Tag Archives: Ken Vandermark

Gapplegate Music review by Grego Edwards

clean feed made to break layout TEXTO DIFERENTE - ROJOMade to Break – Provoke (CF 273)
Made to Break moves mountains. Virtual mountains. With sound. Music. It’s Ken Vandermark’s new group, who improvise around structures in ways Ken has devised but there is no need to go into exactly how in this space. The liner notes to today’s release explain. Ken’s lately been influenced by punk rock and Ethiopian music and in some ways that gets in here.

There is a combination of electro-acoustic sounds (Cristof Kurzmann) and instrumentalists (Tim Daisy, drums, Ken on reeds and Devin Hoff, electric bass).

Provoke (Clean Feed 273) is a nice set with three long numbers recorded live in Lisbon. The band gets a full chance to find their maximum level of expression and they surely do.

This is avant improv that swells, rocks, grooves and explodes in very nice ways. Hoff plays electric bass in a foundational but innovative way. He’s excellent, with a big sound. Tim Daisy is a drummer who can go anywhere and do it with his own kind of authority. He does. Ken you I am sure know and he is strong and unpredictable as always. Christof’s electro-acoustics add plenty of color and a thickening texture, at times sounding like more than one voice, which of course is what you can do with such possibilities, and he does it all well.

This set is an adventure and a challenge–to be free, to be more than acoustic, to be big in sound and to be small too in contrast. It’s a hip outing. Out with hippening happening.

Add this to your Maestro Vandermark corpus and you will be glad you did. I am!
http://gapplegatemusicreview.blogspot.pt/2014/03/ken-vandermark-made-to-break-provoke.html

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Tomajazz reviews by Pachi Tapiz

Clean Feed: en trío y en cuarteto
Tríos y cuartetos forman la oferta del sello portugués Clean Feed en su segunda entrega del año 2013. Propuestas mayoritariamente libre improvisadas en las que se muestran las múltiples caras, los múltiples enfoques que ofrece la creación instantánea.

CF 276El baterista Harris Eisenstadt publica The Destructive Element (CF 276) con su formación September Trio. El saxofonista Ellery Eskelin y la pianista Angelica Sanchez son sus acompañantes nuevamente. Eisenstadt, que durante los últimos años está mostrando ser un gran compositor, es el autor de los nueve temas. Estos resultan muy variados en su suavidad (“Swimming, then Rained Out”), su carácter melancólico (el precioso “Cascadia”), su oscuridad (“Ordinary Weirdness”), su crispación (“Here Are the Samurai”) o su aproximación a la clásica contemporánea (“From Schoenberg”). Ellery Eskelin, y sobre todo Angelica Sanchez son unos magníficos compañeros de viaje.

CF 272El trío formado por la francesa Sophie Agnel (piano), y los británicos John Edwards (contrabajo) y Steve Noble (batería) realiza una interesantísima inmersión en la libre improvisación en Meteo (CF 272). El disco, grabado en el festival del mismo nombre en Mulhouse (Francia), en agosto de 2012, incluye una única pieza de 38 minutos. Una decisión de edición, ya que igualmente podría haber sido troceada en múltiples temas. En las distintas partes los tres músicos muestran una capacidad de diálogo y de invención sencillamente asombrosas. Su música pasa por fases ambientales, abstractas, libres, intensas y suaves. También por el silencio, del que el trío renace mostrando nuevas caras de su capacidad para interactuar. Semejante discurso está al alcance de muy pocos.

CF 277City Of Asylum (CF 277) aparece editado a nombre del contrabajista Eric Revis (Branford Marsalis, Tabarby), aunque igualmente podría haberlo sido a nombre del trío Revis – (Kris) Davis – (Andrew) Cyrille. Salvo un tema de Revis (“Question), uno de Jarrett (“Prayer”) y el monkiano “Gallop’s Gallop”, los seis restantes son unas improvisaciones del trío que por momentos parecen composiciones salidas del papel pautado. Andrew Cyrille es toda una institución en la batería, algo de lo que deja muestras más que evidentes. Kris Davis, una de las mejores pianistas de la actualidad, brilla de principio a fin. Eric Revis es el titular de la grabación, pero únicamente de un modo nominal ya que el peso de la grabación se reparte equilibradamente entre los tres músicos, creando una obra con una coherencia musical sobresaliente.

CF 271Mirage (CF 271) es una grabación de improvisaciones en trío de Ellery Eskelin (saxo), Michael Formanek (contrabajo) y Susan Alcorn (pedal Steel gitar, instrumento habitual en la música country). En los temas más breves el disco transcurre mayoritariamente tranquilo y a medio tiempo, buscando y encontrando melodías. Esa contención (no tanto en la música sino en la duración) se rompe con el extenso “Downburst” (27 minutos), en el que el grupo no es capaz de mostrar mucho más de lo que logra en cada uno de los temas del resto del disco con duraciones de entre tres y cinco minutos.

CF 267Birthmark (CF 267) de la saxofonista danesa Lotte Anker y la fantástica pareja de músicos portugueses formada por Rodrigo Pinheiro (piano) y Hernani Faustino (contrabajo) es un toma y daca de gran intensidad, una sucesión musical llena de tensiones improvisadas, silencios y melodías crispadas muy bien resueltas. Por medio de estos músicos, y otros como el saxofonista Rodrigo Amado, el baterista Gabriel Ferrandini o la trompetista Susana Santos Silva la escena de la improvisación portuguesa demuestra una vitalidad envidiable.

CF 275Precisamente Susana Santos Silva es un tercio de LAMA, que completan Gonçalo Almeida (contrabajo) y Greg Smith (batería). Para Lamaçal (CF 275), su segunda grabación, registrada en directo en el portugués Portalegre Jazz Festival, contaron con la colaboración del saxofonista Chris Speed. Gonçalo Almeida es el autor de cuatro composiciones, mientras que Santos Silva, Almeida y Speed aportan una cada uno. “Anemona”, “Cachalote” o “Moby Dick” (nada que ver con la exhibición de John Bonham de los Led Zeppelin) son algunos de los momentos más logrados. En todos sus temas es tan importante la improvisación como la estructura sobre la que esta se desarrolla, la utilización ortodoxa de los instrumentos como la capacidad de explorar sus posibilidades sonoras.

clean feed made to break layout TEXTO DIFERENTE - ROJOCon Made To Break el saxofonista Ken Vandermark retoma y aúna las sendas abiertas con Spaceways Inc. (que posteriormente desarrolló con Powerhouse Sound) y FME (Free Music Ensemble). Su objetivo en este proyecto es improvisar a partir de unas composiciones modulares en las que los músicos tienen la posibilidad de elegir diferentes elementos. En su desarrollo se incluyen pasajes con un groove muy potente y contagioso con base funk, improvisaciones free en las que no se pierde de vista la melodía, y momentos más contemplativos. En este proyecto le acompañan el baterista Tim Daisy (compañero de Vandermark en mil aventuras musicales), el bajista Devin Hoff y el samplerista Christof Kurzmann.De los tres temas que componen Provoke (CF 273), grabado en directo en Lisboa, el que mejor muestra y engarza esa multitud de influencias es el dedicado a John Cage titulado “Further”. En los otros dos temas también se alternan pasajes contrastados, aunque muestran una menor variedad.

CF 269Desde el inicio de su trayectoria Clean Feed ha estado ligado al festival de Coimbra Jazz Ao Centro, al que ha dedicado la serie JACC dentro de su catálogo. Joe McPhee se une al Trespass Trio en Human Encore (CF 269), grabación registrada a lo largo de tres días en la ciudad portuguesa. En este CD se alternan las composiciones del saxofonista Martin Küchen con las improvisaciones del cuarteto. Esto motiva una variedad más que disfrutable que van del homenaje en formato free al be-bop (“A different Koko”), los aromas folklóricos de “In Our Midst” o “Bruder Beda ist nicht mehr”, el free-bop a tiempo medio (“A deserto n fire, a forest”) o el free propulsivo (“Coimbra, Mon Amour”).

Harris Eisenstadt September Trio: Destructive Element ****
Sophie Agnel, John Edwards, Steve Noble: Meteo *****
Eric Revis: City Of Asylum ****
Mirage: Mirage ***
Lotte Anker, Rodrigo Pinheiro, Hernani Faustino: Birthmark ****
LAMA + Chris Speed: Lamaçal ****
Made To Break: Provoke ****
Trespass Trio + Joe McPhee: Human Encore ****

All About Jazz review by Glenn Astarita

clean feed made to break layout TEXTO DIFERENTE - ROJOMade To Break – Provoke (CF 273)
Each of these three extended pieces is dedicated to great twentieth century innovators who specialize in distinct disciplines. Led by Chicago outside jazz luminary Ken Vandermark, the quartet derives inspiration from avant-garde composer John Cage, architect, author Buckminster Fuller and philosopher, media theorist Marshall McLuhan. And as expected, the compositions are not thin or one-dimensional by design, yet from a semi-structured and improvisational standpoint, offer much in the way of excitement and entertainment. Vandermark also imparts some of the funk grooves encountered with his Spaceways Incorporated  band, and Christof Kurzmann’s electronics inject a curiously interesting ingredient into the mix.

The final piece, “Of The Facts (for Marshall McLuhan),” opens with Vandermark’s subdued and reflective lines, perhaps indicative of McLuhan engaging in deep thought. And with Kurzmann’s subtle electronics and drummer Timothy Daisy’s accenting cymbals, the band creates a mood that thrives via the saxophonist’s peppery choruses atop electric bassist Devin Hoff ‘s firm ostinato phrasings. They shift the tempo into a similar ostinato and Vandermark fires back with gravelly angst-ridden notes, driving the band through alternating thematic propositions and zooming in for the kill. From an avant-garde, or semi-free jazz perspective, Provoke, effectively goads the imagination and is one of the more enthralling programs of this ilk for 2013.
http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=45290

Time Out Lisboa review by Jose Carlos Fernandes

clean feed made to break layout TEXTO DIFERENTE - ROJOMade To Break – Provoke (CF 273) 
****
Mais um projecto do incansável saxofonista Ken Vandermark, gravado em Lisboa em 2011, a meio da tournée de estreia da formação. São três faixas de cerca de 20 minutos de duração, com vastas planícies desoladas onde, de vez em quando, se levantam avassaladoras tempestades eléctricas, mas onde também se encontram inesperados oásis de lirismo e serenidade, protagonizados por Vandermark.

Devin Hoff (baixo eléctrico) e Tim Daisy (bateria, um colaborador usual de Vandermark) tanto tecem texturas diáfanas como engrenam em vigorosos ritmos rock e funk. A electrónica de Christoff Kurzmann tem papel discreto, emitindo crepitações, estática e zumbidos, mas, quando a temperatura sobe, pode soar como um rádio de onda curta operado pelo Mafarrico.

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Jazz Magazine review by Paul Jaillet

CF273_JazzMAg2

All About Jazz review by Mark Corroto

clean feed made to break layout TEXTO DIFERENTE - ROJOMade To Break – Provoke (CF 273)
The evolution of Ken Vandermark continues with his new quartet Made To Break, an electric/acoustic ensemble that bridges his musical strengths of composition, organization, and improvisation. Founded in 2011, the saxophonist drew together bassist Devin Hoff  (The Resonance Ensemble), drummer Timothy Daisy (Vandermark 5, The Frame Quartet, Sound In Action Trio, Bridge 61), and a new contributor, Christof Kurzmann  (electronics).

In the early 2000s, Vandermark’s interest in non-jazz elements like funk and reggae developed with his Spaceways Inc. trio and electronics with Frame Quartet and Powerhouse Sound, the latter featured Scandinavian noise artist Lasse Marhaug . His improvising, both solo and in duo (with Daisy) also became an important path for him. As he retired these young projects (including the most successful V5), the seeds for Made To Break were planted.

Provoke and the LP (only) Lacerba (Clean Feed, 2013) are the fruits of his latest transformation. Conceived as compositional modules, each lengthy piece is built of blocks or modules of sound in which players improvise within. The music is a more methodical version of John Zorn’s Cobra and resolves itself as a democratic version of a Butch Morris

Conduction. Opening “Further (for John Cage)” with a simple tenor/drums duet, the piece builds into a heavy funk with the shock of electronics sizzling. The music morphs several times, here and with all tracks, into meditative passages, lyrical (dare I say songlike hymns?) and heavy rock elements. Each module, opens up possibilities of soloing, duos and group interactions. “Presentation (for Buckminster Fuller)” opens with Kurzmann’s electronic circuits firing, fizzling and smoldering as an invitation for some strikingly exquisite clarinet that segues into heavy electric bass destruction.

Each module is a cause for spontaneous structures, improvisation on jazz and non-jazz elements, and like all emerging music, some surprises.
http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=44685

Squidco review by Paul Serralheiro

CF 260Lytton / Wooley + Ikue Mori and Ken Vandermark The Nows (CF 260)
Although this CD is essentially a duo project uniting veteran drummer Lytton of the English improv scene and relative newcomer and trumpet technician extraordinaire Nate Wooley of the NYC scene, it is in part a two-CD set of live trio performances, the first including laptop artist Ikue Mori and the second reedist Ken Vandermark. One set recorded at the Stone in NYC, the second at Chicago’s The Hideout, both in March of 2011.

The creative core of the double-disc offering is Lytton and Wooley, and what a creative core it is. Wooley in particular is a striking musical personality with a percussive and timbral approach to the trumpet that stretches the repertoire of sounds one usually associates with the instrument. Not that he is alone in extending the language of the horn. Many have come before him, including people like Don Cherry, Bill Dixon, Joe McPhee, and Dave Douglas, but what Wooley brings is a more formidable skill than his predecessors in what is usually referred to as extended techniques. With contemporaries like Peter Evans, Wooley is redefining what is possible with the trumpet, which includes all kind of multiphonics, tonguing and buzzing sounds the trumpet is capable of, but which have been left out of the idealized trumpet sound, and included in all this are feats of circular breathing that are coherently and musically integrated.

Lytton, best known for his work in the English free jazz scene since the 1960s, most notably with Evan Parker, brings an articulate percussive foil to Wooley’s conceptions and the two, although more than a generation apart, are a natural match in terms of musical freedom and architectural and textural concerns. Both seem to have an endless flow of creative ideas about creating and manipulating sound and their equally strong personalities here support each other while also standing squarely on their own — along and together, facts amply clear in the opening duo track “Free Will, Free Won’t,” one of three duo tracks on the two CDs. The other tracks feature either Ikue Mori on computer or Ken Vandermark on clarinet, bass clarinet, and tenor or baritone saxophones. The two guests add to the already well-defined duo sound rather than alter it to any great or discernible extent, although Vandermark’s contributions seem at times to prod Wooley into some different, broader or more open sounds and motifs than on the other tracks.
http://www.squidsear.com/cgi-bin/news/newsView.cgi?newsID=1567