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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Vandermark 5 Special Edition: The Horse Jumps And The Ship Is Gone

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With the 16th official release by The Vandermark 5, composer/director/leader Ken Vandermark invites two guest musicians to share the stage. Norwegian pianist Håvard Wiik and Swedish trumpeter Magnus Broo are, however, no strangers to projects by the reedman and company. That familiarity yields this solid June, 2009 live date at Chicago's Green Mill.Broo, an excellent inside/out player, can be heard in the European equivalent to the V5--Atomic--and in The Angles. Likewise, Wiik is a member of Atomic and Vandermark's chamber music project, Freefall, with bassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten.The V5-plus-two plays Vandermark 5 music, with the exception ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Vandermark 5 Special Edition: The Horse Jumps And The Ship Is Gone

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In their early days, the Vandermark 5 gave founder and reed man Ken Vandermark, the opportunity to workshop and road test fresh ideas. His writing skills have now been honed to such an extent that he is one of the most consistently inventive small group composers around, and the V5 has become one of the great working bands on the current scene. For its eighteenth, outing the quintet is expanded to a seven-piece Special Edition, with the addition of trumpeter Magnus Broo and pianist Håvard Wiik from Scandinavian super group Atomic. There's one new number--"Nameless"--on this double-CD live ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Vandermark 5 and Atomic: Double Bill at the Vortex in London

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Vandermark 5 and AtomicThe VortexLondonSeptember 16, 2010It was difficult to avoid a frisson of pleasurable anticipation at the sight of the handwritten sign proclaiming “Totally sold out" taped onto the door of north London's Vortex Jazz Club. A feeling compounded by the presence of the BBC's mobile recording unit parked outside. This was going to be a good night. And why shouldn't it be with a double header by the Vandermark 5 and Atomic, two of the hottest working units in contemporary jazz, newly arrived in the UK for the last leg of an 11-date ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Vandermark 5: Annular Gift

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Multi-instrumentalist, composer, and bandleader Ken Vandermark has led his flagship ensemble, the Vandermark 5, through a decade's worth of personnel changes. Despite the band's rotating roster, the ensemble's sound has remained remarkably consistent. A powerhouse unit capable of serene delicacy as well as unfettered intensity, the quintet has won a legion of fans the world over for its uncompromising vision of contemporary creative improvised music.

The current line-up has been active for three years now, documented on two remarkable studio records, A Discontinuous Line (Atavistic, 2006) and Beat Reader (Atavistic, 2008). Annular Gift is this incarnation's first live ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Vandermark 5: Annular Gift

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The Vandermark 5's Annular Gift is its most accessible and swinging recording to date. Recorded live (one reason) in Krakow, Poland, the quintet has come together (reason two) as a true aggregate of players.

This is their fifteenth official release (there have been some CD-Rs and compilation discs) and third for the Polish label Not Two. The others were the sprawling and ultimately satisfying 12-CD collection of live dates at Alchemia in 2004 (since Alchemia, cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm replaced trombonist Jeb Bishop in V5) and a double-LP, Four Sides Of The Story (2006).

Lonberg-Holm's voice has influenced the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Vandermark 5: Beat Reader

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Beat Reader is the tenth studio album of all-original material from Chicago's esteemed Vandermark 5. Leading his most resilient and diverse ensemble into its second decade, composer/multi-instrumentalist Ken Vandermark has accomplished a remarkable achievement in a time when regular touring line-ups have vanished.Vandermark's advanced writing reveals a facility for composing interlocking, cellular structures that balance unique arrangements with ample room for individual expression. Stylistically diverse but instantly recognizable, Vandermark's eclectic tunes always bear the unmistakable mark of his long-established and singular voice.An infectious sonic tapestry that weaves together elements of aleatoric pointillism, blistering free jazz, simmering ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Vandermark 5, Ottawa, Canada February 10, 2007

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Vandermark 5 Zaphod Beeblebrox Ottawa, Canada February 10, 2007

It's an unorthodox club where jazz is rarely--if ever--heard. And the show was promoted by a local team who are more in touch with the punk/indie scene. But sometimes things come together in the most unexpected ways. The Vandermark 5's first Ottawa appearance at Zaphod Bebblebrox--a mainly standing room-only club in the heart of the city's nightclub district--turned out to be not just a success in itself but one that may well encourage local promoters to take more risks in the future.

Baritone saxophonist/clarinetist Ken ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Vandermark 5: A Discontinuous Line

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Ken Vandermark could never be accused of wasting time, and while this particular documentation of his music lacks the rarefied air of his work with the SIA trio from earlier in 2006, this programme comes from an aesthetically different place. Vandermark's artistry is far from mono-dimensional.

Also, the dynamics of the V5 are of a radically different order, and on “Aperture (For Walker Evans)" Vandermark's squally sound on the baritone sax can get a little wearing, not least because the sound and fury it amounts to comes across as nihilistic. In the resulting evaluation, the very detail of the SIA's ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Vandermark 5: A Discontinuous Line

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Woodwind multi-instrumentalist Ken Vandermark has seen a number of personnel changes in his decade-old flagship group, the Vandermark 5. But when charter member Jeb Bishop left last year, Vandermark made the decision not to replace him with another trombonist. The Color of Memory (Atavistic, 2005) stands, as a result, as a high point and watershed mark of the “old Vandermark 5. A Discontinuous Line marks a significant shift with the recruitment of cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm, himself no stranger to the Chicago avant-garde scene. By adding an instrument that has the capacity for chordal support, Vandermark has reinvigorated his writing for ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Vandermark 5: A Discontinuous Line

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A Discontinuous Line is the first studio recording of the new incarnation of the Vandermark 5, Chicago-based multi-instrumentalist Ken Vandermark's most enduring and versatile ensemble. The Vandermark 5 has been an acoustic quintet since trombonist/guitarist Jeb Bishop dropped the electric instrument from his arsenal in 2001, taking his final leave last year. With the arrival of cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm, the group once again has the capacity to deliver the electronic maelstroms that made them famous outside of the jazz world in the late 1990s.

Lonberg-Holm is equally at home playing gorgeous straight-ahead melodies or experimenting with subtle electronic ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Vandermark 5: Free Jazz Classics Vol. 3 & 4

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In his liner notes, multi-instrumentalist and composer Ken Vandermark proclaims that his time covering jazz standard repertoire has passed: “The fourth volume of Free Jazz Classics will likely be the last. Though I have learned a great deal by rearranging some of my favorite composers' work ... it's time to leave that process behind and focus more completely on my own ideas." Perhaps that's a bit modest on his part (Vandermark has long been a prolific writer), but this double disc set is potentially the final word on the classic jazz that informs his own writing.

Of these ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Vandermark 5: The Color of Memory

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"That Was Now," the opener on the two-disc set The Color of Memory, jumps out of the speakers, in a kick ass and take names later mode; and from the perspective of an ear that had never heard this group before--based on this introduction--it struck me as a pared-down Dixieland band pumped up on some serious steroids and a whole bunch of caffeine.The Vandermark 5 is one of reedman Ken Vandermark's many artistic outlets, featuring Vandermark on reeds (clarinet, bass clarinet, alto saxophone, and there may be more; he and Rempis stretch each ax to its sonic limits, ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

The Vandermark 5: The Color of Memory

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The Vandermark 5 The Color of Memory Atavistic 2005

Close on the heels of the wondrous twelve-CD Alchemia live set, the Vandermark 5 return with a collection of studio recordings vividly displaying the glorious results of a five-year working association. Whether a subtle exercise in abstract minimalism or a hard-swinging pumped-up post bop riff, the quintet expertly traverses Vandermark's broadly informed musical landscapes.

Establishing a musical relationship superficially resembling that of John Gilmore and Marshall Allen, Vandermark and Rempis exhaust the reed options on each composition. From Tim Daisy's seamless gearshifts through ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Vandermark 5: Alchemia

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People always asked why Grateful Dead fans used to tour with the band; the answer was that they never played the same show twice. This box-set recording of the Vandermark 5's five-night stand at the Alchemia Club in Krakow, Poland last March does not quite live up to that high standard, but it does offer a rare glimpse at a working band, well, working.Recorded by the Polish label Not Two Records, Alchemia is a sprawling, expansive twelve-CD set covering all five nights of the group's residency, plus two sets of jam sessions with a couple of local musicans: ...



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