353

Conference Call: Poetry In Motion

Budd Kopman By

Sign in to view read count
Conference Call: Poetry In Motion

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.

Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Clean Feed Records


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Transparent Water CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Billows Of Blue CD/LP/Track Review Billows Of Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Love Dance CD/LP/Track Review Love Dance
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Honest Woman CD/LP/Track Review Honest Woman
by James Nadal
Published: February 20, 2017
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 "The Linda Sessions" CD/LP/Track Review The Linda Sessions
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 30, 2016
Read "Ullr" CD/LP/Track Review Ullr
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 8, 2017
Read "Starer" CD/LP/Track Review Starer
by Glenn Astarita
Published: July 26, 2016
Read "Desire & Freedom" CD/LP/Track Review Desire & Freedom
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 14, 2016
Read "Live At The Troubadour 1969" CD/LP/Track Review Live At The Troubadour 1969
by Sacha O'Grady
Published: January 14, 2017
Read "Roma-Rio" CD/LP/Track Review Roma-Rio
by Tyran Grillo
Published: May 22, 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!