Sunday, October 30, 2016

The DKV Thing Trio - Collider (NotTwo Records, 2016)

It would be harder to imagine a more potentially more explosive modern jazz lineup then Ken Vandermark on tenor and baritone saxophones and Bb clarinet, Hamid Drake on drums, Kent Kessler on bass, Mats Gustafsson on tenor on baritone saxophones, Ingebrigt Haker Flaten on bass and Paal Nilssen-Love on drums. Thankfully the music lives up to all of the lofty expectations. These musicians have been playing together in varying formations for nearly two decades and it is that empathy and mutual respect that this music is built upon. The album was recorded at Manggha Hall in Krakow on November 1st, 2014, and there are three long collective improvisations that are attributed to all members of the group equally. Both The Thing and The DKV Trio have their own manner of playing developed over many concerts and albums, but there is no sense of parochialism, and everyone subsumes their ego and works for the greater good. "Cards" opens the album explosively with echoes of John Coltrane's Ascension and Ornette Coleman's Free Jazz as templates, and the group is able to work very well as a cohesive unit, allowing little motifs to develop and exploring them and interacting with each other in a vigorous fashion. The two reed players develop rich and meaty sounds which develop into the lengthy "Moving Map" where the musical landscape has an enormous amount of territory available and the band makes the best of it by moving dynamically from loud to soft and from intense to abstract. The textures that the musicians are able to create make the concluding performance, "Left and Left Again" so impressive. The amount of nuance that the bassists and drummers are able to bring to the music is something that makes the music so exciting. They are able to have a sense of rhythmic drive that is at once loose yet integrated at an almost molecular level. This was a very exciting and thoroughly successful recording, featuring six of the best musicians in modern jazz playing at the height of their powers. Collider - amazon.com

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