Sunday, August 15, 2004

Ken Vandermark

Vandermark sent out the following update to people on his mailing list. I couldn't find a direct link to this, so here is the full text - it's pretty interesting:

Hello Listeners-
Sorry for this late posting, was hoping to send Notes for July and August, but too much happened too quickly to keep up to date. So while having this minute while on vacation preparing for the upcoming SONORE tour in North America and the next TERRITORY BAND material, I thought I'd send this recap of the final work in the first half of 2004 and let you know about the first projects for the second half of this year.


Most of June and half of July was focused on the VANDERMARK 5 tour with ATOMIC in the United States, gigs in Canada by the V5 at the end of that tour, and the recording with Bob Weston at Semaphore in Chicago at the conclusion of that road work. The trip with ATOMIC was pretty incredible. Starting with the first concerts in Chicago on the 11th and 12th of June, each band would play a set, then a third set would take place with various combinations of musicians taken from both groups. In two weeks of shows neither band performed the same program, and in the third combinative set the lineup was never repeated- a ton of different music was heard on those nights by the members of the groups and the few audience members that could make more than one show. The VANDERMARK 5 focused on playing compositions from the new album, ELEMENTS OF STYLE/EXERCISES IN SURPRISE, and brand new pieces in order to prepare for the next recording (which took place on the 10th and 11th of July). Since the V5 had three weeks to tour the group played in a number of new places, particularly in the Midwest, which was fantastic- always great to bring the music somewhere different. Unfortunately, ATOMIC couldn't stay for the whole tour, finishing in Baltimore on the 26th. To be on the road and listen to that band play every night will be something I won't forget. Their music was open and exhilarating, and really inspired me. Everybody in that band, Haavard Wiik, Fredrik Ljungkvist, Ingebrigt Haker Flaten, Paal Nilssen-Love, and Magnus Broo, played their hearts out at every performance. And to be honest, Magnus took my head off EVERY night- so amazing to hear trumpet attacked like that. ATOMIC means soul!

The first half of 2004 meant a lot of work for the V5, a long tour in Europe in March, a long tour in North America in June/July, recording Roland Kirk material in Chicago during February, recording live in Krakow in March, recording a new album for Atavistic in July. I brought in demanding compositions and arrangements that asked a lot from all the members of the group, and as usual they delivered music of the highest order both in their interpretations of the scores and in their improvising. Thanks to all of them: Jeb, Tim, Dave and Kent. We have three shows in August, one in Chicago; one in Mulhouse, France; one in Groningen, Holland; and that's it for at least a year- the biggest break in the band's existence. I can't say that I look forward to it, but we've got to do it. The band's recording session with Bob Weston at the board felt like it was the most successful time we've ever spent in the studio. Almost every composition was a first take, the tour meant the band was incredibly prepared and we weren't burned out, the music was kinetic and inspired. I am not sure how the music will be released, too much successful music was caught on tape for one cd: two versions of ROAD WORK, one each of CAMERA, PIECES OF THE PAST, VEHICLE, THAT WAS NOW, SUITCASE, BURN NOSTALGIA, CHANCE. Maybe a double cd?

After the VANDERMARK 5 recording session I headed to Molde Jazz Festival in Norway to perform with ATOMIC/SCHOOL DAYS and FREE FALL. Haavard Wiik was the "Artist In Residence" at the festival a proved why he deserved to be so- he is truly one of the great pianists of this time period and he's not even 30 years old yet! The ATOMIC/SCHOOL DAYS concert was packed and the audience was so enthused we needed to play three encores. The FREE FALL show was the last of the first half of the year for me, now I'm in the middle of a month break from performing. The time is being spent resting and studying, getting ready for the second half of the year, especially the composing necessary for the TERRITORY BAND-4 project which takes place in Chicago during the September. In the first part of that month the reed trio, SONORE (Peter Br√∂tzmann, Mats Gustafsson, myself), goes on tour in North America. Our tour in Europe last October was one of the highlights of 2003 for me, and I expect this chance to bring our music to this side of the ocean will one of the highlights of this year. We‚ll be be traveling by van with Amos Scattergood who will drive and record the shows, and probably a dozen saxophones and clarinets. Check the web site for the itinerary, the full tour will be posted shortly!

In July the DUAL PLEASURE 2 was released by smalltownsupersound. A double cd of live and studio performances made by Paal Nilssen-Love and myself in Oslo last fall. I think the music could be fairly described as EXPLOSIVE. Plans are in the works for a European tour next spring, I will keep you posted! In time for the SONORE tour and the TERRITORY BAND-4 performances Okka Disk will be releasing two new albums by those groups, NO ONE EVER WORKS ALONE by SONORE and MAP THEORY (as a double cd) by the TERRITORY BAND-3. The music for the SONORE cd comes from the last concert of our European tour in October, 2003, in Cologne, Germany. MAP THEORY was recorded in September of 2002 and I am extremely happy that this music is being released now and in time for the band getting back together for more work.

Keep your eyes and ears posted on the site, new music and new texts are set for release, most of which can't be found anywhere else. I will be starting a new set of communications on the COLLABORATIONS section called Postcards, short updates of ideas and events from the road. Lastly, check out the ALL ABOUT JAZZ web site, I will be the artist in residence for the month of August, posting the column Defining Terms and answering questions. Look forward to seeing you when I return to concerts later this month, wherever you are!

Until then, keep listening-
Ken Vandermark, August 8, 2004.


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