142

The Vandermark 5: The Color of Memory

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
"That Was Now," the opener on the two-disc set The Color of Memory, jumps out of the speakers, in a kick ass and take names later mode; and from the perspective of an ear that had never heard this group before—based on this introduction—it struck me as a pared-down Dixieland band pumped up on some serious steroids and a whole bunch of caffeine.

The Vandermark 5 is one of reedman Ken Vandermark's many artistic outlets, featuring Vandermark on reeds (clarinet, bass clarinet, alto saxophone, and there may be more; he and Rempis stretch each ax to its sonic limits, making identification difficult), plus Tim Daisy, drums; Kent Kessler, bass; Dave Rempis, saxophones; and Jeb Bishop, trombone.

Full of fierce rawness—squalling woodwinds and truculent trombone, squawks and honks and howls—the sounds they create on this opening tune seem designed to weed out the faint of heart. There are interludes, taken out of context, that might be called "noise." Indeed, a person of tender years and incurious ears, on a drift through my listening room, called it just that. She should have stuck around...

The sonic seas are calmer on "Suitcase," a loose groove, boppish almost, with some nice bass clarinet/trombone interplay, beautifully "out there," while "Road Work" has a minimalist sound, leading into "Burn Nostalgia (for Art Pepper)," which doesn't sound like Art Pepper's music at all, unless you count the intensity level, which cranks that quality up to a frenetic Pepper squared sound.

In the best possible way, The Color of Memory feels unrehearsed and spontaneous, composed sections juxtaposed with long stretches of fearless, rowdy improvisation. The longest piece here, "Camera (For Edward Weston"), evolves over nearly nineteen minutes from a drifting, lugubrious dirge to a gloriously obstreporous romp.

As new experience, The Color of Memory took a few spins to digest. But it proved a very nourishing meal, the discovery of the year for this listener, a revelation.

Track Listing: CD1: That Was Now (for the Volcano Suns); Suitcase (for Ray Charles, Elvin Jones and Steve Lacy); Road Work (for Merce Cunningham); Burn Nostalgia (for Art Pepper); Chance (for Nina Rota). CD2: Vehicle (for Magnus Broo); Camera (for Edward Weston); Pieces of the Past (for Joseph H. Lewis).

Personnel: Jeb Bishop: trombone; Tim Daisy: drums; Kent Kessler: bass; Dave Rempis: saxophones; Ken Vandermark: reeds.

Title: The Color Of Memory | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Atavistic Worldwide


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read A Night Walking Through Mirrors CD/LP/Track Review A Night Walking Through Mirrors
by Barry Witherden
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Jondo CD/LP/Track Review Jondo
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Jazz Flute Traditions CD/LP/Track Review Jazz Flute Traditions
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Nerve Dance CD/LP/Track Review Nerve Dance
by John Sharpe
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Déjà Vu CD/LP/Track Review Déjà Vu
by Troy Dostert
Published: September 20, 2017
Read Woody Guthrie - The Tribute Concerts CD/LP/Track Review Woody Guthrie - The Tribute Concerts
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 20, 2017
Read "Rediscovered Ellington" CD/LP/Track Review Rediscovered Ellington
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 4, 2017
Read "Loafer's Hollow" CD/LP/Track Review Loafer's Hollow
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 10, 2017
Read "What Time Is It?" CD/LP/Track Review What Time Is It?
by Nicholas F. Mondello
Published: June 10, 2017
Read "Very Early" CD/LP/Track Review Very Early
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 23, 2016
Read "The Evolution Suite" CD/LP/Track Review The Evolution Suite
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 4, 2016
Read "The Moonlight Sessions, Volume 1" CD/LP/Track Review The Moonlight Sessions, Volume 1
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: May 15, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.