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Album Review

Gebhard Ullmann “The Big Band Project” [Black Saint]

cujo   12/7/2006   CD, Jazz

Music built on the ruins of swing, brought to you by reedmann Ullmann. He gets the reins of the NDR Big Band in fresh arrangements of some of his signature tunes, including two arranged by Satoko Fujii. Gebby’s saxes often get outnumbered and cut down in the crossfire: Wilkommen zu Big Bands! This is not to ill effect though; the ensemble manages to shine. About half the tracks are as easy as Glenn Miller (that is, if Miller were alive today and writing his style with a 21st century bent). The more happening tracks are what make the album recommendable. There’s a fun self-collapsing walking bassline in T? Lam which pervades it throughout in various dimunitions. Stephan Diez’s electric guitar shines briefly in D. Nee No. The final track is a long journey through the winds of the band as they swing their way through a slow blues number.

-Cujo, KFJC, December 2006

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