Friday, December 28, 2007

Ken Vandermark and Paul Nilsson-Love - Seven (Smalltown Superjazz, 2007)

Multi-reedist Ken Vandermark and drummer Paul Nilsson-Love have performed in a number of groups and contexts over the past decade. In this case, they are all by themselves performing a spontaneous three part improvisation, much like a high-wire act in tandem before a live audience. The first piece is a very long, slow building exploration entitled "First Hit, Second Fall" where the emphasis in the music is on texture. Love uses the entirety of his drum ensemble to develop a great many percussive sounds, and Vandermark responds with slurs, squeaks and squeals, sounding at times like another Chicago legend, Roscoe Mitchell. "Open Too Close" was the highlight of the disc for me, fifteen minutes of unfettered blowing, with each man taking his instrument to the limit. This is "free jazz" for certain, but the two never lose a sense of control over the proceedings and there is a great sense of mutual respect and collaboration throughout. The disc ends with the very brief coda of "Universal Funeral" and rapturous applause of the gathered crowd. This was a solid album of spontaneous creative jazz which ranges from lively, straight from the gut free music to pointillistic and dry abstraction.

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