Drummer - Percussionist - Educator - Composer

Live at the Bunker Review for allmusic.com


  • Paul Smoker - trumpet
  • Michael Jefry Stevens - piano
  • Joe Fonda - double bass
  • Harvey Sorgen - drums

There is some amazing music in this version of the Fonda-Stevens Quartet, which, in addition to bassist Joe Fonda and Michael Jefry Stevens, includes the wonderful trumpet player Paul Smoker and the drummer Harvey Sorgen. Like other performances by this group (with shifting personnel), there are many elements of free jazz imposed on conventional structures. The results continue to intrigue, in the same way that Mingus incorporated a mélange of styles. Smoker is sometimes more restrained than usual, conscious, perhaps, of his role as sideman and sole horn. The compositions are complex, with tricky rhythms and tough chord changes, and he seems to enjoy it all. Stevens is a fine soloist, with a broad range of tricks that keep everyone on their toes. The sound quality is less than perfect, which is most noticeable on the vocals on the romping "Oh, Lord, Its Nice to Sit on Your Porch Today." The joys are immense, though, and the angular and challenging melodies bring out the best in the players.