, by the band Conference Call, sounds, on the set's opening tune, "F.J.D.," like a bunch of guys who might mug you: a brash, turbulent, confrontational crowd with a "we-don't-take-no-mess-from-nobody" approach to making music. Credit reedman Gebhard Ullmann
with his grouchy, working-man-roused-from-his-afternoon-nap tenor sax sound, and the powerful bass (which you can feel in your bones) of Joe Fonda
, accompanied by the aggressive clamor of, Dieter Ulrichthe group's third drummer in its twenty year tenurealong with pianist Michael Jefry Stevens
' percussive whirlwind machinations. It is an opening salvo which grabs the ear.
The title tune turns away from the tempestuousness; a brooding, late night soundUllman's tenor sounding rich and mellowgives off an introspective vibe, featuring pianist Stevens in an exploration of delicacy and nuance, while drummer Ulrich whispers, and Fonda lays down a forcefully patient bass solo.
The Fonda-penned "Listen to Dr. Cornell West" features Ullman on bass clarinet, sounding as adamant as he does on tenor sax. Fonda and Ullrich craft a subterranean volcanic activity backdrop, while Stevenssounding just this side of madcapmakes an ongoing soundtrack of bird flock bursts, until Ullman and Fonda get themselves involved in a contentious conversation that shifts, as the full quartet comes back, into (near) straight-ahead territory on a consonant groove.
Conference Call, with its two decades of playing togetheronly the drum chair has changed in that timehas developed an intense yet approachable free jazz sound. It is a true collective, all members contributing compositions, closing with the relatively placid Joe Fonda tune, "The Bee," a dark and moody piece, followed by Gebhard Ullman's beautifully lugubrious "Zeit Lupe."
F.J.D.; Prism; Listen to Dr. Cornell West; Variation on a Master Plan; Sal’s Song; The Bee; Zeit Lupe.