DownBeat Magazine, Editors’ Picks, September 2012

falling-CoverNew York-based guitarist David Ullmann said that for Falling, his second album as a leader, he “wanted to capture the idea of getting lost within the music—to explore falling into some mood, or sound, and being temporarily transported.” Ullmann achieved that goal with this collection of seven original compositions, recorded with his quintet bandmates: vibraphonist Chris Dingman, bassist Gary Wang, drummer Vinnie Sperrazza and saxophonist Karel Ruzicka Jr. Although Ullmann is the sole composer represented here, the arrangements on this cohesive project allow each of his collaborators to shine. Ruzicka, who has played on more than 100 albums, expresses a particularly memorable theme on “Second Chance.” On “When,” the saxophonist supplies a bite that complements the lighter sounds of Dingman’s vibes, which bring to mind a sequence of stones rapidly skipping across the surface of a pond on a foggy morning. On the title track, Wang’s sturdy solo is augmented by Sperrazza’s carefully placed cross-sticking and skittering, shimmering cymbal work. The driving, rock-influenced grooves on “Cycles” would be a nice addition to a mixtape for an end-of-the-summer road trip to the shore. Throughout the album, Ullmann’s restrained, tasteful solos display the narrative arc of a veteran storyteller — a quality he shares with his perfect foil, Dingman. On “Reckon,” the guitarist weaves an intoxicating tale that is extended by his collaborators before the album draws to a satisfying conclusion.

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