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Collide is Ken Vandermark's sixth release for his transatlantic small big band (or is it a large small group?) of American jazz meets European improvisers. Unlike the prior sessions, this disc is comprised of a single composition, divided into five parts.
The Territory Band has, at its core, players who execute Vandermark's writing with a satisfying proportion of improvised and ensemble playing that has as its contemporaries bands like the Brötzmann Tentet, the ICP Orchestra, and Barry Guy's LJCO. Vandermark has always acknowledged these bands, but this recording brings to mind another band that had ties to his Chicago scene. The music heard on Collide is solidly in the tradition of Sun Ra's vision.
The five-part composition, recorded live in 2006 at Chicago's Millennium Park, opens with a spirited swing. This kind of acknowledgment to jazz history finds Axel Doerner playing some blues-inflected trumpet over the composed parts, only to open things up to the strings of cellist Fred Longberg-Holm and guitarist David Stackenäs. Certainly the crowd felt the groove as saxophonist Fred Anderson strolled into "Part 2, and we hear his signature tenor sound blowing huge notes. The world twists in an odd direction with Lasse Marhaugs electronic accompaniment, a sort of burning electronics akin to a G.X. Jupitter-Larsen' deconstruction. The tradition has morphed, as suddenly the group's swinging is challenged by the digital future. Never fear, the composed section and its beat returns. Anderson deals with the electronics and the ensemble, soloing in front and over the energy systems created.
Part 4 is the culmination of the piece, with the band working at full strength. Vandermark's composition is tested, expanded, and driven hard here. To his credit the music, held together by dual percussionists Paul Lytton and Paal Nilssen-Lovem, is never confused nor does it dissolve into chaos. The last part opens with the drummers calling the session to conclusion. The music churns, not unlike a Brötzmann Tentet, but the true spirit is that of Sun Ra and his love of all things ceremonial. Did the musicians have the urge to parade through the audience carrying Fred Anderson on their shoulders? I bet they did.
Track Listing: Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5.
Personnel: Axel Doerner: trumpets; Per-Ňke Holmlander: tuba; Lasse Marhaug: electronics; Paul Lytton: percussion; Paal Nilssen-Love: percussion; Jim Baker: piano; Fredrik Ljungkvist: baritone, tenor; Fred Anderson: tenor saxophone; Dave Rempis: alto saxophone, tenor saxophone; Ken Vandermark: tenor saxophone, Bb clarinet; Kent Kessler: bass; Fred Longberg-Holm: cello; David Stackenšs: guitars.
I was first exposed to jazz when I was studying at the University of Puerto Rico. Nearby, I found a little record shop where the music coming from the store (Taller de Jazz Don Pedro) made me stop. I walked down the short stairs and towards the music and learned that the music playing was Clifford Brown and Max Roach
I was first exposed to jazz when I was studying at the University of Puerto Rico. Nearby, I found a little record shop where the music coming from the store (Taller de Jazz Don Pedro) made me stop. I walked down the short stairs and towards the music and learned that the music playing was Clifford Brown and Max Roach. I fell in love with it. I wondered around until the owner (Pedro Soto) asked if I needed help. He then introduced me to John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Gerry Mulligan and the rest is history. I walked out of the store with my first jazz recording: Clifford Brown and Max Roach at Basin Street.