Sunday, January 11, 2009

DVD's: Ken Vandermark - Musician (Facets Video, 2008), 4 Corners - Alive in Lisbon (Clean Feed, 2008)

These two films show different sides multi reedist and composer Ken Vandermark. The Musician DVD is part of the "Work" series that shows different people going through all of the facets of their jobs. Ever wonder what the life of an improvising musician was like? Well, if Musician is any indication, it's an awful lot of grunt work like traveling, logistics, composing and rehearsing with a few moments of thrilling live performance. This film gives a look at all the planning and hard work that goes into making music and making a living. There's also some really hot footage of Vandermark performing with different ensembles. The 4 Corners DVD is a concert video from the Clean Feed label's home base in Lisbon, Portugal. This is a great band with Vandermark collaborating with Mangus Broo on trumpet, Adam Lane on bass and Paul Nilsson-Love on drums. The musicians play very well together and it makes sense because they have played with each other for years in this group and others. This is a very nice hour long concert which checks free jazz, strong hard bop and abstract improvisation. The concert was very well filmed with multiple camera angles providing close ups of soloists and deeper shots of the band improvising together. Both of these DVD's were quite good, and will be enjoyed by fans of exciting modern jazz.

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