Spirals: The Berlin Concert

Conference Call

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Spirals: The Berlin Concert Review

by Scott Yanow

Conference Call is a quartet comprised of adventurous and versatile musicians, each of whom are also talented composers. For their Berlin concert, Conference Call mostly plays the first "three" lengthy compositions continuously. The episodic music includes some stirring sections to "Dreierlei" (although it ends inconclusively) and a memorable tango, "Little Pet's Diner," that is always close to the edge. Gebhard Ullmann is fine on bass clarinet and soprano but particularly expressive on tenor. "The Announcement" is a rant against the invasion of Iraq by the U.S. and "Three" continues the mood with a verbal improvisation leading into some violent group interplay. The quiet "Translucent Tones" (with Ullmann on bass clarinet) is an effective contrast and precedes the intense "No Hazmats." All in all, this is a stimulating date and nearly everything works, with each of the musicians (who include pianist Michael Jefry Stevens, bassist Joe Fonda, and drummer George Schuller) having their feature spots.

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