Ken Vandermark


Ken Vandermark is an American jazz composer, saxophonist, and clarinetist. A fixture on the Chicago-area music scene since the 1990s, Vandermark has earned wide critical praise for his playing and his multilayered compositions, which typically balance intricate orchestration with passionate improvisation. He has led or been a member of many groups, has collaborated with many other musicians, and was awarded a 1999 MacArthur Fellowship. He plays tenor saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet, and baritone saxophone.

Trébuchet

Made to Break

2017

"The Made to Break template is, ironically enough, a very sturdy one. Take an assertive bassist who isn’t afraid to bring a bit of funk to the mix and a drummer who has been a continuous companion for about 20 years, and you’ve got a pretty perfect setting for the bar-walker grooving, Brötzman-esque barking and rippling, interval-leaping runs that constitute the more muscular side of Vandermark’s playing. But comfort isn’t part of the program here, and Vandermark isn’t satisfied with simply kicking some funky fire music ass. Made to Break is a statement of intent, not just a catchy name, and the fourth member of the band is there to make sure things don’t get too easy. http://dustedmagazine.tumblr.com/post/170799767125/made-to-breaktrebuchet-trost -Bill Meyer, Dusted Magazine February 12, 2018 ----- 5 Star Review Vandermark, Daisy and Stadhouders alternate constantly between solidifying and deepening the powerful rhythmic envelope and contrasting and challenging each other’s role. Kurzmann, in his turn, alternates between opposing all three with his imaginative stream of alien, noisy and abstract sounds that charge the immediate, tight interplay with a strong sense of surprise and risk taking and soloing along Vandermark like an otherworldly reed instrument. -Eyal Hareuveni, The Free Jazz Collective, December 29, 2017 ----- "There comes a time in every extended piece from Made To Break where the ground drops out from beneath the song, and what remains is a simultaneous state of floating and falling, where the song doesn’t really seem to be proceeding in any one particular direction, but there exists, nonetheless, a heavy gravitational pull. On the quartet’s newest, it happens at the halfway mark of opening track “Hydroplane (for Shellac).” The dancing groove instigated by saxophonist Ken Vandermark and amplified by the rhythm-duo of bassist Jasper Stadhouders and drummer Tim Daisy suddenly gives way to the drifting electronics and effects of Christof Kurzmann. That’s when forward locomotion and melodic focus transforms into chaos and unpredictability. It’s as compelling as it’s startling, and as blunt as the transition can feel, it’s no less satisfying when the transformation comes full circle back to where it began. The effect is no more subtle on the blues-inflected “Contact Sheet (for Susan Sontag)” or the relentless volatility of “Slipping Words Against Silence (for Kerry James Marshall),” and that the results can vary so wildly from piece to piece is a source of intrigue that nicely complements the thrills." -Dave Sumner, The Best Jazz on Bandcamp: November 2017, Bandcamp Daily, December 4, 2017 "