6/14: Fred Lonberg-Holm and I played a duo improvisation along with a short experimental film using old train footage as part of the Onion City Film Festival. Difficult to feel like we’re more than background music, but worthwhile to try.
6/17: The Vandermark 5 record the “New York Suite” with Amos Scattergood during the afternoon at the Hideout. I wasn’t satisfied with the performances we documented at the Green Mill in April; I was overly ambitious about what we could learn and then perform in just a few days. This time we were completely prepared and got 80 percent of the material with a first take. I will mix these pieces with Amos in August and this material will be released as a bonus disk with the first 1500 copies of the next studio V5 album, to be released at the start of next year.
6/20: I played with Nate McBride and Tim Daisy at the Hideout, performing great compositions by Roland Kirk, Ornette Coleman, Sun Ra, and Sonny Rollins. For the first time in nearly two months I had a chance to do a concert with all four horns, which was a real pleasure. So was the chance to play these pieces in a trio format with Nate and Tim. In addition, I spun Jazz recordings featuring the clarinet as it’s been used since the Bebop period all night. In every way, a happy evening.
6/25: Went to the Downtown Music Gallery show at Gallery 37 to listen to a fantastic new group led by the drummer Frank Rosaly and who played a set of his compositions. The instrumentation read very Third Stream, but the music was completely vital and non-academic. The musicians included Jaime Branch (trumpet), Kyle Bruckman (oboe/English horn), Kevin Davis (cello), and James Falzone (clarinet), with Frank playing drums. The pieces were long in form and each dealt with different and specific ideas. Frank informed me that the band was going record for Delmark the next day, and I heard later from members of the ensemble that the session went extremely well. Keep your eyes out for the recording, this was truly one of the best sets of music that I’ve heard in the last year.
6/27: I played early recordings from the AACM and British improvisation scenes, comparing their common interests in introspective and extended sounds, at a Hideout concert featuring four bassists: Josh Abrams, Ingebrigt Haker Flaten, Kent Kessler, and Nate McBride. Very fine music, each player working in acoustic duo, trio, and quartet combinations. Chicago has become home to some of the best bass players in the world, and hearing the individuality of these four musicians while they worked side by side underscored that point and suggested that a number of other bassists could have also participated.
6/28: Tim Daisy and I left Chicago in a van to begin a duo tour of the Southeast of the United States. Our first concert took place at the ironically titled Icehouse, in the heat and humidity of Lexington, Kentucky. Through regular touring over the last couple of years, Tim has been building an audience along the course of locations that we would be playing on this trip, and I’m sure that because of this we played to a full house on our first show. Tim brought two completely contrasting drum kits, one a standard jazz set up, the other more suited to new music percussion. These sets coupled with the four horns- tenor, baritone, Bb and bass clarinets- gave us a huge pallet of sounds to explore despite the fact that there was just the two of us in the group. We took advantage of these sonic possibilities throughout the tour. One organizational difference for this trip was that we pressed 200 copies of a duo release, called “August Music,” specifically for the tour, to sell only at those concerts and at later gigs. This experiment was the first attempt to resolve the issue of having merchandise to sell on tour to help cover expenses in a world where nearly everything is obtainable online. Major kudos go to Ross Compton for all the creative music he has brought to Lexington over the last several years!
© 2020 Ken Vandermark – musician & composer | Disclaimer