Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Tim Daisy and Ken Vandermark - Consequent Duos: series 2a (System vs. Artifacts, 2020)

COVID-19 has wrecked havoc on recording and touring with artists responding in creative and courageous ways. Musician and label head Ken Vandermark is responding by releasing a series of new digital albums on the System vs. Artifacts imprint from his own label, Audiographic Records. This album was recorded in August of 2011 at the Hungry Brain in Chicago, and the music has a high energy feel that crackles in the spontaneous creativity of the overall sound. The music is nearly telepathic in nature as befits longtime collaborators, with Vandermark alternating between saxophones and clarinets and Tim Daisy matching him every step of the way  showing remarkable facility on drums and percussion. They lock in together and develop a series of long, spontaneous improvisation that are rooted in the new thing American free jazz of Albert Ayler and Marion Brown, but also explore the more intellectualized territory blazed by Jimmy Giuffre and Anthony Braxton. The first set consists of three numbered performances, the first one being a very exciting saxophone and drums duet where they are able to build a strong and powerful improvisation that leaps into action quickly and maintains the energy for the length of the performance, easing into some dynamic dips and peaks along the way. They move into a different area on set one track two with Vandermark moving to clarinet, employing some wonderful long looping tones and sweeping curls of sound leading to brief unaccompanied passages and stellar percussive additions to the conversations. Bass clarinet is Vandermark's focus for the first track of the second set, with Daisy using the depth and breadth of his drum kit to urge him into some really interesting places, as the deep hollow sounds of the bass clarinet allows him to achieve some remarkable sounds and musical textures. The second and concluding track of the second set is an extraordinary journey of over twenty minutes with undercurrents of saxophone and gradually building percussion leading to a towering section of scalding saxophone, which sends out massive peals of sound alongside thunderous drumming before gradually easing off with ultimate control, leading to a perfect touchdown. This was an excellent live album, very well recorded at one of the most important landmarks of progressive jazz and improvised music in Chicago. Live performance may be on hold as of this writing, but wonderful archival recordings like this keep the music fresh and allow fans to support the people who create this extraordinary music. Consequent Duos: series 2a - Bandcamp

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