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.

Latitude 41.88

DKV Trio

2017

"The albums starts “Faster Then It Would Be” featuring a free blowing Vandermark on tenor saxophone, quickly joined by a bowing Kessler and a more subtle, colouring Drake; working their way into a funky groove initiated by Vandermark, promptly supported by Drake and Kessler. From here, the trio really joins as a unit and weaves threads of free and groove into a polyrhythmic web propelling Drake into a contagious solo. Following Drake’s solo, toe-tapping continues when Vandermark adds a catchy melody that develops into the climax of the piece. To clear satisfaction of the audience and this listener, well-earned applause. “20th Century Myth” finds Hamid Drake solo, searching for other worlds on his drum kit. He is a real adventurer, taking us all around the world musically. Free phrases intertwine with tribal rhythm and world music. After 5 minutes, he settles and is joined by a gentle Vandermark, and supported by a deep bowing Kessler. The track continues into a pulsating rhythm initiated by Vandermark and collectively develops and fades into a deeply wailing free blues. “Uncontrolled Writer” finds Vandermark on clarinet squealing through high registers, overtones and harmonics before settling with gentle cymbals and plucked strings. Vandermark quickly switches back to saxophone and is propelled into a groove by Drake’s brushwork that is – all too – briefly interrupted for a nice pizzicato solo on double bass by Kessler. The trio joins forces and finishes off the set with a catchy climax, answered with loud cheers and applause by the audience. This is a really tight record by masters of free music that have been all over the scene for the past 25 years. Highly recommended. You should own the record, if only for the second track. - Martin Sekelsky (Free Jazz Blog) "