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.

Snapshots: Volume 2/Austria

Ken Vandermark

2021

"PREORDER for official release 8/30/2021 The initial plan for Snapshots was to record a sequence of 7” singles that would document a collection of “micro-improvisations.” On every album I would perform with each of the four instruments I use, releasing a new 45 at quarterly increments over the course of a year. One of my favorite expressions regarding creative activity is Richard Serra’s statement, “work comes out of work,” and that idea came directly into play when I considered my approach to the second installment of Snapshots. Before starting the work on volume 2, I began a duo project with Nate Wooley for the Superpang label. Since that process took place during COVID, it was necessary to create the music by sharing music files. Nate and I quickly realized that, because the material had to be created by overdubbing one track on top of another, it was possible to bounce files back and forth, using more than two parts for each piece, and with different organizational principles. While involved in the exchange with Nate, I started to think about the second edition of Snapshots. And, for the first time, I decided to create duo improvisations by overdubbing myself. The strategy was simple- I recorded two pieces of about 90 seconds on each instrument (abandoning one of them because it was musically unsuccessful), then I selected an alternative horn, listened to a track and recorded an improvisation with/against it. From these seven “duos,” four were selected to produce the most successful narrative across two sides of a 7” single. In closing, I’d like to mention how much certain artists from Austria have impacted my work, particularly over the course of the last decade. I’m dedicating the music on this recording to four of them. -Ken Vandermark, Chicago, July 16, 2021 "