“Painting is a way of living, that is where the form of it lies.”
– Willem de Kooning
“What Abstract Art Means to Me,” Museum of Modern Art Bulletin, XVIII, No. 3 (Spring 1951).†
Writing from another nameless cafe, this one in Bergen, Norway. Have been working hard with the Brötzmann Chicago Tentet since the 16th, playing concerts nearly every night, lugging the baritone around now with the clarinets; the usual early trains and late nights. But, as always with this band, the music has been incredible. Even if I feel lousy during the day everything’s cool when we walk on stage to play.
The tour started in Berlin on the 16th, and it was the first time this particular lineup worked together, with Per-Åke Holmlander and Johannes Bauer now representing the brass section with Joe McPhee. From the beginning the music really clicked, everything improvised as has been the method since the tour of North America during May of last year. The musicians gave each other room, and even the full ensemble sections had clarity despite the volume on the stage and in the room- an exhilerating start.
Next the band travelled to Hasselt, Belgium to work on a special project that lasted three days, called “Open Circuit.” This program mixed the Tentet members with Belgium musicians: Thomas Olbrechts (alto), Peter Jacquemyn (bass), and Joachim Deville (trumpet /fluglehorn), as well as fellow Chicagoan Kevin Drumm on electronics. There were prepatory discussions amongst the players and small group performances organized from the pool of musicians. For me, the most successful music was played by existing bands- the Brotzmann/McPhee Quartet with Michael Zerang and Kent Kessler, Sonore, and the Tentet concert at the end of the evening on the 20th. Even so, it was great to hear Kevin (who sounded fantastic) and work with some musicians that I knew nothing about beforehand.
© 2020 Ken Vandermark – musician & composer | Disclaimer