Thursday, October 25, 2012

Platform 1 Takes Off, with Ken Vandermark and Steve Swell

Platform 1? The name of a very lively "free jazz" quintet. Platform 1 Takes Off (Clean Feed 255) is the name of what I take to be their first CD as a unit.

It's Magnus Broo on trumpet, Steve Swell on trombone, Ken Vandermark on tenor and clarinet, Michael Vatcher, drums, and Joe Williamson on bass. All but Vatcher contribute compositions for the outing, and they have a memorable head blast off quality.

The rhythm section is loose and first-rate. The front line gives us extroverted improvisational joy and collective madness of the best sort. Swell and Vandermark come though as expected with their well-developed artistry. Magnus Broo holds his own among them.

It's a beautifully performed set of modern, cutting edge avant improv. Those who know these folks from past haunts will not be disappointed; those coming to this music for the first time, with a little patience, will find themselves digging in and digging the sounds, I certainly think. Yes!


  1. I will probably pick this one up, mostly for Vandermark and Broo, but I admit that I have started to think of Swell as a one-trick pony, you know, madman on the bone sort of thing. I've seen Steve a bunch of times and have a number of his CDs; he needs to reassess his performance. Going nuts on trombone at specified intervals is not art.

  2. Not sure what albums you've listened to but I would draw your attention, for example, to some of the more chamber-jazz-like offerings Steve has done for Cadence and CIMP for another side of his playing. With a prolific recording artist like Swell it's possible to by chance get a little overexposed to a particular aspect of an artist. He has many sides, to my mind. Thanks for your comment.