All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Interviews

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

819

Meet Saxhophonist/Clarinetist Gebhard Ullmann

Glenn Astarita By

Sign in to view read count
Naturally, I can only judge the differences between the types of musicians from both sides of the Atlantic in my own projects... I think it is less important where a musician comes from as opposed to whether or not he or she also is a composer.
Submitted by Glenn Astarta on behalf of Vittorio Lo Conte for AAJ:Italy.

All About Jazz: Regarding your CD Kreuzberg Park East - Will you keep developing your musical ideas with this group in the future?

Gebhard Ullmann: The CD Kreuzberg Park East was an advancement of my composition concept for quartet (two horns and piano-less rhythm section). While I composed all the music for the first CD Basement Research in Berlin, everything on Kreuzberg Park East are new compositions and arrangements I wrote in Brooklyn. The recording took place in NYC following a European tour, so that the band could explore additional free spaces inside the arrangements while on tour. With regard to those free spaces, there are flowing transitions between composed and improvised passages in many of my compositions. Based upon the strength and aesthetics of the composed sections, I confidently and gladly leave many free spaces to the performing musicians, whose contributions I may later take in and transform into new compositions or arrangements of the pieces. In this case I could write additionally for specific musicians, which gave part of the direction for me as a composer. On the other hand I also like to lead the players to new musical frontiers.

On Kreuzberg Park East I completely describe determined tendencies, situations, and memories from the two cities in which I live: NYC and Berlin. For example, the title piece is the description of one Sunday afternoon in the park opposite my former apartment in Berlin. "The T.T. Walk" is inspired by a journey to Trinidad and Tobago. "Almost Twenty Eight" is a description of different simultaneous impressions from NYC. "Blaues Lied" ("Blue Song") is my nod to the blue musical tradition. This colour again emerges with "Blue Trees and Related Objects" from the tradition of painting. "Flutist With Hat and Shoe" is the description of a picture and "Meltema" is another dear song which is quite personal.

New music and compositional concepts emerged during the writing of the music too. These centered around investigating the interactive aspects of sound between bass clarinet and double bass and also between Eskelin's and my tenor saxophones. It also occurred from using the highly intuitive rhythm work of Drew Gress and Phil Haynes and in exploring new notation/composition techniques in transatlantic musical idioms such as Blues/Gospel, Waltz, or Tango.

AAJ: You perform in Germany with Guenter Lenz' "Springtime". Since Bob Degen returned to the USA, which are the perspectives of this group? Do you find that the music you perform with European and US musicians does go in different directions?

GE: The "Guenter Lenz Springtime" is an interesting group which spans styles, generations and geographical regions. Dieter Glawischnig has taken over the piano chair of Bob Degen. Guenter wrote new music for this occasion, which was already recorded during a concert in May.

Naturally, I can only judge the differences between the types of musicians from both sides of the Atlantic in my own projects. For me, my compositions have always been very important, on the other hand I also feel comfortable in open concepts with a minimum of arrangements. I think it is less important where a musician comes from as opposed to whether or not he or she also is a composer.

One example: I very deliberately contrast the quartet "Conference Call" (with Michael Stevens, Joe Fonda, Matt Wilson) to the Trio with Carlo Bica and Sylvie Courvoisier. In addition, Conference Call undertook a tour with Han Bennink this year. Although there maybe boundaries they fade away more and more.

If it comes to the musicians maybe the main difference is their reference to different traditions and their free sometimes wild handling of the given material as being contrary to compositional concepts. However, one must clearly state that many exceptions to the rule are acknowledged. I feel at home both here and there (geographically and musically) and would like to explore both in my own ways.

The trio format: After operating intensively for several years with my ten-piece woodwind/accordion project "Ta Lam Zehn" I began a set of projects which placed a number of different trios into the focal point. In these projects spontaneity is maximized and the presentation of myself as a player and improviser is the quintessential point. After the CD Clarinet Trio (LeoLab 058), the trio of Ullmann/Bica/Thomas released the CD Essencia in June 2001 on Between The Lines. In Autumn 2000 there was a recording with Chris Dahlgren and Peter Herbert (both double bass) and myself on bass flute and bass clarinet called "Bassx3" which still is an ongoing project. Also, I'm working in a trio with Chris Dahlgren (bass, electronics) and Jay Rosen (percussion). All of these projects develop from a pool of ideas and musicians and are quite "transatlantic."

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Ta Lam

Ta Lam

Gebhard Ullmann
The Big Band Project

CD/LP/Track Review
Multiple Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Multiple Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
The Chicago Plan

The Chicago Plan

Clean Feed Records
2017

buy
 

Transatlantic

Leo Records
2012

buy
News? No News!

News? No News!

Jazzwerkstatt Berlin-brandenburg E.v.
2010

buy
 

What About The ...?

Not Two Records
2010

buy
Don't Touch My Music

Don't Touch My Music

Not Two Records
2009

buy
Don't Touch My Music Vol. 2

Don't Touch My Music...

Not Two Records
2009

buy

Related Articles

Read Linley Hamilton: Strings Attached Interviews
Linley Hamilton: Strings Attached
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 17, 2018
Read Camille Bertault: Unity in Diversity Interviews
Camille Bertault: Unity in Diversity
by Ludovico Granvassu
Published: April 10, 2018
Read Chad Taylor: Myths and Music Education Interviews
Chad Taylor: Myths and Music Education
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: April 9, 2018
Read Fabian Almazan: Multilayered Vision Interviews
Fabian Almazan: Multilayered Vision
by Angelo Leonardi
Published: March 30, 2018
Read Ryuichi Sakamoto: Naturally Born to Seek Diversity Interviews
Ryuichi Sakamoto: Naturally Born to Seek Diversity
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: March 27, 2018
Read Leonardo Pavkovic: Nothing is Ordinary Interviews
Leonardo Pavkovic: Nothing is Ordinary
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: March 16, 2018
Read "Generation Next: Four Voices From Seattle" Interviews Generation Next: Four Voices From Seattle
by Paul Rauch
Published: June 19, 2017
Read "Helle Henning: Nordic Sounds" Interviews Helle Henning: Nordic Sounds
by Suzanne Lorge
Published: February 14, 2018
Read "Aaron Parks: Rising To The Challenge" Interviews Aaron Parks: Rising To The Challenge
by R.J. DeLuke
Published: June 21, 2017
Read "Pat Martino: In the Moment" Interviews Pat Martino: In the Moment
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: January 12, 2018
Read "Arto Lindsay: Watch Out Madames!" Interviews Arto Lindsay: Watch Out Madames!
by Enrico Bettinello
Published: April 25, 2017