In jazz, it is not unusual that a new creative approach begins with the band’s instrumentation. Through iconic pianist Paul Bley’s recommendation, the German saxophonist, bass clarinetist and flutist Gebhard Ullmann began his collaboration with Soul Note, the prestigious Italian jazz label that had won the Down Beat “best record label” category six times in the 1980’s. His first record for Soul Note was in New York in 1993. For this recording, Ullmann did away with a chordal instrument and instead formed a quartet consisting of himself along with a tenor saxophonist, bassist and drummer, three American musicians who just happened to be playing on the cutting edge of the new music. Ullmann's transatlantic collaboration proved to be influential in setting up his pioneering musical style, and grew into one of his most important projects. He continued to refine the group sound, making sure that the power of the music was not diluted by the intrusion of competitive horns attempting to out-play one another. His compositional concepts have a Mingus-like quality, as he intertwines divergent voices and conceptually oriented musical commentaries into thoughtful solos all rapped into the band context. Ullmann has continued to refine and develop his concept; now we have the unusual constellation with three wind instruments that tend to play at the bottom range of the register: Tenor saxophone/bass clarinet, trombone and baritone saxophone.
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