Sunday, July 20, 2014

Audio One - An International Report (Audiographic Records, 2014)

Saxophonist, clarinetist and composer Ken Vandermark surely must be the hardest working man in the jazz business. In addition to booking tours with a multitude of groups he has somehow found time to start a new record label and introduce another group, Audio One. Consisting of some of the best talent from the fertile Chicago jazz scene, this is a ten piece band that swings and squalls like mad. "Encyclopedia of a Horse" leads off the album with vibes orbiting electric bass before a strong ripping bolt of saxophone courses across the sky. After an interlude of eerie viola the full band returns with a furious epic blast off. Heavy riffs introduce "Two Way Street" as smaller splinter groups trade punches back and forth. Vibes and percussion shine, building a deep rhythm made all the more poignant with the sustained ringing of the mallets. There is a area for different sections of reeds and brass before it all comes back to vault a scalding tenor saxophone solo that is gruff, fast, raw and over the top exciting. The epic "Atlas of Madness" opens with Vandermark's deep baritone saxophone plumbing the depths, then joined by more reeds, similar to one of his other bands, the equally wonderful Sonore. Soon the band moves in hard, directing traffic to and fro before stopping on a dime for a section of bass and vibes. Special mention must be made of vibraphonist Jason Adasiewicz who is seemingly everywhere these days and is an integral part of this recording. He adds bright raindrops of notes, clearing the path for a caustic and thrilling saxophone solo which acts a cleansing for the soul. Funky electric bass heralds "The Floor" before the whole mass of iron hons stomp down shattering the scene with monumental riffs - imagine early Black Sabbath playing jazz and you get the idea. This mythic sludge-jazz launches some fantastic solos and shows that a full frontal progressive big band that can move from a massive booty-shake to a dynamic improvising unit at will. This was a wonderful album and introduces a very exciting band the succeeds in having a true discourse between composed and improvised music and has a grand time doing it. An International Report - bandcamp

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