Full Circle Suite

Joe Fonda

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Full Circle Suite Review

by Steve Loewy

Bassist Joe Fonda has led some successful groups through the years that rely on a healthy mixture of cutting-edge compositions and free-style improvisation. Full Circle Suite is his best effort yet, in part due to a top-rate and extremely compatible quintet with Gebhard Ullmann on bass clarinet, Chris Jonas on soprano saxophone, Taylor Ho Bynum on trumpet, and Kevin Norton on drums. The music sizzles, with Bynum spitting phrases like a Singer sewing machine, the reeds interlocking, Norton powering the engine, and Fonda modestly, though diligently, holding it all together. Collective improvisation fades in and out, while individuals spring forth and fade and compositional lines emerge from the shadows. At times, there is the feel of Ornette's Free Jazz, but it is clearly stamped with Fonda's vision.

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