"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."
Gold Sparkle Trio with Ken Vandermark
"Operating in similar but different spheres for quite some time, the collaboration between Ken Vandermark and the Gold Sparkle Trio is a true meeting of the minds."
Do Not Slam The Door!
Grenscó Collective Special 5 with Ken Vandermark
"Is there such a thing as coincidence? Perhaps. But in the encounter between István Grencsó and Ken Vandermark some kind of necessity seems to have been at work. If we compare the careers followed by these two artists in the last decade and a half or so, it seems as if their paths have intertwined, with parallels and intersections. This is far from being self-evident, because a fundamental consideration for both of them is constant renewal, and the search for ever newer forms of expression..."
"Curiously, when timbre follows texture during these fully-rounded performances on Hoxha, Rutherford’s slide work and use of mutes at points takes on a gutbucket, traditional jazz coloration, not too distant from the solos of his older contemporary Free Jazzer Roswell Rudd. Trad Jazz was popular in the United Kingdom when Rutherford was coming up and while he, unlike Rudd, was likely never a recorded Dixielander, the fearless technique and casual joy of those older bonemen could influence anyone, even if by osmosis."
Consequent Duos: series 2c
Ikue Mori & Ken Vandermark
"The music, though completely improvised, has a highly detailed, formal architecture that runs throughout its 38 minutes. The material unfolds with a true sense of surprise and risk, as it does on each occasion that Mori and Vandermark work together."
Artifact: Live In St. Johann
"An amazing lineup of European, Chicago and UK players in a live set from the 2008 ArtActs Festival, music that merges the boundaries of ea-improv and free jazz."
A Meeting In Chicago
Joe McPhee / Ken Vandermark / Kent Kessler
""Vandermark has long cited McPhee's great hat HUT record Tenor as one of his strongest inspirations, an LP that showed him ways to integrate energy, flow and lyricism into the same musical space. Conversely, McPhee was moved to hear the now-defunct Vandermark Quartet cover one of his compositions at a festival some years back. A wildly prodigious composer, bandleader and player, Vandermark fronts and works in a variety of groups, including the Vandermark 5, NRG Ensemble, Steam, Caffeine, Witches and Devils, DK3, the Crown Royals, Baxter and the Sun Ra Project. Kessler and Vandermark have established a near-sibling working relationship -- the bassist figures in virtually all of Vandermark's ensembles and the two join forces with drum dynamo Hamid Drake in the egalitarian DKV Trio. Based in Poughkeepsie, New York, Joe McPhee is one of the most sensitive, authoritative, personal musical forces on the planet, whether he's playing puckered pocket-trumpet or pugilistic tenor sax. More than mere document of a first encounter, A Meeting in Chicago is destined to be a free music classic.""
Consequent Duos: series 2b
Joe Morris & Ken Vandermark
"Morris’ impact on Vandermark’s creative path goes back to the mid-1980s, when he heard Joe perform in Boston on a regular basis with the Joe Morris Trio and his group Sweatshop. Those ensembles set a standard for musical exploration and excellence that Ken still seeks to achieve with his own ensembles today."