195

Vandermark 5: Burn the Incline

Derek Taylor By

Sign in to view read count
The V5 is arguably Ken Vandermark’s most widely renowned group. Of all of the Chicago reedman’s projects it certainly has the most miles under its belt in terms of touring and the voices that round out it’s ranks are among the vanguard of the city’s still expanding creative music scene. What this adds up to in the way of studio work is a quincunx of players that is well accustomed to each other’s idiosyncratic preferences and interests. What it means in terms of the music itself is anything goes. Rock, funk, free improv, blues, soul- all the musical lineages of their adopted Windy City home- everything is tossed into the pot, sometimes even during the course of a single piece. Such an all inclusive approach can be both liberating and unexpectedly limiting.

Just check out “Distance,” the opening ode to Joe Morris for a textbook example of this quintet’s rampant eclecticism. Kessler’s opening bass solo dissolves into a wailing upper register saxophone solo, which is in turn followed closely by Bishop’s distortion-saturated guitar. The schizophrenic structure of the tune captures multiple facets for Morris’ musical personality bouncing from free improvisation to groove-fueled melody and back again. There are points where the restless, multi-sided Ping-Pong match of ideas clouds the clarity of presentation- too many hands in the proverbial cookie jar at once- but more often than not these five players pull things off and come up with a solid consensus.

Compared to the opener “Cooler,” written with pianist Pandelis Karayorgis in mind, is like a gust of fresh air forwarded on Bishop’s gelid trombone and Vandermark’s frosty bass clarinet. The breezy ballad “Late Night Wait Around” dusts off another side of the group where Cool-tinged saxophones meet spidery guitar chords over a bulbous rhythmic repast of bass and brushes. Funk hits the fan on the circular “Roulette,” dedicated to bassist Nat McBride as Mulvenna’s rhythmic suspensions goad the horns into an exclamatory round robin of gritty solos. Pieces penned in honor of William Parker, Per Henrik Wallin, Misha Mengelberg and the mysterious ‘Ex’ (whose I wonder?) follow, with “Accident Happening” (the Parker piece) yielding the most adventurous results in terms of structure and execution.

Taken in sum this offering is as good a place as any to delve into the V5’s shared esthetic and philosophy. And aside from the occasional lapse into compositional excess, which prevents several of the pieces (“Distance,” “Ground”) from holding up as well as they otherwise might, this disc hits on all cylinders delivering another absorbing entry into an already impressive roster of releases.

Tracks:Distance/ The Cooler/ Late Night Wait Around/ Roulette/ Accident Happening/ In Focus/ The Trouble Is/ Ground.

Players:Ken Vandermark- tenor saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet; Jeb Bishop- trombone & guitar; Dave Rempis- alto & tenor saxophones; Kent Kessler- bass; Tim Mulvenna- drums.

Recorded: December 9 & 10, 1999, Chicago, IL.

Atavistic on the web: http://www.atavistic.com

| Record Label: Atavistic Worldwide | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Les Deux Versants Se Regardent CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Molto Bene CD/LP/Track Review Molto Bene
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "Oblique Mirrors" CD/LP/Track Review Oblique Mirrors
by Mark Corroto
Published: April 9, 2016
Read "Fe" CD/LP/Track Review Fe
by James Nadal
Published: August 30, 2016
Read "Joyride" CD/LP/Track Review Joyride
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 27, 2016
Read "Hand In Hand In The Hand Of The Moon" CD/LP/Track Review Hand In Hand In The Hand Of The Moon
by Budd Kopman
Published: May 24, 2016
Read "Vanheusenism: A Tribute to Jimmy Van Heusen" CD/LP/Track Review Vanheusenism: A Tribute to Jimmy Van Heusen
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 2, 2016
Read "Deeper Journey" CD/LP/Track Review Deeper Journey
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 25, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!