Title: Basement Research Live in Münster
By: Gebhard Ullmann / Tony Malaby / Drew Gress / Phil Haynes
Released in: 2006
Catalog No: MW 773-2
Price : 12 EUR
1. Blaues Lied [11:57]
2. Basement Research [02:19]
3. Kreuzberg Park East [11:00]
4. Farbiges Lied [05:46]
5. T.T. Walk [07:45]
6. New No Ness [14:02]
Gebhard Ullmann - tenoe & soprano saxes, bass clarinet
Tony Malaby - tenor sax
Drew Gress - bass
Phil Haynes - drums
If it's possible to have a super-group in a musical form as marginalized as contemporary, left-field jazz, then conference call is a pretty good contender ... the quartet sounds like a band with one foot firmly in the paris/chicago axis of the late-60s BYG avantgarde sound and another keeping up to date with the tuneful, exploratory freedom of wayne shorter's recent celebrated quartet. ask yourself this: is there anything about that equation that doesn't sound like a good thing ?
(Daniel Spicer in one final note about "live at the outpost performance space", June 2006)
Few improvising artists can boast the stream of creative ideas that seem to bubble from gebhard ullmann. ullmann focuses on the fundamentals of improvised jazz: melody, sound, syncopation and technical excellence, but what makes his writing and playing so successful is his seemingly never-ending innovative nature: without grasping for neoteric straws, ullmann's performances are grounded in the past but plunge forward deliberately toward modernity. ullmann leaves the strong mark of a disciplined sculptor of sound, who speaks his own compelling language.
(Steven Loewy in cadence magazine, march 2006)
Basement Research's third CD comes in the wake of Gebhard Ullmann's 50th birthday. The band got started with Ellery Eskelin on tenor saxophone in 1993, before Tony Malaby replaced him in 1999—and thus Malaby appears on this live recording from that year. Ullmann is a man of many parts. He plays in several bands, all of them heavy hitters in the field of improvisation. What makes them potent is the way they essay improvisation into stimulating processes, constantly shifting and finding interesting tangents. This record proves that conclusively as the quartet takes Ullmann's compositions and turns them into a memorable adventure. The four players get off to a sparring start as they weave rings around each other in the quiet introspection on "Blaues Lied, before they find the blues. The pace continues to be sombre: Ullmann takes the tune out on the tenor saxophone, laying the melody open and bringing in dramatic turns and twists. He forges new ideas on the go as he changes pitch and direction. When Malaby comes in, the atmosphere opens up and the two horns shoot some tensile lines, which evaporate as Malaby traverses new territory with a cogent solo on the melody. Ideas continue to germinate as the recording proceeds. Ullmann moves to the bass clarinet on "Kreuzberg Park East. Shifts of time herald this tune, where Ullmann and Malaby engage in spirited exchanges that heat up as they go along. There is never a dull moment as the tension of the horns is leavened by the space created by bassist Drew Gress and drummer Phil Haynes, flexing the rhythm with light accents. "New No Ness is a happy romp with Ullmann on the soprano, unfurling light and airy spirals. Malaby comes out and swings before he goes into an open-ended improvisatory run and cues in Ullmann and Gress, who cast intrigue with their turn of pace and direction. It is here that the Ullmann flips the tune into calmer waters; he churns the mix with darting lines before the group gets back together and rollicks off into the night.
(Jerry D'Souza. AllAboutJazz)
Featuring Gebhard Ullmann on tenor & soprano saxes & bass clarinet, Tony Malaby on tenor sax, Drew Gress on bass and Phil Haynes on drums. One of the things that make this disc and quartet so special is the often warm and well-matched playing of both saxists. The other great quality is the consistently strong composing and spirited playing throughout. Well done.