Sometimes artists write a far better review of their work than critics ever could. The David Ullmann Quintet features guitarist David Ullmann and a first call set of musicians that make Falling one of the sleepers of the year for 2012. Ullmann's most apt description of his feelings for Falling are indeed the perfect review for some of the more enticing original guitar voicing one will hear. Ullmann has been working the Big Apple for well over a decade and has gone outside of his comfort zone with a more open ended improvisational exploratory and quite simply one of the most dynamic voices for the guitar this year.
His second release as a leader is made up of seven improvisational gems, originals where the group dynamic pushes Ullmann to harmonic heights unmatched by most guitarists you may have heard. A passionate and virtual three dimensional sound finds "When" leading off this most inspired work. Saxophonist Karel Ruzicka Jr. along with vibe phenom Chris Dingman seem to play follow the leader of intensity with Ullmann. The group is only as strong as the weakest link and there are none with "Gesture" which gently unfolds with a lyrical progression that borders on the addictive and should favor heavily in the modern jazz circles where old school and new cool meet as one. "Cycles" leads off with saxophonist Ruzicka Jr. and is anchored by a rock solid rhythm section of Gary Wang on bass and Vinnie Sperrazza on drums. Sperrazza may well be Dave Weckle first blood part two while Chris Dingman has just raised the bar that some vibe players insist on limboing under. Ullmann plays with a quite yet lyrically intense flavor of single note runs with an infectious harmonic sense of purpose. The ambient sense of musical motion borders on the addictive.
Some insist much like the more contemporary instrumental scene there is not much new on the horizon for modern jazz. David Ullmann's tune "Reckon" may well be the future of modern jazz. Contemporary yet classic with a delightful group dynamic only heightened with the improvisational skills of Ullmann. From the professional player to the six string aficionado, one would have to look hard and take hypercritical to another level to find fault with literally anything on this recording. As an instrumentalist or composer, Ullmann ranks at the very top of the list of guitarists to keep an eye on!
Tracks: When; March; Gesture; Second Chance; Falling; Cycles; Reckon.
Personnel: David Ullmann: guitar; Chris Dingman: vibes; Gary Wang: bass; Karel Ruzicka Jr.: saxophone; Vinnie Sperrazza: drums.