187

Bridge 61: Journal

Chris May By

Sign in to view read count
Bridge 61: Journal Ken Vandermark plays rather like William Burroughs and Jack Kerouac wrote in the heat of their automatic writing experiments. Each writer would consume industrial quantities of recreational drugs—mainly speed and psilocybin, a Jedi-only combination with the kick of mule—sit down at a typewriter, and become the conduit for a best-selling masterpiece which would write itself, allowing the author to retire rich, young and relatively healthy. It was an attractive strategy, but unfortunately it never worked out. The writing was drivel.

Vandermark's music, however, is far from drivel. He shares the energy and abandon that Burroughs and Kerouac must have brought to their all-night sessions—and coincidentally, "29 Miles Of Black Snow" on this disc is dedicated to Jackson Pollock, some of whose alcohol-fueled canvasses approximated automatic writing—but there is structure and internal development in his improvising, as well as virtuosic musicianship. The music is wild and passionate and in-the-moment, but it's coming from deep inside him, built on solid foundations.

Bridge 61, Vandermark's latest project, is something of a replacement for the currently hiatus-bound Spaceways Incorporated, a vehicle for Vandermark's strange and twisted groove-centric playing. Bassist Nate McBride is onboard from Spaceways Inc., joined by V5 drummer Tim Daisy and newcomer Jason Stein on bass clarinet.

The grooves, which are imaginative and potent, are drawn in the main from blues and funk. Occasionally, as on the closer, "Shatter," dedicated to the great free and astral jazz guitarist Sonny Sharrock, the source is out-and-out rock. However mutated and deconstructed they get (which is usually severely), they remain intensely visceral. They're also full of dynamic contrast, frequently morphing between tumultuous and tumescent, and cool and lyrical, several times during the course of a tune (the average duration of which is about nine minutes).

Vandermark is at his dervish best, not only on the tenor but also on his more recent acquisition, the baritone. He brings an attack to the instrument which is often lacking, replaced by the impact of lumbering jello (it's a big and stubborn brute of a horn). He also plays some clarinet (the skittish "A=A/b=b" is lovely). Stein is exhilarating, a young master of his fiendishly difficult horn, and a brilliant foil and partner in bacchanalia for Vandermark. Stein is a player to look out for.

A majestic and triumphant album.

Visit Ken Vandermark on the web.


Track Listing: Various Fires (For This Heat); Superleggera; Atlas; Nothing's New; 29 Miles Of Black Snow; A=A/b=b; Dark Blue, Bright Red; Shatter.

Personnel: Ken Vandermark: tenor and baritone saxophones, clarinet; Jason Stein: bass clarinet; Nate McBride: acoustic and electric bass; Tim Daisy: drums.

Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Atavistic Worldwide | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 26, 2017
Read This Is Nate Najar CD/LP/Track Review This Is Nate Najar
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Joy Comes Back CD/LP/Track Review Joy Comes Back
by James Nadal
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Apocalypse CD/LP/Track Review Apocalypse
by Julian Derry
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read "Six By Five" CD/LP/Track Review Six By Five
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 11, 2016
Read "Magic Peterson Sunshine" CD/LP/Track Review Magic Peterson Sunshine
by Tyran Grillo
Published: May 7, 2016
Read "Blue Innuendo" CD/LP/Track Review Blue Innuendo
by Edward Blanco
Published: May 14, 2016
Read "One for Marian" CD/LP/Track Review One for Marian
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: June 14, 2016
Read "Discoveries on Tracker Action Organs" CD/LP/Track Review Discoveries on Tracker Action Organs
by John Eyles
Published: January 21, 2017
Read "La vie commence ici" CD/LP/Track Review La vie commence ici
by Tyran Grillo
Published: April 20, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

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!