Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

353

Conference Call: Poetry In Motion

Budd Kopman By

Sign in to view read count


The creation of a work of art is an act of the mind that controls and shapes the medium's components in order to project the artist's sense of life and elicit a reaction from the consumer. In its highest forms, jazz might sound instinctive, but the reality is that years of practice have pushed the physical into the background and honed the mind to work exceedingly fast. A player entering "the zone" has not stopped thinking, but has dissolved the boundary between mind and body.



Poetry In Motion, by the collective group Conference Call, deserves to be considered as one of the year's best for the simple reason that its balance of thought and emotion, structure and freedom, clarity and abandon, is exquisitely and transparently laid out. Regardless of who composed any particular tune, providing a distinctive voice, the group acts as an organic unit, with the total sound becoming more than the sum of its parts.



In the notes, pianist Michael Jefry Stevens relates how he met reedman Gebhard Ullmann ten years earlier, with the two deciding to form a group. Stevens brought in his long-time musical partner, bassist Joe Fonda  of the Fonda/Stevens Group. The drum chair has changed over the years, but seems to have settled down with George Schuller, who appeared on Spirals. The Berlin Concert (482 Music, 2004).



Stevens goes on to say how this studio recording bookends three live albums with the group's first album, and how being one of four strong—and very different—composes and players creates "an extremely and exciting musical experience both on the bandstand and in the studio."

Of the album's seven tracks, each member contributes two, except for one by Schuller. The overall mood is one of dark mystery and beauty mixed with a bit of danger (and humor) supported by a pent-up, controlled power which can explode at any time. While each of the tunes has a different kind of architecture, the structure surrounding the freedom, along with its development, is very audible.
 
The music is so strong from the first pedal point notes and bass squeals of Ullmann's "The Shining Star," that the stage is set for high drama, creating its own reality. The excitement reaches a fever pitch with the central, and longest track by Fonda, ”Next Step," which begins with a driving rhythmic pattern on the drums that is picked up by Fonda. Ullmann enters on bass clarinet to play the eerie theme and the band is off. Toward the end, Fonda takes a vicious solo on which he can be heard grunting and vocalizing his lines—a truly inspiring track.
 
As he states in the notes, Stevens has every reason to be proud of Poetry In Motion. It is a triumph from any angle.
 


 


Track Listing: The Shining Star; Poetry in Motion; The Path; Next Step; Back To School; Quirky Waltz; Desert... Bleue... East.

Personnel: Gebhard Ullmann: soprano and tenor saxophones, bass clarinet; Michael Jefry Stevens: piano; Joe Fonda: double bass; George Schuller: drums, percussion and hammer whistle.

Title: Poetry In Motion | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Clean Feed Records


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read "Is It Me...?" CD/LP/Track Review Is It Me...?
by Edward Blanco
Published: April 25, 2017
Read "The Long Journey Home" CD/LP/Track Review The Long Journey Home
by James Nadal
Published: March 17, 2017
Read "The Picasso Zone" CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read "Off Beat" CD/LP/Track Review Off Beat
by Mark E. Gallo
Published: August 9, 2017
Read "Calvins Toboggan" CD/LP/Track Review Calvins Toboggan
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: April 27, 2017
Read "Lionsong" CD/LP/Track Review Lionsong
by David A. Orthmann
Published: April 18, 2017

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!

Please support out sponsor