Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

The Ullman Swell 4: News? No News!

JazzTimes may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. JazzTimes does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting JazzTimes.

The second album for this quartet, News? No News? is at once rip-roaring and reflective. Reedist Gebhard Ullman and trombonist Steve Swell establish equally strong musical main characters. The title list alternates between compositions created by either Ullman or Swell. Two tracks are attributed to all four members of the group, filled out with bassist Hillard Greene and drummer Barry Altschul.

Crucial to this record is the balance among rhythm changes, congruence and multi-directionality. The front end of the record begins with straightforward unison choruses from the two horns which return throughout the mainline improvisation. By the close of the third track, Swell’s “Composite #1,” the band enters into a swing zone, which quickly sours out with the tenor sound, but after a drum interlude ends in synchronous trombone-tenor choruses. Swell’s “Planet Hopping on a Thursday Afternoon” continues both the pulse and synchronicity but integrates individual instrumental avenues of expression. Ullman’s pieces manifest a narrative approach, for instance, in “New York 5:50” and “Berlin 9:35,” which allows the horn players to open up their ornamental frolic.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published