Thursday, February 18, 2016

DKV Trio - Sound in Motion in Sound (NotTwo Records, 2014)

The DKV Trio is made up of Ken Vandermark on saxophones and clarinets, Kent Kessler on bass and Hamid Drake on drums. They have been playing together in this configuration since 1997, and over those many years have built up a nearly telepathic mode of cooperation with one another and their free improvisations bear this out. In this collection, there are five full sets recorded live in 2012-1013. The concerts are also assigned different properties: Austria (Metal), Poland (Earth), Slovenia (Wood) and the United States (two sets, Fire and Water). I don’t know if these were oblique themes that the musicians were to follow during each set or whether the labels were assigned afterwards, but it is interesting to listen to the set with those things in mind. Regardless of travel headaches, these musicians are willing to take their music around the world and we are indebted to them for doing so and spreading their ideas. Each disc is a set of free improvisation, which has breaks are introduced and markers for listeners to return to a particular position. Each member of the trio is potent on his own way, with Drake's ever shifting and evolving web of percussion and Kessler's deep and thick bass tones. Vandermark developing evanescent melodies in the performance and uses them as springboards for excellent improvisations on a range of reed instruments. These performances show how effectively the band uses dynamics, shifting from loud to soft, and from loud and chaotic free music to open ended abstract passages. Their close listening is the key, reacting to each other in real time, each musician understanding when to take the lead, when to drop put and when to support makes the group become the epitome of a jazz trio, a collective group working together to build colossal collective improvisations, which are extraordinary to hear. It is impossible to pick a concert or a particular performance and say that this one is better than the other since they all are played at a stellar level, and it’s no mean feat playing at this level of consistency while travelling day in and day out. This is one of many ensembles that these musicians are involved in, and it is a very exciting one. Hopefully they will be able to return to this rewarding format soon, because the band is a powerful force on the music scene and great ambassadors for music when they take to the road. This is first rate modern jazz and is highly recommended. Sound In Motion In Sound -

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