluxe: Colin James, Matthew Curry and Johnny Nicholas Multiple Reviews Blues Deluxe: Colin James, Matthew Curry and Johnny Nicholas
by Doug Collette
Published: January 14, 2017
Read Weekertoft Hits Its Stride… Multiple Reviews Weekertoft Hits Its Stride…
by John Eyles
Published: January 7, 2017
Read Ivo Perelman: The Art of the Improv Trio Multiple Reviews Ivo Perelman: The Art of the Improv Trio
by Jim Trageser
Published: January 4, 2017
Read 2016: An Ivo Perelman Marathon Multiple Reviews 2016: An Ivo Perelman Marathon
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 3, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!