Christof Kurzmann – llop | Mark Tokar – double bass | Magnus Broo – trumpet | Per-Ake Holmlander – tuba | Steve Swell – trombone | Tim Daisy – drums | Michael Zerang – drums | Dave Rempis – alto tenor saxophone | Mikolaj Trzaska – alto saxophone, bass clarinet | Ken Vandermark – baritone saxophone, bb clarinet | Waclaw Zimpel – bb, alto clarinet
Recorded by Rafal Drewniany at the Manggha Culture Center, Krakow on November 24, 2013. Mixed by Bob Weston and Ken Vandermark at Chicago Mastering Service. Mastered by Bob Weston at CMS. Inside photo by Krzysztof Penarski. Cover design by Marek Wajda.
Tracklist: ARC ONE 1. section A [5:00] 2. section B [4:44] 3. section C [4:56] 4. section D [2:59] 5. section E [7:57] 6. section F [2:06] 7. section G [9:09] 8. section H [6:05] ARC TWO 9. section A [2:46] 10. section B [4:52] 11. section C [2:31] 12. section D [4:46] 13. section E [2:10] 14. section F [3:19]
The work of composing
rehearsing, and performing Double Arc took place in November, 2013. Now, more than a year and a half later, I am writing the liner notes to complete the last aspect of the project. The extended distance in time between the recording and mixing/mastering of the musi gave me a different perspective toward the material than I have for most albums. Working on now — 19 months after the performance was documented at the Manggha Culture Center in Krakow — what strikes me most is that this piece seems to be my Pierrot le Fou. No insult intende toward Jean-Luc Godard by comparing his work to mine but, as that film can be seen as a such motion of ideas and filmic strategies that he had developed up until that point, Double Arc can be heard as taking similar place within my own creative development.
It is the longest piece I’ve written since Collide, for the Territory Band and Fred Anderson in the summer of 2006. Like that composition, Double Arc features a guest joining an established ensemble- in this case the incomparable Christof Kurzmann performing on lloopp. Over the course of an hour it is possible to hear my interests in the variety of genres that had influenced me most until that stage: soundtracks from American action films of the 1970s (The French Connection [composed by Don Ellis], The Taking of Pelham 123 [composed by David Shire]); the early period of the New York School composers (John Cage, Morton Feldman, Earle Brown, Christian Wolff); the work of the “Midwest School” of improvising composers based in Chicago and St. Louis in the late 1960 through mid 1970s (particularly that of Julius Hemphill); the free jazz of the 1960s (both in America and Europe); 70s funk from the United States, Nigeria, and Ghana; “free improvisation” languages developed in Europe during the 1970s and 80s; the arrangements that Gil Evans created for Mile Davis in the 1 950s. Though unintentional at the time it was composed, hearing Double Arc now with an objectivity provided by the year and a half between its creation and completion, it is evident to me that in many ways Double Arc can be perceived as a collection of genre studies (I am hoping that is also much more than this). it is a concerto written for the creative brilliance of Christof Kurzmann, who did much, much more than rise to the challenges that I presented him. It is the final statment by a collection of outstanding musicians and improvisers who had worked together for more than six years. It is also me, turning around from the front seat of the piece, like Jean-Paul Belmondo, in Pierrot le Fou, looking back at myself and stating, All I think about is fun.” That made it clear to me that its time for the next steps and the next work.
Double Arc is dedicated to Witold Lutoslawski, one of my favorite composers. In the fall of 1989, when I first moved to Chicago from Boston, I was up late one night and alone, listening to his Cello Concerto. On that evening the opening cello pedal and its course of development throughout Lutoslawski’s piece indicated the compositional path I should take was one that constructed material from gestures, not from notes. — KEN VANDERMARK, Chicago, June 15, 2015
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