Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for readers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

221

The Vandermark 5: Alchemia

Andrey Henkin By

Sign in to view read count
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: the bass and drums-playing Olés brothers (de facto rhythm section for Not Two).

Apart from the two jam session discs, the band plays 31 different songs, only two more than three times. That makes for quite a bit of variety in material. The tunes are drawn primarily from the group's last two records, Elements of Style, Exercises in Surprise and Airports for Light. There are a few selections from the earlier albums Acoustic Machine and Burn the Incline as well as three tunes (the ones most played) from the forthcoming The Color of Memory, released this month. Given how strong Vandermark 5 records are, the opportunity to hear so many live interpretations is exciting.

Where the box set and the band excel, however, is the cover material, drawn from limited edition Free Jazz Classics series and encompassing players like Archie Shepp, Don Cherry, Sonny Rollins, Ornette Coleman, and Cecil Taylor, plus heaps full of tasty Roland Kirk. As good a writer as Vandermark is, his arranging skills might even be stronger, and he has a scholar's knowledge of underappreciated players like Kirk.

Of course certain sets are better than others; certain versions are more successful. But getting to see this variance is special. Also, the two discs of mostly free improvistions with the Olés Brothers are worth careful attention. That and the exhaustive booklet included—this is the era of the boxset—which offers further elucidation of Vandermark and his genius.

Visit Ken Vandermark on the web.


Track Listing:
CD1 (Day One: Monday, March 15, 2004, Set One, 58:10) Telefon; Other Cuts; Staircase; Strata; Free King's Suite.
CD2 (Day One: Monday, March 15, 2004, Set Two, 58:09) Outside Ticket; Money Down; Camera; Roulette; Cruz Campo; The Black And Crazy Blues.
CD3 (Day Two: Tuesday, March 16, 2004, Set One, 57:51) Confluence; Rip Rig And Panic Suite; Camera; Both Sides; Knock Yourself Out.
CD4 (Day Two: Tuesday, March 16, 2004, Set Two, 65:25) The Cooler; That Was Now; Six Of One; Silverlization/Volunteered Slavery; There Is The Bomb.
CD5 (Day Three: Wednesday, March 17, 2004, Set One, 48:25) That Was Now; Seven Puls Five; The Bridge; Gyllene; Auto Topography.
CD6 (Day Three: Wednesday, March 17, 2004, Set Two, 72:25) The Freedom Suite, Part 2; Telefon; Initials; Camera; Other Cuts; The Black And Crazy Blues; Knock Yourself Out.
CD7 (Day Four: Thursday, March 18, 2004, Set One, 50:05) Money Down; Inflated Tear; Wherever June Bugs Go; Camera; Cruz Campo.
CD8 (Day Four: Thursday, March 18, 2004, Set Two, 62:24) Pieces Of The Past; That Was Now; Long Term Fool; Strata; Silverlization/Volunteered Slavery; The Bridge.
CD9 (Day Five: Friday, March 19, 2004, Set One, 53:53) Conquistador, Part 2; Knock Yourself Out; Pieces Of The Past; Camera; Cruz Campo.
CD10 (Day Five: Friday, March 19, 2004, Set Two, 79:16) That Was Now; Gyllene; Telefon; Ken's Final Remarks; Six Of One; Other Cuts; The Black And Crazy Blues.
CD11 (Jam Session One: Wednesday, March 17, 2004, 60:25) Free Jam 1; Free Jam 2; Free Jam 3; East Broadway Run Down, Elephantasy/Complete Communion; Theme For Alchemia; Bemsha Swing.
CD12 (Jam Session Two: Thursday, March 18, 2004, 65:56) Round Trip; Free Jam 5; Free Jam 6; Togo; Lonely Woman.

Personnel: Dave Rempis: saxophones; Ken Vandermark: reeds; Jeb Bishop: trombone; Tim Daisy: drums; Kent Kessler: double bass; Marcin Oles: double bass (CD11, CD12); Bartlomiej Brat Oles: drums (CD11, CD12).

Title: Alchemia | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Not Two Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Satoko Fujii Solo CD/LP/Track Review Satoko Fujii Solo
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 17, 2018
Read when the shade is stretched CD/LP/Track Review when the shade is stretched
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 17, 2018
Read The Influencing Machine CD/LP/Track Review The Influencing Machine
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 17, 2018
Read Presence CD/LP/Track Review Presence
by Geannine Reid
Published: January 17, 2018
Read Flaneur CD/LP/Track Review Flaneur
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: January 16, 2018
Read D'Agala CD/LP/Track Review D'Agala
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 16, 2018
Read "Juxtaposition" CD/LP/Track Review Juxtaposition
by David A. Orthmann
Published: March 9, 2017
Read "Pocono Git-Down" CD/LP/Track Review Pocono Git-Down
by Richard J Salvucci
Published: March 14, 2017
Read "Miles Goes Wes" CD/LP/Track Review Miles Goes Wes
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 18, 2017
Read "Copenhagen Live 1964" CD/LP/Track Review Copenhagen Live 1964
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 30, 2017
Read "The Way of It" CD/LP/Track Review The Way of It
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 19, 2017
Read "Eleven Cages" CD/LP/Track Review Eleven Cages
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 27, 2017