Monday, December 25, 2017

DKV Trio - Latitude 41.88 (Not Two Records, 2017)

The DKV Trio is made up of Ken Vandermark on saxophone and clarinet, 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 improvisations on this album bear this out, and this album is another excellent entry in their growing discography. Recorded in concert in December of 2014 by in Milwaukee, the album begins with "Faster Than It Would Be" which has raw saxophone colliding with powerful drumming to form a ferocious collective improvisation. The performance features deep and rending saxophone, rumbling bass and tumbling percussion, resulting in a very exciting and precision tooled free improvisation. Small motifs pop up that are expounded upon, clawing their way forward with thick bass and dark, sharp edged tenor saxophone leading the charge. They develop a funky section that seems to draw from Blue Note hard bop with lusty saxophone blowing hard over swinging rhythm. Drake moves to the front for a very impressive and always evolving drum solo, his playing as fresh and compelling as ever. This band is so attuned to the history of jazz, from swing to free, and are able to move with such grace, that they their sound grown gradually and almost imperceptibly, allowing the music to flow in a fluid and thoughtful manner. "20th Century Myth" features Drake's rolling and skittering drums to set the tone, played with lithe dexterity and making use of the entire drum set, developing a fascinating rhythm in a masterful and generous manner. Saxophone and bowed bass glide in respectfully, opening to an unaccompanied section for saxophone, sliding through the air in a quiet and graceful manner. The other two instruments return developing a symmetrical relationship between the players and their improvisation, building to a passionate group section lending their energies to a lean and muscular collective improvisation. Squalls of torrential saxophone are met with a massive foundation of undulating bass and drums, played with a malleability that allows for the maximum amount of freedom for the musicians. Vandermark moves to clarinet on "Uncontrolled Writer," playing looping passages that swoop like a gull riding the wind, with a sound is intricate and you can hear the drawing of breath and the movement of the air through the instrument, joined by subtle bass and drums in a quiet and spacious improvisation. It's an intimate setting with the gentlest rhythm and soft bass, proving they are as adept at playing quietly as loudly. Vandermark returns to saxophone and the pace starts to increase, while the volume is still relatively low. The level of interaction and listening is high, keeping the proceedings fresh and interesting during the long running length, which includes a spacious and well articulated bass solo. The trio reconvenes developing a fresh and forceful approach that pushes through to the conclusion of this very impressive and most rewarding album. Latitude 41.88 -

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