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Workshop Band

Artist: Ulrich Gumpert
Ulrich Gumpert - Workshop Band CD
Label: Jazzwerkstatt
Regular Price: $29.95
On Sale For: $14.98 
Year: 2008
Format: CD


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2-CD German import.
Reissue of FMP LPs #s 600 and 710 from 1978 and 1979 respectively. Featuring Ulrich Gumpert on piano, Heinz Becker on trumpet, Ernst-Ludwig Petrowky, Manfred Hering, Iri Antonow & Helmut Forsthoff (2nd disc only) on saxes & clarinet, Connie Bauer on trombone, Klaus Koch on double bass and Gunter "Baby" Sommer on drums. Now that I've got a copy of this gem in my hands, I realize that it is a reissue of two early FMP albums, long out-of-print and pretty rare. I only know of about half of the members of this fine nine-piece band, but I was knocked out nonetheless. Since checking out Ulrich Gumpert's other great disc on JazzWerkStatt called, 'Smell a Rat,' I've checked out his history. Mr. Gumpert can be heard on more than 20 albums performing solo, duos with Gunter Sommer & Steve Lacy, plus being a member of the great Zentralquartett.
The first disc is titled 'Unter Anderem: 'N Tango Fur Gitti' and was recorded in July of 1978. It starts with a march called "Marsch" and if you know the great Creative Orchestra Music record by Braxton, you know that even a march can be a great thing. Anyway, it features a cool drum solo, a siren and crafty arrangements. "Konigskindisch" is a joyous piece that keeps changing styles and features some great sax by Iri Antonow. I dig the way Ulrich splits the band up by having two themes going on at once, with an amazing solo by Heinz Becker on flugel. "Aus Baby's Wunderhorn" features some swaggering horns, burning freely in parts and eventually swinging hard. Bassist Klaus Koch sounds great throughout, sometimes burning furiously and always holding things together. The unstoppable, Connie Baurer, takes an incredible solo towards the end of the first side. The second long second side is even better with more powerful arrangements and playing in the Keith Tippett Group mode. Each of the three fines saxists gets a chance to take strong solos as do the trumpet and trombone players. Ulrich's inspired and at times crazed piano also keeps the rest of the rhythm team on their toes as they move though different sections. The recording is also consistently superb and perfectly balanced.

'Echos Von Karolinehof' was recorded in March of 1979 in Berlin with Helmut Forsthoff replacing Iri Antonow on tenor sax. It begins with "Hahnenkopf" an odd, sort of goofy piece that starts one way and soon moves into some intense free and furious space. Although there are free sections, the entire piece does sound well worked out in advance with some selectively placed charts. "Septettfragment" has some monstrous, blasting horns, but again is balanced by more somber written sections with some eerie drones floating on top. Perhaps it is Helmut Forsthoff's burning, bent-toned tenor that is featured on this piece - I'm not sure who it is, just that it is amazing. On "Blau Blusen Blues," the trombone and sax both solo at the same time while the rest of the band burns underneath. The rich horn harmonies on the title track are again inspired and most memorable. The final piece begins sparsely with haunting cymbals and distant vocal sounds and includes bent vocalized horn sounds, tight conducted blasts and a great deal of unexpected twists and turns. Overall, it is indeed a magnificent work that takes us places we never thought we would end up in. Special thanks to JazzWerkStatt for unleashing these two little known early FMP LP treasures. - BLG
Ulrich Gumpert (piano); Heinz Becker (trumpet, flugelhorn); Manfred Hering (alto and tenor sax); Ernst-Ludwig Petrowsky (soprano and alto sax, clarinet); Iri Antonow (tenor sax); Helmut Forsthoff (tenor sax); Conrad Bauer (trombone); Klaus Koch (double bass); Gunter Baby Sommer (drums)
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