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... "
The Rempis/Daisy Duo & Guests
"Dodecahedron, the third duo recording by saxophonist Dave Rempis and percussionist Tim Daisy, celebrates a special mile-marker in the musical history of these long-time partners, as 2018 marks the twentieth anniversary of their duo pairing. These two have formed the backbone of well-known working bands dating back to 1997, when they first met in Chicago, including Triage, The Vandermark Five, The Rempis Percussion Quartet, and The Engines. But that list only scratches the surface, accounting for just a portion of likely more than a thousand gigs they’ve played together over that time. On the first disc of this new two-disc set, recorded live at Elastic Arts in Chicago in October 2017, you can hear every nuance of that two decades of shared experience. Rempis and Daisy have logged far too many hours in the van together to suffer each other’s bullshit, and continue to undermine any whiff of cliché by pushing here, pulling there, and sometimes just outright kicking the chair out from underneath one another. There’s no hiding from family. To further celebrate this special milestone, the duo invited six guests to join them individually for two recording sessions in the summer of 2017, released here on the second disc in this set. Each of these musicians – Jason Adasiewicz, Jim Baker, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Steve Swell, Katie Young, and Aaron Zarzutzki – are friends and colleagues whose distinct personalities and long histories with Rempis and Daisy have helped to shape the duo’s approach as a unit, and as individual musicians. And each of the pieces presented here showcase yet another of the many facets contained within the duo’s complex lexicon. "
"“Double Arc” is the culmination of projects conceived by Ken Vandermark written for the large working group the Resonance Ensemble. An assemblage of influences as wide ranging as film scores, 50’s NYC composers, 60’s free jazz, 70’s African funk, etc., “Double Arc” is an epic work that is creatively stimulating, foot stomping, and at times maddening music."
Bradford / Gjerstad / Nilssen-Love
"Legendary West Coast cornetist Bobby Bradford meets two Norwegians - drummer Paal Nilssen-Love and multi-reedist Frode Gjerstad - for a live performance at Klub Dragon in Poland. A free outing, the 6 tracks are relatively short, with "Pitaya" the longest at 11 minutes. The dialog is often quite subtle and well informed, using extended techniques and unusual twists and turns that are fascinating to follow. Which isn't to say that the trio doesn't fire up some serious power playing at points, but these three masters find their true language in intelligent interaction, of which there is no end to in these wonderful recordings. Highly recommended."
Dropping Stuff and Other Folk Songs
Ig Henneman, Jaimie Branch, Anne La Berge
""... Three eccentric sketching women who succeeded in converting the concert hall into a spectacle with a drowned diesel engine on a race track, although it did not turn into a crazy fair. No, it was primarily an ode to the ingenious freedom, an intensely varied and colorful performance that was permeated by fun and games, but one of the kind that made your feelers and imagination run wild by its fresh originality, abrasive delicacy and unpredictable coherence." - Guy Peters, Enola Magazine "
Ken Vandermark, Michael Snow
"Although he is best known as a groundbreaking experimental filmmaker, one of the architects of structural cinema, and visual artist, Michael Snow has been active as a musician since the 1950s. A brilliant keyboardist and occasional trumpeter, Snow was a key figure in Toronto’s improvised music scene, performing and recording with the ensemble CCMC, and as an improvising pianist he’s worked in myriad contexts with many of the world’s leading free players. Saxophonist, clarinetist, and composer Ken Vandermark first learned about Snow as a film student in Montreal, where the classic work Wavelength confounded and fascinated him. In 2015, Vandermark and Snow performed together for the first time as a duet, resulting in three astounding long-form improvisations. Their entire duo performance is released here, with an early painting by Snow adorning the cover."
Early Bird Gets
"The Early Bird Gets is the debut album by this working trio, comprised of journeyman Chicago saxophonist Dave Rempis alongside two of the brightest talents in a younger generation of improvising musicians. Bassist Brandon Lopez is a musician whose virtuosity knows no bounds, currently one of the most in-demand bassists on the New York jazz and improvised music scene. Percussionist Ryan Packard counters that depth with his own breadth of interests, working in contemporary classical ensembles, indie rock bands, and jazz groups alike around Chicago, not to mention his doubling abilities on electronics. These two together provide a formidable rhythm section that can veer from hard-driving grooves to luscious soundscapes with total ease. As a trio, these three have put forth a work that may be the “jazziest” project any of them are involved with; a result that even the band members found surprising. But after honing their sound through live gigs in 2017 and early 2018, it became apparent that their free-improvised conversation kept returning to a similar destination: a three-way exploration of rhythm and tempo that left them working solidly within the jazz tradition. Not the one fixed into predictable sylistic corners, but the one defined by a spirit of boundless curiosity and exploration. A tradition they stretched back and forth like so much taffy. "
East by Northwest
Ken Vandermark & Nate Wooley
"What struck me immediately about the show was just how full and vibrant of a sound they were able to create with just the two horns. No doubt a great deal of this had to do with their compositional approach - melodies and counter melodies stretching out the musical fabric between them, creating an atmosphere as much as actual notes and tones - but then toss in the sheer virtuosity of their playing and it is quite an ear opening experience. I picked up the CD at the show and am pleased to report that what I heard from the stage is captured wonderfully on this album (Paul Acquaro, The Free Jazz Collective)"
Een Rondje Holland
The Ex Orkest
"Rock bands and orchestras -- here's a worrisome cliché usually signaling the beginning of the end for a group of musicians getting too full of themselves or already on the nostalgia bandwagon. Of course, none of that applies here, for two main reasons. The first one is the Ex -- not your run-of-the-mill punk band, this Dutch institution has always been keen on collaborating with wide-ranging artists. The second reason is the orchestra convened here: 20 of Amsterdam's finest and most daring experimental musicians, from Palinckx's singer Han Buhrs to members of the ICP Orchestra (and of course all then-current members of the Ex, including Luc Ex). Obviously, Een Rondje Holland is not for every Ex fan, but those fond of the group's previous collaborations with Buhrs, Han Bennink, or Tom Cora will probably find it at least interesting. On the other hand, followers of the Dutch avant-garde scene who are usually put off by the Ex's punk rock but enjoy the ICP Orchestra, Splinks, or even Palinckx should definitely give this album a try."
"Sensual reflection challenges us to transcend the usual patterns of experience and penetrate into new sound realms. With subtle humor, the borders of genre are evoked associatively and expanded. "
Elm City Duets
Joe Morris & Barre Phillips
""Guitarist (and sometimes bassist) Joe Morris has in “Elm City Duets” a new chapter of his ongoing objective to play with his lifetime heroes: after the meeting with the renowned multi-instrumentalist Anthony Braxton, resulting in a box with 4 CDs released by the label Clean Feed, here is another duo with a veteran of improvisation: Barre Phillips. And what a wonderful encounter this turned to be! What we have here is a vivacious dialogue between two equals, with precious and incisive arguments by both parts. Your record colection will be incomplete without this!" -Clean Feed"
"There was nowhere to hide during this recording session, every note staring back at its creators with fearless eyes. And the resulting musical tension is palpable, as the band tosses ideas up into the air between them, and sets them spinning off into the ether, each one on their own unique path. "
Ken Vandermark & Paul Lytton
"Vandermark alternates between the more groove based playing that he has made a name for and slightly more abstract and in a "freer" fashion. Lytton runs with these moods through busy work that is attuned to what Vandermark, heard mostly on saxophone, is playing. "
The Ex & Brass Unbound
""33 years into their career, Dutch punks the Ex are more interested in expanding the horizons of their music than in repeating their past. Enormous Door is an acrobatic, ferocious record, a welcome burst of electric noise and squealing horns from a group whose power and flexibility keep growing with time." –Pitchfork"
"In the late 1990s, three young musicians in the Oslo jazz scene – Paal Nilssen-Love, Ketil Gutvik and Eivind Opsvik – hooked up with two legends – Carl Magnus “Calle” Neumann and Bjørnar Andresen. The project was named The Quintet and it was the meeting of two generations, with Neumann and Andresen passing the spirit of the 60s on to three musicians who would make their mark in the 2000s."