105

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

| Record Label: Leo Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

  • Polymorphous
    Polymorphous
    The Fonda/Stevens Group
    20th Anniversary Tour
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Pat Metheny Pat Metheny
guitar
Cedar Walton Cedar Walton
piano
Kenny Garrett Kenny Garrett
sax, alto
Eric Dolphy Eric Dolphy
reeds
Lee Konitz Lee Konitz
sax, alto
Chris Potter Chris Potter
reeds
Geri Allen Geri Allen
piano
Gary Burton Gary Burton
vibraphone
Fred Anderson Fred Anderson
saxophone
Roy Haynes Roy Haynes
drums
Satoko Fujii Satoko Fujii
piano

More Articles

Read Northern Adventures CD/LP/Track Review Northern Adventures
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Collider CD/LP/Track Review Collider
by John Sharpe
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Eos CD/LP/Track Review Eos
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 28, 2017
Read More Than This CD/LP/Track Review More Than This
by Henning Bolte
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read "Stranger Days" CD/LP/Track Review Stranger Days
by Budd Kopman
Published: August 21, 2016
Read "Agartha" CD/LP/Track Review Agartha
by Roger Farbey
Published: August 14, 2016
Read "Over the Rainbow" CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "The Picasso Zone" CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: December 11, 2016
Read "Alien Flower Sutra" CD/LP/Track Review Alien Flower Sutra
by Karl Ackermann
Published: May 24, 2016
Read "Boss Tenor" CD/LP/Track Review Boss Tenor
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: July 20, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

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!