Ughi, Federico Quartet (Ughi / Schug / Knuffke / Johnson)
Federico Ughi Quartet
Following Ornette Coleman's 2 horn, bass & drum lineup, Italian/NY drummer Federico Ughi leads his quartet with David Schung (sax), Kirk Knuffke (cornet) & Max Johnson (bass) through 10 Coleman-inspired works of melodic free playing, excellent works of modern jazz.
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Catalog ID: FMR 344-1112
Squidco Product Code: 17438
Country: Great Britain
Recorded at Tedesco Studios, Paramus, New Jersey on September 9th, 2011.
David Schnug-alto saxophone
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1. Quantunque 4:16
2. Song for Charles 3:39
3. Letter A 6:14
4. Technicolor 6:05
5. Ange 6:25
6. Second Day Syndrome 4:55
7. Line 5:14
8. Circled Square 4:09
9. May 3:38
10. Wearing a Wire? 4:06
NY Downtown & Jazz/Improv
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Melodic and Lyrical Jazz
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"The Federico Ughi Quartet is part of the lineage that continues to emerge from saxophonist Ornette Coleman. Ughi's work embodies a range of disparate influences, including classical music and Italian folk tunes, but in the quartet's eponymous release Ughi pays homage to Coleman's spiritual, philosophical, and musical influence. The quartet even mirrors Coleman's archetypal two-horn-bass-drums lineup, in this case David Schnug on alto sax, Kirk Knuffke on cornet, Max Johnson on bass and, of course, Ughi on drums.
The group also follows Coleman's lead through blending the composed and the improvised. The dance between these two streams has intrigued-nay, haunted-jazz musicians from the inception of this music, but after years of hard work Ughi has discovered his own balance. He has also found skilled players to help realize his vision; this group plays together frequently, putting in the time and commitment necessary to create the one-mind so vital to improvisational cohesion.
The essential magic in Ughi's music, however, comes from the heart. The sincerity and emotional timbre of his compositions are always palpable, whether the songs are upbeat or contemplative. "Quantunque" is a bright, bouncy piece where bending notes and moments of dissonance mingle happily with the melody. It's a sparkling tune, joyful and welcoming, and a terrific way to start off the recording. "Second Day Syndrome" is a warm, majestic song that features powerful unison work between Schnug and Knuffke. It's a pleasure to witness such spot-on front line playing, with rich energy reminiscent of classic Blue Note recordings. A fresh tune with, appropriately, many colors, the jaunty opening statement of "Technicolor" teeters on chaos, but then slows down and offers a lilting melody line infused with folk music. The song shifts moods often and displays a host of off-kilter colorations, but its vigorous drive and innate lyricism hold all the elements together beautifully.
The group also excels on ballads. The spare "Song for Charles" is a moving portrait with exquisitely sinuous notes. There's a wonderful improvised conversation between the two horns, with Ughi's drums simmering in the background and Johnson's emotive arco bass providing powerful support. And "Ange" is just gorgeous, a pensive tune with a whiff of melancholy. The horns are particularly impressive here, with Schnug digging deep into a bluesy solo and Knuffke expressing a yearning from the soulful depths.
This is the quartet's first release, and altogether it's a beauty. Ughi's name is usually linked with his illustrious mentors-including Coleman, bassist William Parker, and multi-instrumentalist Daniel Carter-but these days he stands alone as a fine musician in his own right, with this group just another shining example of his strengths."-Florence Wetzel, All About Jazz
Get additional information at All About Jazz
• Show Bio for Max Johnson
"Max Johnson is a bassist, composer and bandleader based in New York City. Known for his big sound, eclectic style and prolific output, Johnson has made a name in both the jazz and improvised music world, playing with legendary luminaries Anthony Braxton, John Zorn, Muhal Richard Abrams, among others, in addition to becoming a first call bluegrass bassist, playing with legends Sam Bush, David Grisman, the Traveling McCourys & Tony Trischka. With 6 albums, and over fifteen hundred concerts under his belt, Johnson has proven to be an unparalleled force on the bass, and a unique, exhilarating voice as a composer.
Growing up in Hoboken, New Jersey, Johnson learned about music at an early age from his father, Glenn Johnson, drummer/composer of the band Leisure Class. At age 13, Max took up the electric bass, and after performing with local bands in Montclair, NJ, he joined the School of Rock in 2004, where he had the incredible opportunity to tour internationally and perform with Jon Anderson, John Wetton, the Butthole Surfers, Adrian Belew, Vernon Reid, Andrew W.K., Ronnie Spector, Jeff "Skunk" Baxter and a long list of others. Johnson then attended the New School for Jazz & Contemporary Music in 2008, where he studied bass with masters Henry Grimes, Mark Helias, Reggie Workman, Cameron Brown & Marji Danilow; and composition with Jane Ira Bloom, Tim Berne & Bill Kirchner. While studying there, he began performing professionally in New York City, building a name for himself as a bassist and bandleader in the improvised music world, and a first call bass player in the bluegrass scene. Johnson continued his education at Vermont College of Fine Arts, where he recieved his Master's degree in classical composition under Jonathan Bailey Holland, John Mallia and Roger Zahab.
Although young in age, Johnson has already crafted a unique sound and vision as an improviser, and is rich in experience, having performed with John Zorn, Anthony Braxton, Muhal Richard Abrams, Nels Cline, Candido Camero, Henry Grimes, William Parker, Butch Morris, Karl Berger, Bobby Sanabria, Sylvie Courvoisier, Erik Friedlander, Mary Halvorson, Joseph Jarman, Kenny Wollesen, Elliott Sharp, Angelica Sanchez, and many others. As a bassist with a non-stop touring schedule, Johnson has performed over one thousand concerts throughout North America and Europe, including top festivals and performing arts centers such as Lincoln Center, the United Nations, Lollapalooza, Quebec City Festival, Bern Jazz Festival, and many others. Max Johnson has been featured as a sideman on over twenty-five recordings, including the platinum-selling Night Castle by Trans-Siberian Orchestra.
An active bandleader, Max Johnson has six records to his name: Elevated Vegetation (FMR), The Invisible Trio & Something Familiar (Fresh Sound-New Talent), featuring Kirk Knuffke on cornet & Ziv Ravitz on drums; The Prisoner (NoBusiness) featuring Ingrid Laubrock, Mat Maneri & Tomas Fujiwara; and Quartet (NotTwo), with Mark Whitecage on alto saxophone and clarinet, Steve Swell on trombone, and Tyshawn Sorey on drums. Big Eyed Rabbit, his collaborative trio with Ross Martin and Jeff Davis, also released their debut album in 2014, Big Eyed Rabbit (NotTwo). His albums have been positively reviewed in the New York Times, NYC Jazz Record, JazzTimes, and other publications. El Intruso International Critic's Poll voted Max Johnson #1 Newcomer Musician in the 2012, and #2 Bassist and #4 Musician of the year in their 2014 poll."-Max Johnson Website (http://www.maxjohnsonmusic.com/biography.html)
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