5 June, 2004


FME continued to Barcelona for two concerts, another great opportunity to present the music for more than one night in the same city. As I’ve stated before, it’s my wish is to make multiple performances in one location the standard way of operating for the bands I work with. Having two chances to do so just this spring is a sign of the great potential for this method of performance. Throughout the tour, which also took us to Austria, Germany and Slovenia, the group played to fantastic audiences and worked on five new pieces (“Reset And Recall,” “Slip,” “Necessary?” “Sentence,” and “Boadas”) which we’ll record in conjunction with more new compositions during our tour in Scandinavia this fall. The only real disappointment on this trip was the fact that we didn’t have copies of “Underground” to sell while on the road, thanks to the assistance of Federal Express who delivered the new album late and then stranded it in Salzburg during the middle of the tour. On a brighter note, FME continued to develop its aesthetics on each concert, and there were many extraordinary moments during the series. For example, during our final concert in Cerkno, Slovenia the Gabriejel jazz festival was hit with a day of heavy rain while we played under a tent outdoors. It was cold enough on stage that Paal’s fingers were turning white. We decided to play without a PA and the audience responded with complete attention. During the composition, “Teatr,” Nate cued a pause in the course of an improvisation between the drums and baritone, and nothing was heard but a long arco bass chord and the rain coming down on the roof of the tent; for a moment everything stopped: quite beautiful and unexpected.

So now, on to June. Primarily, the month is focused on the double bill tour of the Vandermark 5 and Atomic in North America. These concerts begin in Chicago at the Green Mill on the weekend of June 11th and 12th. The V5 are releasing a new album on Atavistic, “Elements Of Style/Exercises In Surprise,” in conjunction with the tour. Its first pressing will be a limited edition with a bonus cd, “Free Kings,” featuring the music of Roland Kirk. Eleven of his compositions were rearranged for the band and recorded during concerts in Chicago at the Empty Bottle and the Green Mill. The Scandinavian group, Atomic, will also have copies of their nearly impossible to find releases from the label Jazzland during this trip, so bring your cash and leave the concerts with a fist full of music.

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