Monday, August 28, 2017

DEK Trio - Construct 1: Stone (Audiographic, 2017)

This excellent album features more music from Ken Vandermark's week at The Stone in January 2016, the same run that led to the Momentum boxed set, and this is the first installment in an ambitious three disc collection of music from this potent trio featuring Vandermark on tenor and baritone saxophones plus clarinet, Elisabeth Harnik on piano and Didi Kern on drums and percussion. The group is a dynamic trio that is able to draw upon a wide range of ideas both composed and improvised, and resist categorization, having the freedom to engage with the material as they see fit. There are two lengthy tracks on this album, beginning with "Speed Cable" which makes the most of a fast paced free jazz blowout. The music is upbeat and dynamic with Vandermark mostly on tenor saxophone blowing billowing gales of raw and exciting sound while embracing and challenging the percussive and skittering piano and propulsive drumming. The track unfolds in an organic way, with Vandermark switching instruments to add flavor and color to the music, and the collective improvisation evolves in the same manner, developing dynamically with sections for piano and percussion, but most excitingly, the trio locking in as a whole and playing driving and thrilling modern jazz. All three instruments are able to jump into a stream of fast, loud and joyous playing and develop deeply expressive and unique music. The drums and piano are played in a fractured and fluctuating style and Vandermark's saxophone is rough hewn and brawny. The second track, "Stop the Clock," goes in a different direction, with Harnik inventively using extended techniques on the piano to get unique and diverse sounds that meet with spare and ominous percussion and low bellows of reeds. The music is able to weave together quieter and spacier sections, with waves of sound, including sections for solos and duets in addition to the full trio. The music builds a very interesting approach to the texture of the music, dropping into some more straightforward improvising, and then shifting into music that becomes a collection unexpected sounds and that develop and move in an animated fashion that keeps the lengthy improvisation consistently interesting and compelling. This album works very well, with the music well suited to the players and the musicians responding with inspired playing, addressing the music with complete authority. Construct 1: Stone - Bandcamp.

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