Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ken Vandermark - Resonance, Discs One & Two (NotTwo, 2009)

Resonance is a set of music that multi-reedist and composer Ken Vandermark worked on in preparation for a concert in Ukraine where he would lead a ten member big band. He stayed in Krakow, Poland for a week beforehand, writing the music and rehearsing the band. The first eight discs in this collection feature freely improvised evening sets that followed the rehearsals at the Alchemia Club in Krakow. For Day One, Set one the group featured Tim Daisy on drums, Dave Rempis on alto saxophone, Mark Tokar on bass, on Yuriy Yaremchuk on soprano sax. This group spotlighted strong swirling saxophones, alto and soprano dueling and supporting each other in wild flights of fancy. Yaremchuk gets curling, keening tones from the soprano, while Rempis responds with deep guttural cries, strong and gutsy. The band uses a loud/soft dynamic to their advantage, using flurries of notes and well spaced swathes of music, building the music to great crescendos of sound. Day One, Set two has Yaremchuk on tenor, soprano saxes and clarinet, Vandermark on baritone saxophone and clarinet, Dave Rempis on tenor saxophone and Mikolaj Trzaska alto saxophone. Vandermark joins in for a four saxophone quartet, building a short wild sounding introductory passage from mountains of swirling air. The improvisation has short choppy phrases, like a conversation spoken in tongues, and echoes of the Sonore group that Vandermark shares with Mats Gustaffson and Peter Brotzmann. The music evolves into staccato machine gun blasts of music followed by stretches of abstract breathy tones. Day One, Set 3 has Michael Zerang on drums, Magnus Broo on trumpet, Per-Ake Holmlander on tuba, Steve Swell on trombone. Lots of brass makes for a more probing and spacious sound. Strutting, sputtering trumpet and trombone over skittering shifting drumwork. Three horns improvise together over the percussion, which seems muted, making for an ominous rolling drums sound. Horn sounds zoom past with a doppler like rising and falling effect. Day Two, Set 1 has Per-Ake Holmlander on tuba, Ken Vandermark on tenor saxophone and clarinet, Mark Tokar on bass, Steve Swell on trombone interesting with the low bass and tuba holding down a big bottom for sax and trombone to improvise over. Spacey with smears of music like a version of impressionism. Resonance - amazon.com

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