"The succinctly titled Blow Horn starts with a shout from the saxes of Gustafsson and Ken Vandermark, with bass and drums (Kent Kessler and Steve Hunt) churning underneath, and thereafter the energy level seldom subsides. This is post-Ayler, Brötzmann-incited freedom, storm centers of agitation and exuberance, with only brief moments of respite (“Biomass”) between onrushing shock waves. But even at such an intense tack they’re able to suggest distinctive rhythmic designs, like the raucous r&b inflections of “Blow Horn for Service” or the slow, taut groove of “Structure a la Malle"."
"A double-disc set that documents the live efforts of the Free Music Ensemble – a power trio featuring Ken Vandermark on reeds, Nat McBride on bass, and Paal Nilssen-Love on drums! One CD here features a 2005 Boston show, and the other includes a concert the next day, recorded up in Montreal presenting several concepts, each dedicated to a film legend (Orson Welles, Stanley Kubrick, Sergio Leone, Buster Keaton, etc)."
"The very nature of the group's musical process ensures that every FME performance is a unique one. And yes, their stylistic variety and constructive openness is vast enough to be seemingly without limit. Sounds free enough, doesn't it?"
""What is here, though, is beyond these landmarks of traditional jazz. The world is not flat and neither is jazz, and if you can place some faith in that, you can get into this. FME pays tribute to four innovators of free jazz and improvised music: saxophonist and trumpeter Joe McPhee, percussionist Paul Lytton, guitarist Joe Morris and saxophonist Peter Brötzmann." -All About Jazz"
"The session unveils an array of evocative styles, including bluesy noir, pungent funk, and austere impressionism. "Multi-Chrome (for Peter Brotzmann, Han Bennink, Fred Van Hove)" opens the record with an ominous vamp that suddenly vanishes, leaving an electro-acoustic cello cadenza in its wake. A serpentine pulse materializes, leading the group through myriad changes before downshifting into a somber tenor and bass duet that precedes the recapitulated theme. The remainder of the album follows similarly unpredictable patterns. "
Consequent Duos: series 2d
Fred Lonberg-Holm & Ken Vandermark
"This new recording reveals a completely different set of improvisational concerns and makes a remarkable counterweight to their first duo release, "Resistance," with a range of intensities and instrumentation between the two musicians that is remarkable."
"With drummer-less clarinet trio named after a radical album by a drummerless clarinet trio, you have prolific Ken Vandermark’s latest collaboration, this with Norway’s Ingebrigt Haker Flaten on bass, and Havard Wiik on piano. Vandermark frequently shines a light on an elder, and this one points to the pioneering Jimmy Giuffre/Paul Bley/Steve Swallow trio. Additionally, Merce Cunningham, Frank O’Hara, Eric Dolphy, Bill Evans, and Bley in particular get their due on this collection. As with past dedications, the music stands on its own and makes no attempt at imitation."
"Here the music suggests a sense of dark threat, pursued through heated contrasts of lengths, with laboring duets or with solitary cadences of erratic abandonment. The thematic material is very close to the more experimental Jimmy Giuffre: asymmetrical intervals, atonal virtuosity, cold irony. What is more personal emerges in the improvisation of the individual."