Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Ken Vandermark's Avant Big Band

One thing you can depend upon from tenorman Ken Vandermark's many projects, and that is a great variety of settings and ultra-solid musical performances. Such is true of his recent vinyl-only release, Resonance (Not Two). For this live date recorded in the Ukraine, Ken assembled a crack outfit of ten pieces, including the always incredible Steve Swell on trombone and out journeyman Dave Rempis on alto and tenor saxes.

This is music of a boisterously out bent, with arranged moments, collective improvisations and solo spots of concisely focused expression, often with arranged backdrops. There are two long pieces, one for each side, and they both maintain interest.

Resonance is the sort of recording that will convince you of its importance the moment you listen to it. Ken Vandermark has been an instrumentalist, composer and leader at the top of his game for at least a decade. Anyone who wants to further explore the outer orbits of improvisation should check him out. Resonance is a great one to start with, or to continue to appreciate his music. It comes with a cool poster, too. The vinyl pressing is virgin and sounds terrific.

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