All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

147

Conference Call: What About...?

Raul d'Gama Rose By

Sign in to view read count
It has been said that live music offers the composer the opportunity to add the final ingredient in the decoction of their creation: the audience. In the case of Conference Call's 2007 concert in Krakow, Poland, documented on the double-disc What About...?, there's the dramatic addition of completely spontaneous, improvisations by one or more of the fiercely creative quartet. It's also why the mercury rises fast and furious from the get-go; the musicians taking ownership of their evolving sound, as its dramaturgy remains rich, and full of blood, guts and naked emotion throughout. Not that the group wears its hearts on its sleeves, but this inventive music clearlyemerges directly from the artists' souls.

The soul does not disguise the feelings of nervy minds, not in the case of Conference Call, at any rate. Questions are asked: "What About the Future?" The answers are complex and probative, but always dazzling, like the assault of a myriad lights of a new city. Things look good: reedman Gebhard Ullmann's saxophone swings; drummer George Schuller's skins fibrillate, flashy and cock-sure; Joe Fonda's bass is grave and sonorous and roars from the depths; and pianist Michael Jefry Stevens is playful, his arpeggios skittering and tearing up the keys. Resolution is, at times, full of towering architecture and immediacy, while elsewhere, songs develop without the haste of arrival. Their enigma is held over until the audience is left gasping for breath. "After Life" is spread likewise over two burgeoning sections until it is brought to a dramatic close in "Part 3," on the second disc.

Yet not everything dallies, seemingly testing the wind with ideas, phrases and long loping lines. Some songs move more rapidly, searing the ears like brilliant flashes of speeding light. Again, their movement is anything but predictable, with "Circle" moving in waves. "Conference Call" is more elusive: at times, an oblique shout out to Steve Lacy; at other times a quick call to Heiner Stadler, at the time he was involved in his A Tribute to Monk and Charlie Parker (Tomato, 1978). History is well learned, and kept alive through dissonance and consonance. Heritage is playfully encountered in "Could This be a Polka," and then again, more pensively, in "Translucent Tones (Gestalt in Three)."

The collective sonic palette explored further in "Litmus" and "What About...?" is anything but uncertain, being, perhaps, the start of a new, elastic dialogue to add volumes to the literature of music. The poetics of music have been well preserved by Conference Call.

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 Postcard Collection CD/LP/Track Review
Postcard Collection
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 21, 2018
Read Der Dichter Spricht CD/LP/Track Review
Der Dichter Spricht
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: June 21, 2018
Read Dodecahedron CD/LP/Track Review
Dodecahedron
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 21, 2018
Read The Chopin Project CD/LP/Track Review
The Chopin Project
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 21, 2018
Read Walk The Walk CD/LP/Track Review
Walk The Walk
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: June 21, 2018
Read Grime Scene CD/LP/Track Review
Grime Scene
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 20, 2018
Read "Humanities" CD/LP/Track Review Humanities
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 30, 2018
Read "No Fast Food" CD/LP/Track Review No Fast Food
by Glenn Astarita
Published: June 6, 2018
Read "Daddy Said So" CD/LP/Track Review Daddy Said So
by Jim Worsley
Published: March 2, 2018
Read "Fela Is The Future" CD/LP/Track Review Fela Is The Future
by Chris May
Published: March 11, 2018
Read "Phrases" CD/LP/Track Review Phrases
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 12, 2018
Read "There'll Be Some Changes Made" CD/LP/Track Review There'll Be Some Changes Made
by Dr. Judith Schlesinger
Published: May 17, 2018