108

Territory Band: Map Theory

By

Sign in to view read count
Territory Band: Map Theory Ken Vandermark's ongoing Territory Band makes its third appearance on Map Theory, a sprawling and challenging album of six tunes. The large group format (twelve musicians strong) and the crew's like-minded atmosphere make for ample freedoms, producing refreshing music most of the time, with occasional lapses into noise and chaos.

Each of the six originals by Vandermark have dedications to other artists, past and present, as well as one selection, "Framework," for Vandermark's brother Rob, a bicycle manufacturer. The opening tune, "A Certain Light," honors the memory of German bassist Peter Kowald, who passed away unexpectedly in 2002. Sounding like a ragged marching band, the group enters on a pounding, steady beat, then stopping suddenly to improvise over sixteen minutes. Like the rest of the album, there are moments here when the group's liberties astonish and surprise the imagination, with melodies and rhythms in a wild, ever-evolving dialogue.

Movements come and go, moods rest, dissolve, reappear; this is a constant churn of ideas. In this mad dash of thoughts, the group stumbles at times, going too far out, unable to support any true sense of music. This happens to varying degrees on all the songs, except for the album's Gil Evans' dedication, "Towards Abstraction." Here, as with Vandermark's other recent release, Elements of Style... Exercises in Surprise, the music is wound tighter, adhering to recognized roles of melody and rhythm, allowing the strength of his exceptional compositions to shine. These instances make the recipient of the 1999 MacArthur "genius" grant accessible and engaging, unlike other instances, as on "Slides" and "Image as Text," where the disjointed, abstract nature of the improvisations are more self-indulgent than welcoming.

The whole album goes back and forth within these parameters. If you can stomach the fluctuations, Map Theory may well be worth your time.


Track Listing: A Certain Light; Framework; Slide #3; Towards Abstraction; Slides #1; Image as Text.

Personnel: Jeb Bishop: trombone; Axel Drner: trumpet; Per-Ake Holmlander: tuba; Kent Kessler: bass; Fred Lonberg-Holm: cello; Fredrik Ljungkvist, Dave Rempis, Ken Vandermark: saxophones, clarinets; Paul Lytton, Paal Nilssen-Love: drums, percussion; Kevin Drumm: electronics; Jim Baker: piano.

Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Okka Disk | 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 "Dyad Plays Jazz Arias" CD/LP/Track Review Dyad Plays Jazz Arias
by Jerome Wilson
Published: November 12, 2016
Read "Accortet" CD/LP/Track Review Accortet
by John Sharpe
Published: May 25, 2016
Read "Time Is Coming" CD/LP/Track Review Time Is Coming
by Mark Sullivan
Published: June 13, 2016
Read "Metasediment Rock" CD/LP/Track Review Metasediment Rock
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 12, 2016
Read "Carrera Quinta Big Band" CD/LP/Track Review Carrera Quinta Big Band
by Edward Blanco
Published: April 26, 2016
Read "Long After Midnight" CD/LP/Track Review Long After Midnight
by Edward Blanco
Published: June 21, 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!