6/29: Tim and I continue to Knoxville for a show at the Pilot Light. For the first set Tim and I are off in our communication, usually the ideas are completely clear and easy to work towards or against. We got right back on track from the start of the second set. I’ve been trying to learn to let the process go and not force it, proven through the Tentet and Sonore experiences with Peter, and by doing this, the music took care of itself. Stayed with our friends Van and Margaret Walker; his new paintings looked quite excellent and he’s been selling his work- good news and a good time.
6/30: The next night we played our first double bill, in Richmond, VA at a new spot called The Camel. The other group was called Glows In The Dark, mostly younger players from the area working with original music. Good to see that people are dealing with their own music outside of just the major cities and that receptive people are coming out to listen to it.
7/1: From Richmond to Charlotte, a gig on a Sunday night in the back of a vintage furniture store on a double bill with the Eastern Seaboard. There wasn’t much room among all the old couches, so Tim only set up the Jazz kit and added some extra percussion to it. The place filled up before the guys in Eastern Seaboard started and stayed after they finished so, despite my initial expectations, it turned out to be a nice evening of music.
7/2: My first gig in Athens, GA in quite some time, two strong sets at the Flicker Theater. I have to admit that I prefer to play as a single band, not on double or triple bills. Getting two sets to work is important, you can develop a way to deal with the acoustics of the room, get an impression of the audience and the way they listen, and have another go at the music and recover from a bad stretch (as we did in Knoxville) if necessary. As the tour progressed, Tim and I dug deeper and broadened the musical parameters we were dealing with. The music during the tour was really extraordinary, we developed a structural approach to open improvisation- building pieces from the ground up and organizing them compositionally despite the fact that we were not working off of a preliminary script.
7/3: We hit Columbia, SC, staying with Tim’s friend Ross Taylor, who is also the organizer of the show. The concert took place in a recital hall at the University of South Carolina, where we played to the largest crowd of the tour. After having so many good shows in a row I was a bit apprehensive that we’d be off target at this performance, particularly since it was going to be recorded. Things stayed on course, however, and we played one of the best concerts of the tour, earning an encore in the process. Tim continued to play incredibly well, in addition to doing all the driving and organizing. Other than buying the two of us coffee while traveling, I had it pretty damn easy!
© 2020 Ken Vandermark – musician & composer | Disclaimer