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Gebhard Ullmann: Basement Research
Gebhard Ullmann / Tony Malaby / Drew Gress / Steve Swell / Hamid Drake
With 'Basement Research' Gebhard Ullmann introduced his first production for the italo/american label Soul Note. Four of the most interesting individualists out of the new generation of contemporary jazz players realize their very personal and intense musical ideas.
The CD has been widely critically acclaimed and been listed on the college radio jazz charts for several months. The second CD 'Kreuzberg Park East' (with E. Eskelin, D. Gress, P. Haynes) released on Soul Note in 2000 had even more impact in jazz circles.
After a European tour with Tony Malaby replacing Eskelin in 1999 and a 5-year pause 'basement research' will return in fall 2004 with a new quintet line-up featuring Steve Swell (trombone), Tony Malaby (tenor saxophone), Gebhard Ullmann (bassclarinet, tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, bassflute), Drew Gress (double bass, pedal steel guitar) and Hamid Drake (drums, percussion).
Tony Malaby - saxophone
Tony Malaby was born in Tucson, Arizona. In 1990 he moved to New Jersey, and began working with Joey DeFrancesco, the "Mingus Dynasty", Marty Ehrlich and the "Mingus Big Band". He returned to Arizona in 1992 to teach at Arizona State University. Since moving to New York in 1995 Malaby has become a regular member of groups led by Paul Motian, Fred Hersch, Bobby Previte, Tim Berne, Marty Ehrlich, Mark Helias, Tom Varner, Mark Dresser, Michael Formanek, Angelica Sanchez and George Schuller.
Tony leads his own quartet "Sabino", featuring Michael Formanek, Tom Rainey, and Marc Ducret. Tony's first record as a leader "Sabino" was chosen as the New York times top ten jazz recordings 2000.
Drew Gress - bass, pedal steel
Drew Gress was born in Trenton, New Jersey 1959. He has performed extensively with artists on the cutting edge of contemporary improvised music. His latest project as a leader, "Spin & Drift" (Premonition), features Drew's original compositions, as well as his pedal steel guitar playing. he also leads the quartet "Jagged Sky". Their debut recording, "Heyday" (Soul Note) was released in 1998 to widespread critical acclaim. Previously, he was a founding member of the cooperative quartet "Joint Venture", producing three albums for Enja in the early 1990s.
When not leading his own ensembles he can be heard with the "Dave Douglas String Group" and "Witness", "Uri Caine's Bach Project" and "Trio", the "Don Byron Quintet", "Tim Berne's Paraphrase", the "Fred Hersch Trio", "Andy Laster's Hydra", the "Marc Copland Trio" a.o.
Drew has toured north, south, and central America, Europe and Asia, and has served as artist-in-residence at St. Petersburg Conservatory in Russia and at the University of Colorado-Boulder. He has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and Meet The Composer, and currently resides in New York.
Steve Swell - trombone
Born in Newark, New Jersey, Steve Swell has been living, working and performing in New York City for most of his adult life. In an effort to find his own voice on his instrument and to learn to write and arrange in a style of his own, he has sought out, performed and recorded with many of the finest composers and improvisers in the city. He has recorded and toured with such diverse jazz personalities as mainstreamers Lionel Hampton and Buddy Rich, to so-called outsiders like Anthony Braxton and Jemeel Moondoc. Swell has four recordings as a leader and is a featured artist on more than thirty-five other releases.
Even though he is strongly identified with the "downtown scene", Swell has been developing his style in the more so-called "traditional avant-garde" arena. Co-leading such projects as "Space, Time, Swing" with Perry Robinson, being a sideman in William Parker's "Little Huey Creative Music Orchestra" and working with other similar people has kept him on this circuit.
His newest CD, 'unified theory of sound, this now' featuring Jemeel Moondoc, Cooper-Moore, Wilber Morris, Kevin Norton and Matt LaVelle, was released on the Cadence label in march 2003. Swell was a featured soloist in Anthony Braxton's opera, 'Shala fears for the poor'.
Dave McElfresh of Jazz Now wrote in a review of drummer Lou Grassi's CD, PoGressions, " Swell's powerful trombone zooms in and out of the music like a plane diving at a target. Players like himself - and music like this - are to be thanked for the revival of interest in the instrument."
"Steve is unquestionably a trombone player; he attacks and exploits the instrument's peculiarities as a race car driver would a Ferrari." --Jazz Now Magazine
Hamid Drake - drums, perc
Perhaps the city's most exciting percussionist, The New York Times recently raved about Drake's ability to incorporate pattern-based drumming into free jazz. "But," says Chicago Reader critic Neil Tesser, "this skill probably isn't as important to his success... as his deep swing and extraordinary ear for shading and color." Peter Margasak (Chicago Reader) adds that Drake "can play anywhere from deep in the pocket to way out in space."
Now touring and recording all over the world, and in constant demand he has provided deftly inventive rhythmic support to forward-thinking musicians such as Peter Brötzmann, Marilyn Crispell, Johnny Dyani, Hassan Hakmoun, Herbie Hancock, Joseph Jarman, George Lewis, Sabir Mateen, Joe McPhee, Jim Pepper, William Parker, Dewey Redman, Pharoah Sanders, Wayne Shorter, Foday Musa Suso, John Tchicai, Malachi Thompson, Ken Vandermark, fellow percussionist Michael Zerang, and almost all the members of the A.A.C.M. with these diverse artists.
He is comfortable from reggae to world music to free jazz. Played (with Jim Baker's trio) at the 1996 Chicago Jazzfest, and an afternoon set with the DKV trio at the 1999 'Fest. Check out especially the semiannual solstice celebrations with fellow rhythmatist Michael Zerang which have been going on since 1991 -- warning, tickets now sell out long in advance. You can hear a small fraction of his collaboration -- albeit a studio take of a suite dedicated to Edward Blackwell -- with Drake on the 1996 Okka Disk release "Ask the Sun".
Playing in a broad range of musical settings, Hamid comfortably adapts to North and West African and Indian impulses, as well as reggae and latin, American jazz, musics from all over the African diaspora.
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