Ken Vandermark | Resonance | Not Two Records

Not Two, 2008 | MW 800-1 | LP (vinyl record)

Ken Vandermark (USA) – tenor & baritone saxes, clarinet | Yuriy Yaremchuk (Ukraine) – tenor & soprano saxes, bass clarinet | Mikolaj Trzaska (Poland) – alto sax, bass clarinet | Mark Tokar (Ukraine) – bass | Steve Swell (USA) – trombone | Dave Rempis (USA) – tenor & alto saxes | Per-Âke Holmlander (Sweden) – tuba | Tim Daisy (USA) – drums | Magnus Broo (Sweden) – trumpet | Michael Zerang (USA) – drums, percussion

Tracklist: 1. Off-Set (for Olek Witynski & Jacek Zakowski) 2. The Number 44 (for Anna Czarna Adamska)

The two weeks in Krakow, composing, then rehearsing / performing with this incredible group of musicians was truly one of the great experiences of my life.–  Ken Vandermark


When composing for a group, Ken Vandermark as a rule takes into account factors such as each musician’s approach to improvisation, personal tastes and individual sound. So when he chose to compose for a tentet that included musicians who were virtually an unknown quantity to him – musicians such as Polish saxophonist/clarinetist, Mikołaj Trzaska and the Ukrainian duo, Yuriy Yaremczuk on reeds and Mark Tokar on bass – it could have been seen as a foray into relatively unknown territory. And it was to an extent, although the leader had already forged an intimate understanding with some of the musicians who were involved – percussionist Tim Daisy and saxophonist Dave Rempis are after all fully-fledged members of the Vandermark 5 and Ken has worked with Swedish trumpeter Magnus Broo in the Four Corners project. He is also familiar with the work of tuba player Per-Âke Holmlander and percussionist Michael Zerang as they play together in Peter Brötzmann’s Chicago Tentet. But nobody in the tentet – extraordinarily, given his reputation and work ethic – had previously performed with New York-based trombonist, Steve Swell. Vandermark completed the majority of the arrangements over the six day period before the group arrived. Some of the compositions had been sketched out previously and others were inspired by the atmosphere and people Ken associated with Krakow, the historic old city that has become his second home.

When the musicians arrived, they found themselves immersed in a punishing schedule that started with daily rehearsals that started at 10am – sharp. Although always open to musically justified new ideas, Vandermark called for extraordinary precision in these rehearsals. So it was unsurprising that many of the musicians really let off steam in the freely improvised evening sets that followed the rehearsals. But it didn’t stop there. Many of the musicians espoused sleep after the evening sets in favour of bison-grass-vodka-fuelled discussions about music that lasted well into the night.

At the end of the week, music fans from all over the region flocked to the concerts in Lviv and Krakow that the musicians had been rehearsing for over the preceding five days, one group even chartering a jet from Georgia. At the end of the week, when it was time to say goodbye, the bonds formed between some of the musicians were so strong that some couldn’t contain their tears. But for many of these artists it was adieu rather than farewell as many intend to build on their Resonance experience by collaborating with each again in the future. — Philip Palmer, Jazzwise magazine)


LP version (incl. shipment cost world-wide)

$ 24.00
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One thought on “Ken Vandermark | Resonance | Not Two Records

  1. Ken Vandermark has had a productive relationship with the Polish label Not Two, which put out the 12-disc boxed set of the complete Vandermark 5 at the Alchemia club in Krakow from 2004. The most recent collaboration has resulted in these two vinyl releases.

    The Resonance Ensemble is a 10-piece band that was assembled from Vandermark collaborators from Chicago, New York, Poland, Sweden and the Ukraine (where the 2008 concert featured on this LP was held). One might question how well an ensemble like this might mesh but, surprisingly, the players are remarkably attuned to each other and focused on the compositions. One is featured per side and these pieces aren’t simply blowing vehicles. “Off/Set” starts out with drummers Michael Zerang and Tim Daisy laying down a groove that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Brotherhood Of Breath recording. It subsequently veers into free territory, some strong riffing passages and builds to a rousing conclusion. Even better is “The Number 41”; it starts out sounding like a New Orleans funeral march (with a terrific solo by trumpeter Magnus Broo) before kicking up the tempo for sequences in 5/4 and 6/8 that build to satisfying finish. This is one of the most effective groups in Vandermark’s vast array of projects.

    The second recording is a double LP of the Vandermark 5 recorded at Alchemia in November 2005. The earliest studio recording with Fred Lonberg-Holm’s cello replacing Jeb Bishop’s trombone was A Discontinuous Line from the end of 2006. Four Sides To The Story provides a valuable document of a transitory period for this band. It’s only appropriate that the first sound heard is a drone established by Lonberg-Holm that sets up “Vehicle”. The set is comprised of some older pieces and several tunes that would end up on A Discontinuous Line. What’s surprising is how quickly Lonberg-Holm was integrated into the group. The newer compositions show Vandermark writing harmonies for the unique properties that cello brings to the band, functioning as both a member of the frontline and as part of the rhythm section. These were all issues being worked out in performances like this one. The music is no less rich for it. The band delivers with their typical high energy and there isn’t a shred of tentativeness to the proceedings.

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