Make a difference: Support jazz online

Support All About Jazz Your friends at All About Jazz are looking for readers to help back our website upgrade project. Of critical importance, this project will result in a vastly improved design across all devices and will make future All About Jazz projects much easier to implement. Click here to learn more about this project including donation rewards.

106

The Fonda-Stevens Group: Live At The Bunker

Glenn Astarita By

Sign in to view read count
“The Fonda-Stevens Group” is arguably one of the finest and hardest working modern jazz outfits in the business. And while “Leo Records” is synonymous with producing improvised, free – jazz and music that is largely unclassifiable, the label generally skirts the bleeding edge of what some refer to as – new music. Therefore, this quartet’s new recording titled, Live At The Bunker marks a slight yet welcome shift in strategy for this legendary UK-based label.

The quartet opens this set with soulful balladry on the piece titled, “For Us” as trumpeter Paul Smoker exudes heartfelt lines in conjunction with pianist Michael Jefry Stevens’ velvety undercurrents. However, the musicians pull a 360 degree turnaround on the second track, “Borrowed Time” which is marked by Smoker’s genial muted trumpet lines, linearly performed unison choruses, engaging call and response improv and a brief swing motif. On this piece, the band prominently exhibits the virtues of being in synch, as there is little margin for error amid these odd-metered rhythms, cleverly constructed themes and intricately executed passages. Yet the band also excels at integrating a loose vibe which affords the soloists ample breathing room for reinventing the compositional subject matter.

Bassist Joe Fonda and drummer Harvey Sorgen anchor the intense momentum for the soloist’s climactic choruses and catchy melodies on “Don’t Go Baby”, whereas the quartet finalizes the brisk proceedings with the gospel induced “Oh, Lord, It’s Nice To Sit On Your Porch Today”. Here, the band pursues crashing cadenzas along with Stevens’ lush interludes and Smoker’s deviously constructed yet altogether playful lead soloing. Without further ado, Live At The Bunker is a magnificent release and a late entry into this writer’s hypothetical top ten list for 2000. Folks, modern jazz doesn’t get much better than this!

* * * * * (Out of * * * * *)

( Leo Records )


Track Listing: 1) For Us (Stevens) 2) Borrowed (Fonda) 3) Don

Personnel: Joe Fonda; bass: Michael Jefry Stevens; piano: Paul Smoker; trumpet: Harvey Sorgen; drums

Title: Live At The Bunker | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: Leo Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Lux CD/LP/Track Review Lux
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 20, 2018
Read Unleashed CD/LP/Track Review Unleashed
by John Sharpe
Published: January 20, 2018
Read I Think I'm Going To Eat Dessert CD/LP/Track Review I Think I'm Going To Eat Dessert
by Jerome Wilson
Published: January 20, 2018
Read 20 CD/LP/Track Review 20
by Ian Patterson
Published: January 20, 2018
Read Roppongi CD/LP/Track Review Roppongi
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 19, 2018
Read Is Life Long? CD/LP/Track Review Is Life Long?
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 19, 2018
Read "Sunshine! Quartet" CD/LP/Track Review Sunshine! Quartet
by Glenn Astarita
Published: June 13, 2017
Read "Mellophonium Memoirs" CD/LP/Track Review Mellophonium Memoirs
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 8, 2017
Read "On Hollywood Boulevard" CD/LP/Track Review On Hollywood Boulevard
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 19, 2017
Read "An Eye on the Future" CD/LP/Track Review An Eye on the Future
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 24, 2017
Read "Il sistema periodico" CD/LP/Track Review Il sistema periodico
by Nicola Negri
Published: March 27, 2017
Read "Some Other Time/Slow Café" CD/LP/Track Review Some Other Time/Slow Café
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 28, 2017