216

Ullmann-Swell 4: News? No News!

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
Ullmann-Swell 4: News? No News! It is difficult to decide, when listening to The Ullmann-Swell 4 disc News? No News! whether the choicest parts are composed or purely improvised. With such talent heard here in this mini-supergroup of saxophonist/bass clarinetist Gebhard Ullmann, trombonist Steve Swell, bassist Hilliard Greene, and drummer Barry Altschul, maybe the extreme pleasure that results is allowing that tug-of-war to play itself out.

This disc is the second by the quartet, following Desert Songs and Other Landscapes (CIMP, 2004). Ullmann and Swell are long time partners, having collaborating in Ullmann's sextet Basement Research, a group also notable for featuring British saxophonist Julian Arguelles. Together, they form a pair of redoubtable and daunting musicians who can absorb musical genres—whether jazz or blues, free or regimented—and deliver a cogent paean.

Though probably best known for his bass clarinet, Ullmann switches to tenor saxophone on several tracks here. The urgency of "More Hello" mates the tenor trombone sound to the frenetic playing from Altschul and Greene. But such scattershot is not the predominate theme here. This quartet is more likely to exhibit its dance skills in subtler ways, such as the furious improvisation to synchronized swing on "Composite #1" that overlays the in with the out. Time marches, only to be cut free. As with most tracks, the players break off into two detachable units, but each pair also remains with the improvised decorative veneer of music.

Ullmann and Swell each composed four tracks here, and two—"GPS #1" and "GPS #2"—are group improvisations. These pieces are intended to be open, allowing for space to wander and dream. Greene's opening bass solo signals the form and his three companions wriggle along. The like-minded players fit bass clarinet and trombone into the prodding search of the two spacious pieces. Elsewhere, the composed music favors a pleasing swing that accentuates the soloing. "Berlin 9:35" and "New York 5:50" sets the scene with a steady pulse, allowing Swell and Ullmann to pair followed by varying combinations of players, all to great effect.


Track Listing: More Hello; New York 5:50; Composite #1; Kleine Figuren #2; Planet Hopping On A Thursday Afternoon; GPS #1; News? No News!; GPS#2; Berlin 9:35; Airtight.

Personnel: Steve Swell: trombone; Gebhard Ullmann: tenor saxophone, bass clarinet; Hilliard Greene: bass; Barry Altschul: drums.

Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Jazzwerkstatt Berlin-brandenburg E.v. | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read Desire & Freedom CD/LP/Track Review Desire & Freedom
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 19, 2017
Read On Hollywood Boulevard CD/LP/Track Review On Hollywood Boulevard
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Motorman's Son CD/LP/Track Review The Motorman's Son
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "Migration" CD/LP/Track Review Migration
by Budd Kopman
Published: July 20, 2016
Read "Pole Of Inaccessibility" CD/LP/Track Review Pole Of Inaccessibility
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 20, 2017
Read "Sunday Night At The Vanguard" CD/LP/Track Review Sunday Night At The Vanguard
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 18, 2016
Read "Vortex Generation Mechanisms" CD/LP/Track Review Vortex Generation Mechanisms
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 25, 2016
Read "A Cut Through The Heart" CD/LP/Track Review A Cut Through The Heart
by Jack Gold-Molina
Published: March 30, 2016
Read "Binary & Mysteries of the Deep" CD/LP/Track Review Binary & Mysteries of the Deep
by Troy Dostert
Published: October 20, 2016

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!