Gebhard Ullmann Clarinet Trio

 Kupke(cl) Michael
 Thieke (acl) Gebhard
 Ullmann (bcl)

”4″ leo records 2012
”ballads and related objects” leo records 2004
”translucent tones” leo records 2002
”the clarinet trio. oct.1, ’98” leolab 1999

new youtube videos from a concert in st.petersburg:

the downbeat about the trio’s performance at the vancouver jazz festival 2002:

” germany’s gebhard ullmann clarinet 3 was one of the most rollicking small-groups of the festival. the clarinetists raced around each other’s upper-register counterpoint on material that ranged from film composer nino rota’s themes to an outrageous version of “tea for two.” the band proved that italian and dutch improvisers don’t have a european monopoly on humor.”

bruce gallanter (downtown music gallery, nyc 3/’12) about “4”

” each piece here is both fascinating and engaging and filled with all types of surprising twists and turns. each time i put this cd i keep hearing more and more great ideas. 51 minutes in length and completely solid.”

john eyles (allabout jazz, 3/’12) about the same cd

” admirers of the clarinet trio’s past albums will find just as much to enjoy here as before. new listeners can start here with confidence.”

alain drouot (downbeat 5/’12) about the same cd

” ‘4’ being arguably their best testimony to date, ullmann, kupke an thieke have reached a level of communication hard to surpass, which allows them to perform masterful acrobatics and instanteneous role-swaps. ”
quotes on the third cd “ballads and related objects”

” you might be forgiven for not expecting a trio of clarinetists to tear things up but the clarinet trio does just that and then some. ballads and related objects has chamber music precision, kaleidescopic arrangements, hot blowing, and dynamic overall pacing of ideas and intensities. as well as being adventurous, accessible, abstract and mysterious, their music grooves, too … ullmann’s tunes deliver plenty to get your neurons firing and foot tapping … highly recommended.” (glen hall, exclaim magazine, canada 3/’05)

” ballads and related objects is one of those works that make me appreciate the serendipity of jazz’s acquaintance with post schoenberg art music. ullmann, kupke and thieke combine to form a clarinet version of world saxophone quartet, complete with grooving vamps, post-tonal improvisation, metrically sophisticated compositions and preternaturally sensitive group dynamic. all three are serious chopsmeisters, but there’s nothing gratuitous about the way they exploit their virtuosity. as all-horn bands go, it doesn’t get much better than this.” (chris kelsey, jazz times usa 11/’05) 

” trilogues amusés, silences attendus, parcours sinueux, écriture profonde, complexe et d’une rare richesse harmonique: autant d’ingrédients pour construire un évenément à la hauteur des envies musicales grandissantes et en évolution constante du saxophoniste allemande gebhard ullmann.”
(sabine moig, jazzosphère, france 5/05)

quotes on the second cd “translucent tones” :

” this is a standout cd. a group which establishes a genre. no-one else will be able to play in this field without comparison with the ullmann clarinet 3″ (tim dorset, jazzreview, uk)

”…their latest effort rings like a comprehensive study in modern jazz clarinet/improvisational fare. a superb effort ! fervently recommended!”(glenn astarita, allabout jazz, usa)

” ausgeklügelt, klasse – und ein Dokument der moeglichkeiten des klarinettenspiels an sich.” (carina prange, berlin)

”…this trio has reached a peak. the ease of conversation is remarkable as the three make the complex arrangements flow effortlessly. highlights include both of ullmann’s “translucent tones”-they stand among his best compositions. the trio is witty, playful, tender when necessary and quite fun to listen to – no poise, no rigid concept, just three clarinets with an all-encompassing knowledge of their instrument’s legacy, led by a skilled avant-garde jazz composer.” (francois couture allmusicguide, usa)

steve day, avant magazine, uk about the first cd
”the clarinet trio, oct. 1, ’98” :

” oh boy, good news! calling michael moore and tony coe, here is some stuff to listen to which will be healthy for your digestive systems! two exclamation marks in as many sentences, i must be getting excited … what’s it like? 
it goes something like this: imagine the clusone trio were all clarinets, han bennink did not play drums but blew bassclarinet instead. imagine the great tony coe had finished hunting standards and was back in the business of experimentation for its own sake. perhaps also conceive of an art ensemble of chicago where famoudou don moye had gone on holidays and there are only clarinets left in the arsenal. or how about steve beresford cocktail club with clarinet accompaniment? well, take all that lot together and it is somewhere near where the clarinet trio have pitched their reeds. in other words this is fun music with serious intentions. music that moves between formal german classical song form, european “free” music values, blues and gospel, new composition and a little tin pan alley … 
what juergen kupke, gebhard ullmann and theo nabicht achieve on this october date is a bringing together of these varied forms so that they follow on from one another like an integrated suite of music. a totally joyous rendition of a “tea for two” which would have had all the cups spilling over and a need for a new table cloth is actually preceded by a “scratch” improvisation that takes each of the three clarinets to the outward bounds of the individual instruments capabilities. once the cups of tea are served, messers ullmann, kupke and nabicht do not give away the sharp experimentation of the previous piece, rather it is held in a kind of relief. likewise, “brywzc”, which follows the tea ceremony, is a dark, hollow incantation that is powerful in its restraint and purpose. the “suite” finishes with a quirky little waltz that at first does not seem to know whether to laugh or cry. in the end it does neither, instead our ears are led into the kind of epilogue that signs the trio off with a poignant flourish. i suppose ‘poignant flourish’ could be considered as a leap of genuine joy …”

roger fontanel, france :

” …en un mot, le choc libérateur et subversif des cultures”

Born on nov. 2, 1957 in bad godesberg, germany saxophonist (tenor and soprano), bass clarinetist, bass flutist and composer gebhard ullmann studied in hamburg and moved to berlin in 1983.
since then he has recorded about 40 cds as a leader/co-leader for prestigious labels such as blacksaint/soul note (italy), leo records (uk), between the lines (germany), 482 music (usa), songlines recordings (canada), cimp (usa), nottwo records (poland), jazzwerkstatt (germany), clean feed (portugal) and others.

he is considered one of the leading personalities in today’s berlin and international scenes and has received several awards for his work including the julius hemphill composition award (’99), the deutsche phonoakademie award (’83), one of the first swf jazz awards (’87) and the nomination “best jazz cd of the year” by the german schallplattenkritik for his cd “tá lam” in 1995. his cds “final answer”(2002) “the bigband project(2004) “new basement research” (2008) “news? no news!” (2010) “mingus!” (2011) “clarinet trio – 4” (2012) were all listed in downbeat magazine among the best cds of those years. the cd “transatlantic” received the prestigious choc of the french jazz magazine. since 2005 the downbeat critics poll listed him in the category rising star.

since 1993 ullmann was a recording artist for soul note and has been living in new york and berlin since. he has toured with his music throughout europe as well as africa, canada, new zealand, the usa, south east asia and mexico and performed on most of the world’s most prestigious jazz festivals.

ullmann’s working bands are: his working band basement research (with steve swell, julian arguelles, john hebert, gerald cleaver), the eleven-piece woodwind / accordion project tá lam, the cooperative band conference call (with michael jefry stevens, joe fonda and george schuller), the clarinet trio (with juergen kupke and michael thieke) the piano trio ullmann/lande/dahlgren(with art lande and chris dahlgren), the ullmann/swell 4 (with steve swell, hill greene and barry altschul), bassX3 (with clayton thomas and chris dahlgren) and the berlin quartet e und u mann(with daniel erdmann, johannes fink and christian lillinger). he recently also started a solo program (woodwinds and electronics), a duo program with singer almut kühne, the electro/acoustic trio ‘das kondensat’ (gebhard ullmann winds and looper/sampler, oli potratz bass and analog effects, eric schaefer drums and digital effects/sampler) and the quartet ‘gulf of berlin’ (with gerhard gschlössl tb and sousaphon, gebhard ullmann bcl and ts, johannes fink b, jan leipnitz dr)

he is also a member of george schuller’s ‘schulldogs’, the ‘guenter lenz springtime’, the ‘hannes zerbe orchestra’, joe fonda’s ‘bottom out’, the ‘scott dubois quartet’ and chris dahlgren’s ‘lexicon’. he works with spoken word artist sadiq bey in the nu jazz project ‘schwartzegeist / the sun ra project’ with poems of the great sun ra and appeared in several programs with the actor ‘otto sander’.

ullmann recorded or performed with paul bley, andy emler, han bennink, satoko fujii, william parker, barry altschul, herb robertson, marvin ‘smitty’ smith, laurent cugny, ellery eskelin, bob moses, keith tippett, frank gratkowski, sergeij starostin, tiger okoshi, bobby previte, ernst ludwig petrowsky, glen moore, trilok gurtu, ab baars, andreas willers, kevin norton, lauren newton, andrew cyrille, sylvie courvoisier, steve swell, steve argueelles, frank moebus, lee konitz, alexander v. schlippenbach, benoit achiary, hans hassler, willem breuker, tom rainey, carlos bica, enrico rava, michael riessler, rita marcotulli, michael moore, bob stewart, dieter glawischnig, tony malaby, drew gress, michael rabinowitz, matt wilson, ivo papasov, the ensemble “percussion de guinee”, the european radioorchestra and many musicians from the great berlin scene as well as many others.

selected infos & discography of kupke and thieke

jürgen kupke:

born 1960

works in a wide range of musical projects from composed contemporary music
to oldtime.


  • with frigg: “dust diary” (99records ’97)
  • “doenerfressing woman” (99 records ’96)
  • “isn’t it a tango” (99records ’95)
  • with hermann keller (wergo ’95)
  • with ta lam zehn: “moritat” (99records ’95)
  • “ta lam” (songlines recordings ’98),
  • “vancouver concert” (leo records ’00)

michael thieke:

born 1971
is a member of (a.o.): “nickendes perlgras” with michael anderson (tp) eric schaefer (dr) “dok wallach” the music of charles mingus with daniel erdmann (ts) johannes fink (b) heinrich koebberling (dr) “schwimmer” with alessandro bosetti (ss) sabine vogel (fl) michael griener (dr) “spore” with fabrizio spera (electronics) “unununium” with luca venitucci (acc/p) derek shirley (b) eric schaefer (dr) “hotelgaeste” with derek shirley (b) dave bennet (g) and plays as a duo with clarinet player kai fagaschinski.

he worked together with jim black, john schroeder, gregor hotz, roberto bellatalla,
steve lacy, billy bang, rudi mahall, herb robertson, michele rabbia, joe williamson, luca venitucci, ab baars, christian weber, riccardo lay, axel doerner, olaf rupp, antonio borghini, tristan honsinger, cristiano calcagnile and many others.

with nickendes perlgras: “die hintere vase” (jazzhausmusik 2000)
”meat hat” (konnex 2005)
with schwimmer: “7x4x7” (creative sources 2004)
with eric schaefer: “demontage” (jazzhausmusik 2002)
”cut and paste poetry” (schoener hoeren 2005)
with kai fagaschinski “berlin labor sonor” (charhizma sampler 2003)
”the international nothing mainstream” (ftarri 2006)
altoclarinet solo “leuchten” (creative sources 2005)
with hotelgaeste “flowers you can eat” (schraum 2005)
with unununium “where shall i fly not to be sad my dear” (charhizma 2006)
with thieke/griener/weber “the amazing dr. clitterhouse” (ayler records 2007)