272

Gebhard Ullmann: Variations on a Master Plan

Kurt Gottschalk By

Sign in to view read count
Gebhard Ullmann: Variations on a Master Plan It’s probably obvious to say that German saxophonist Gebhard Ullmann’s master plan is to keep jazz alive, but it’s hard not to draw such a conclusion from his new quartet record. The title seems an obvious take on the classic Pharoah Sanders piece and the music within follows Ullmann’s history of working the tradition like a lump of clay, stretching and molding it but retaining the essential material.

Ullmann’s bands are generally split between New York and European players, drawing heavily from the Berlin scene. He has worked with Phil Haynes, Andreas Willers, Ellery Eskelin, Drew Gress and Matt Wilson among others in the past. Here he adds Dutch drummer Han Bennink to a group with longtime collaborator Joe Fonda (exclusively on bass for this session) and pianist Michael Jefry Stevens. The band is solid, with all but Bennink contributing to the songbook, and adding a Debussy theme and a short piece by Nino Rota (most known for his Fellini and spaghetti western soundtracks). The surprise here is the drummer. Bennink is a great percussionist whose onstage antics are a large part of the ICP Orchestra’s charismatic shows. His rolls and sudden bursts are recognizable, but he seems to be content to be a timekeeper for this live recording.

The material is moody and evocative, from the lyricism of Ullman’s Debussy arrangement and Stevens’ appropriately titled "Quiet" to Fonda’s upbeat "Circle" and the driving explorations of the one fully improvised piece. It may not have the sweeping sense of purpose of some of the leader's previous work, notably the reed octet on Ta Lam Zehn , another live recording issued by Leo, but Ullman is dextrous on bass clarinet and tenor and soprano saxophones, and the group comes together for a strong survey.

Track Listing: 1. Quiet 10:45 2. Circle 8:57 3. Variations on a Theme By Claude Debussy 13:50 4. Parlami Di Me 2:54 5. Improvisation, No. 2 7:17 6. Song for My Mother 3:29

Personnel: Han Bennink - drums; Gebhard Ullmann - bass clarinet, soprano sax, tenor sax; Michael Jefry Stevens - piano; Joe Fonda - bass.

Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Leo Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Speechless CD/LP/Track Review Speechless
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Holiday On Fire CD/LP/Track Review Holiday On Fire
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Calvins Toboggan CD/LP/Track Review Calvins Toboggan
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Silent Light CD/LP/Track Review Silent Light
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 27, 2017
Read PausaLive CD/LP/Track Review PausaLive
by Patrick Keyes
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Adam's Apple CD/LP/Track Review Adam's Apple
by Greg Simmons
Published: April 26, 2017
Read "Shapes" CD/LP/Track Review Shapes
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: August 24, 2016
Read "Ocean of Storms" CD/LP/Track Review Ocean of Storms
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 4, 2017
Read "Time on My Hands" CD/LP/Track Review Time on My Hands
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 10, 2016
Read "The Caustic Ballads" CD/LP/Track Review The Caustic Ballads
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 27, 2016
Read "Signature" CD/LP/Track Review Signature
by Chris Mosey
Published: August 17, 2016
Read "All The Dreams" CD/LP/Track Review All The Dreams
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 12, 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!