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splendid > reviews > 5/8/2004
Conference Call
Conference Call
Spirals: The Berlin Concert
482 Music


Format Reviewed: CD

Soundclip: "Comeuppance"

Buy me now
I don't know much about modern jazz and even less about improvisation, but I know what I like...and I'm not sure what I think about Conference Call. This "super-group", comprised of Gebhard Ullmann, Michael Jefry Stevens, Joe Fonda and George Schuller, will certainly remind most untrained ears of John Coltrane's late period histrionics. My own ears are untrained, and I found this live recording to be... erm... lively, if not consistent in its ability to entertain me. There are flashes of brilliance here that will be recognized by the numbest of skulls, particularly the sprightly outro to "Comeuppance". The cooler-than-you middle section of "Dreierlei" sort of reminds me of John Lurie's stuff, though I'm only mildly familiar with his work. The out-of-place political statements made in "Announcement" and "Three" derail the proceedings, though the subsequent "Translucent Tones (Gestalt in Three)" gets everything back on track, rolling out a lovely chime intro and a disarmingly beautiful section with brushed drums and a tittering piano line. The album ends with a manic crescendo in the dying breaths of "No Hazmats", but even the uninitiated (i.e. yours truly) have come to know that there is no other way to end this sort of exercise, and I rather enjoyed it.


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