Tyshawn Sorey drums, piano; Gebhard Ullmann tenor saxophone, bass clarinet
Berlin's Jazzfest about the first performance of the Duo in 2017:
Those who think of Tyshawn Sorey as one of the world’s great drummers – a vocation which began with a toy kit at the age of three – might be in for a surprise. During the solo portion of this performance, Sorey is as likely to be spending time at the piano keyboard or playing the trombone as behind his drum kit. None other than Vijay Iyer has described his piano-playing as “seemingly unprecedented in its precision and scope”. In solo performances he can utilise all these instruments, plus archival recordings on a laptop. He will be joined by Gebhard Ullmann, the redoubtable saxophonist, flautist and bass clarinetist from Bad Godesberg, who will have celebrated his 60th birthday the previous day and who, earlier in the year, was awarded the Jazzpreis Berlin by rbb kulturradio and Berlin county. The two musicians have never played together before. Both, however, are characterised by an appetite for adventure.
The concert ended with minutes of standing ovations.
Richard Williams about the concert in 2019:
When Peter Brötzmann declined my invitation to join Tyshawn Sorey in a late-night duo performance at Jazzfest Berlin in 2017, my thoughts very quickly turned to Gebhard Ullmann, the highly experienced saxophonist, composer and bandleader who deserves to be a great deal better known outside his native Germany. The way it worked out, I was only sorry that I hadn’t asked Ullmann first. He and Sorey (the festival’s artist in residence) had never met or spoken before; their set was completely improvised, and provided a perfect exposition of what magic such musicians can create together in the right circumstances. I won’t forget it, and neither will anyone else who was in the Seitenbühne at the Haus der Berliner Festspiele that night.