The Chicago Plan equates to a strategic plan, evidenced by these magnetic and invigorating works by reedman Gebhard Ullmann (Berlin), trombonist Steve Swell (New York City) and Chicagoans, drummer Michael Zerang and cellist / electronics-ace Fred Lonberg-Holm. Recorded in Chicago, the musicians were seemingly immersed in the Windy City's cutting- edge jazz and improvisational forces that may have hovered over the studio like a guiding spirit.
Here, some of the best and brightest live up to, or perhaps exceed expectations on this multifaceted set that offers a contrasting track list. They gel to an edgy and quasi-experimental New Orleans tinted bump and grind on the broadly based opener "Variations On A Master Plan (Part 3)." And kick off "Composite 10" with Zerang's poetic, polytonal drum vamp, leading to the hornists' diametric phrasings, densely articulated conversations and emotive solo spots. But the plot thickens on "Rule #1: Make Sure You Can Play Your Own Tune," which is designed with a complex and regimented unison free-bop pattern that is instigated by the drummer's fierce support and heightened by Swell and Ullmann's fluid solos. Hence, the quartet delves into scorching cadenzas amid a few nicely placed lulls, etched out by Lonberg-Holm's angular arco notes.
The final piece "For Henry," progresses like a fractured dirge, yet weirdly lyrical and capped off by Swell's bluesy, barrelhouse lines and Ullmann's loping bass clarinet notes, where Zerang's rolling fills generate an expansive musical canvass. Other movements interspersed throughout the program are framed with hair-raising free-form sorties and a labyrinth of dips and spikes via an undulating current and the ever-present element of surprise. Thus, all the nuts, bolts and moving parts converge into a near-flawless outcome.
Track Listing: Variations On A Master Plan (Part 3); Composite 10; Variations Of A Master Plan
(Part 2); Rule #1: Make Sure You Can Play Your Own Tune; Déjà vu; For Henry.
Personnel: Gebhard Ullmann: tenor saxophone, bass clarinet; Steve Swell: trombone; Fred
Lonberg-Holm: cello, electronics; Michael Zerang: drums, percussion.
I was first exposed to Jazz when a couple of dear friends of mine turned me onto it around 1971. I was already into Progressive music, R n' B, Soul, Motown, Latin Rock and other styles that were a great ladder to Jazz
I was first exposed to Jazz when a couple of dear friends of mine turned me onto it around 1971. I was already into Progressive music, R n' B, Soul, Motown, Latin Rock and other styles that were a great ladder to Jazz.
Being a Musician myself, (Lead Guitar/Bass Guitar), I studied at the Dick Grove School of Music with Dick Grove, Jeff Richman and Lee Ritenour. This was around '84-'85. I started playing the Guitar in November 1967. Playing Guitar came quite naturally to me thank goodness. Though I spent hours upon hours practicing while my school buddies were doing Sports.
It was in the early '70s that I really got into Jazz, Jazz Rock, Jazz Fusion and World Music. Seeing Weather Report, Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, Larry Carlton, Steely Dan, John McLaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra, RTF, Herbie Hancock and the Headhunters, VSOP, Freddie Hubbard and so many, many more amazing artists opened my eyes to the beauty and eloquent nature of Jazz. I really love the brilliant ensemble playing that is in Jazz!!
When I play and write music, it blends so many style together. Many fans ask me why my playing sounds so jazzy. It's because I understand Blue Notes, the phrasing, the tonality, time signatures and more. I can also play Rock, Folk, Soul, R n' B and other styles too. I seem to gravitate more and more as I get older to a jazzier style. Currently I'm 62 years old. I have released 2 CDs world-wide. Working on my 3rd.
I also teach Guitar/Bass/Music Theory to my students. They range from 6 years old to much, much older. (I was hired by the City of Aurora, CO to teach ages 6-13 specifically). Currently I teach 41 children in 5 classes. Additionally another 7 private students.
My wife, Meesh, and I love Jazz dearly. It was one of the things that we share together!
Most of the people that I know today do not get jazz. I try to explain what to listen for, but many times the music of Jazz is a bit much for them. So be it.
In a nutshell, I live, breath and listen to Music 24/7. No TV except the Food Channel and Weather.
I love John Kelman's articles. They are so insightful and well-constructed!
Thank you all for doing what you do.