All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

93

Conference Call: What About...?

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
One of the finest improvising units working today, Conference Call is a complete band, capable of touching all the jazz bases, be they individual or group improvisation, or the performance of composed music. The quintet's sixth release, What About...? is a two-disc session from the band's 10th anniversary tour, and was recorded live at Alchemia in Krakow, Poland.

Conference Call's lineup has remained stable for the past three releases—since drummer George Schuller took a drum chair once held by Matt Wilson, Han Bennink, and Gerry Hemingway—and follows Poetry In Motion (Clean Feed, 2008) and past discs on Soul Note, 482 Music and Leo Records. This is the group's second live recording, allowing the band to stretch out and convey its music in an unhurried manner. The three-part "After Like" presents 32 minutes of group improvisation, across two discs. The band's instant creation covers multiple direction and moods, and allows for varied pairings and individual improvisations. The sweep of this music focuses on collective sound and the panoramas available those willing to take the journey.

Although the high energy pieces gel quite nicely, the more introspective tracks—"Translucent Tones (Gestalt In Three)" and "What About The Future?"—are the highlights of the set. The former moves with the snaking motion of Schuller's hand drumming, bells, and maracas, and the pinging of Stevens' piano, as Ullman brings forth some stately, solemn bass clarinet to set the mood. The latter piece finds Ullmann tracing his tenor saxophone against Fonda's bass, edging it into the upper register without breaking the mood. Both pieces are touchingly beautiful.

Elsewhere, Conference Call balances a left-handed bit of bebop with "Circle," with Ullman working out on soprano while Stevens rings out some chords that Thelonious Monk might have conceived. "Could This Be A Polka?" is just that, with a wry sense of old Europe, as the band crawls through the track, and stops and dissects it into solos by each player, before putting an exhausted polka to bed. Same for the crowd—undoubtedly exhausted, and quite happy.

Track Listing: After Like (Part 1); After Like (Part 2); What About The Future?; Circle; Conference Call; Litmus; After Like (Part 3); Could This Be A Polka?; Translucent Tones; What About...?

Personnel: Gebhard Ullmann: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, bass clarinet; Michael Jefry Stevens: piano; Joe Fonda: bass; George Schuller: drums, percussion.

Title: What About...? | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Not Two Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Interviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Seven: Live @ Firehouse 12

Seven: Live @...

Not Two Records
2014

buy
 

Seven (Live @...

Not Two Records
2013

buy
What About...?

What About...?

Not Two Records
2010

buy
 

What About The...????

Not Two Records
2010

buy
Poetry In Motion

Poetry In Motion

Clean Feed Records
2008

buy

Related Articles

Read 1538 CD/LP/Track Review
1538
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 19, 2018
Read Love Wins CD/LP/Track Review
Love Wins
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 19, 2018
Read 1538 CD/LP/Track Review
1538
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 19, 2018
Read Mutt Slang CD/LP/Track Review
Mutt Slang
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 19, 2018
Read Prisma CD/LP/Track Review
Prisma
by Ian Patterson
Published: June 19, 2018
Read Jazz Tango CD/LP/Track Review
Jazz Tango
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 18, 2018
Read "Infiltrators" CD/LP/Track Review Infiltrators
by Vitalijus Gailius
Published: December 26, 2017
Read "In The Shadow Of A Cloud" CD/LP/Track Review In The Shadow Of A Cloud
by John Kelman
Published: August 14, 2017
Read "My Singing Fingers" CD/LP/Track Review My Singing Fingers
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 25, 2018
Read "Everybody Loves Angels" CD/LP/Track Review Everybody Loves Angels
by Henning Bolte
Published: October 26, 2017
Read "My Picture" CD/LP/Track Review My Picture
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 13, 2017
Read "Deuce" CD/LP/Track Review Deuce
by Paul Rauch
Published: June 2, 2018