Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville Victoriaville, Quebec, Canada May 15-19, 2014 Victoriaville, Quebec is a town of some 40,000 two hours east of Montreal, a regional center known for the sober pursuits of dairy and wood production. For the past three decades (beginning in 1983), the town has also hosted one of the world's most renowned festivals of adventurous music, the Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville, or Victo, as it is popularly known. The festival is the brainchild of artistic director Michel Levasseur, who chose the town as the site of the ...read more
Listening to the music Ken Vandermark writes for large ensembles do we dare compare him to Duke Ellington? Both band leaders and composers wrote and arranged music to be played by a select troupe of musicians and both suffered the fate of surfing the knife edge of innovation. Ellington always seemed to be delivering scores with the ink still drying to last minute rehearsals. Same for Vandermark who has the added burden of an international cast from Chicago to Stockholm and Gdansk. Head Above Water / Feet Out Of The Fire is a testament to the composer's tenacious ...read more
Food scientists know that human taste buds favor three items, sweet, salty and fat. Although abundant today, our prehistoric ancestors scavenged for these scarce commodities. A musical arranger, like a great chef, can serve up delectable music by skillfully combining the three tastes.Our chef, the musical impresario Ken Vandermark, organized this nonet tribute to Joe McPhee and his influential music by inviting the great man to record with eight Chicago musicians. All would probably name McPhee as their personal demigod. Vandermark presents McPhee's music and his arrangements for the TOPOLOGY Nonet. The draw here is Vandermark's talent for ...read more
Ultra-progressive jazz and avant-garde expressionism are trumpeter Nate Wooley's toy stores, so to speak. He's well-established in the modern era's radical music scene and teams here with venerable Euro-jazz percussionist Paul Lytton, equating to a vivid snapshot of the duo's 2011 US tour. Brilliant minds think alike, and the proof resides in the multifarious modes of delivery conjured up by these artists. It's not only about stirring improvisational encounters, because the musicians also sculpture a seemingly endless array of sounds, employing multiphonics and tonal diversions amid moments of anguish, jocularity, and brazen exchanges. Culled from the duo's performance ...read more
Consider the great duos of the cinema, Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson and so on-what each successful duo has in common, is a chemistry, an attraction or spark between them. Such is the case with the musical duo of percussionist Paul Lytton and trumpeter Nate Wooley.What each of those film stars also has, is individual talent capable of starring in a lead role sans partner. Likewise, Lytton and Wooley (his junior by some 27 years) are masters of their own instruments. Lytton was a force behind the ...read more
Prolific composer/saxophonist Ken Vandermark's first soundtrack Project, Strade d'Acqua / Roads of Water, brings together his multiple interests and sound designs, creating a work for the film by Augusto Contento. It can exists as a standalone album, separate from the film, without commentary.Recorded in 2008, Vandermark's Predella Group reunites trombonist Jeb Bishop--an original member of the Vandermark 5--with the leader, as well as his replacement, cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm. For this work, Vandermark arranges the sound in a sparse manner, perhaps to leave plenty of space for the visuals.Relying heavily on Vandermark's new favorite drummer Tim Daisy--who ...read more
The audience has been removed from these live concerts, recorded in 2008 in Birmingham and Leeds, featuring American reedman Ken Vandermark alongside British drummer Mark Sanders and bassist Barry Guy. Despite the constraints of a short, five-day UK tour of only six concerts, there's much to savor in the resulting two discs, for connoisseurs of creative music.
Granted, there is no such thing as a perfect" freely improvised recording. Listening to a recording is different from attending the recording event, studio or live--the result of mastering and engineering being further impacted by the playback system at hand, whether ...read more
Ken VandermarkCollected Fiction (Improvised Bass & Reed Duos)Okkadisk2008 Fire RoomBroken MusicAtavistic2008 Saxophonist Ken Vandermark has made a career of placing himself in diverse company, whether as a leader or as part of a shared effort. These two releases continue the trend, finding him in partnership with collaborators old and new. However, he brings new life to long-fostered relationships, a new depth and concentration to his playing adding to the allure of these more intimate ...read more
This interview was originally published in 2006.
In a world that has difficulty and attitude toward unfamiliar and creative thought, Ken Vandermark is a visionary exploring possibilities with improvisational and compositional forms.A recipient of the MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant, he has used the funding to support his interest in bringing together some of today's most innovative and forward-thinking musicians and composers in the global arts community. Embracing music and life without compromise, Vandermark is a bold and brilliant presence, relentless in his passion for creative and artistic ascension.Lloyd Peterson: Have we become a society that no ...read more
Ken Vandermark Reonance Ensemble Resonance Not Two 2009 Vandermark 5 Four Sides To The Story Not Two 2009 Ken Vandermark has had a productive relationship with the Polish label Not Two, which put out the 12-disc boxed set of the complete Vandermark 5 at the Alchemia club in Krakow from 2004. The most recent collaboration has resulted in these two vinyl releases. The Resonance Ensemble is a 10-piece band that was ...read more
Ab Baars is a major figure in the Dutch jazz scene, having played with Misha Mengelberg and Han Bennink in their Instant Composers Pool for more than 25 years. Ken Vandermark has been the driving organizational force behind the fertile jazz community of Chicago for the better part of the last two decades, leading any number of bands and bringing together improvisers in the City of Wind with like-minded players throughout Europe and Scandinavia. So in spite of Baars being ten years older than his American partner, this pairing is as comfortable as a reunion of grade ...read more
Reedman, composer and bandleader Ken Vandermark is an artist not only of diverse talents--he's a tireless organizer and fulcrum of numerous scenes both in his adopted hometown of Chicago as well as western Europe--but also a diversifier of his talents. In the past decade and a half, his arsenal of saxophones and clarinets and his compositional book have been spread across a staggering array of ensembles, from duos to orchestras.Some of these projects have had a specific goal in mind, like exploring the music of Joe Harriott, George Clinton or Sun Ra, while others have allowed the structure ...read more
Swedish/Norwegian power trio The Thing--featuring Mats Gusatfsson on saxophones and the colossal rhythm section of Ingebrigt Håker Flaten on bass and Paal Nilssen-Love on drums--like to enlist additional players who will bring further energy to their already dense dynamics. American saxophone hero Joe McPhee, or the Legend" as the group refer to him, has been an honorary member since he played on their second release, She Knows (Crazy Wisdom, 2002). Over the years, the band also joined forces with Italian twin trio Zu, Finnish/American guitarist Raoul Björkenheim, and Japanese sound sculptor and guitarist Otomo Yoshihide.
Two new collaborations--one ...read more
Joe Morris/Ken Vandermark/Luther Gray Rebus Clean Feed 2007 Ken Vandermark/Pandelis Karayorgis Foreground Music Okkadisk 2007 Bridge 61 Journal Atavistic 2006
In the Daniel Kraus documentary on Ken Vandermark, the saxophonist is shown writing music, organizing tours, traveling to and playing gigs, the typical life of the titular Musician. What comes out of the film is some insight into a player who is known ...read more
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