27 December 2007


I know already that this trip with Ab, Wilbert, and Martin will be one of the greatest tours through music I’ll ever be involved with. The amount I learned, from instrumental issues (have since completely changed my ligature set up on all the horns after watching and discussing this issue with Ab) to compositional strategies (register placement, voicings, intervals, counterpoint), to creative attitude (these guys INVESTIGATED the music EVERY gig), to tour logistics (how to make one nighters make sense by sequencing them in a line instead of criss-crossing across the continent each day…), will stick with me forever. It was hard to leave for London on the 23rd, and to say goodbye to Wilbert and Martin after our last dinner together. At best, it will be a long while before we get to work again as a quartet; the next year is already booked for all of us.

Things concluded with one more night at Krom with Ab and Ig, listening to the Monk and other 45s that had been switched or added since we left the Netherlands for the rest of Europe on the 7th of October. A number of the regulars had heard us play the night before at the Bim and had been thrilled by the music, which felt really good to hear. The next morning came too early as usual; time for one more cup of Ab’s coffee at the small table by the window in his apartment, then a taxi to the airport. I arrived early in the day in London, took the tube into the city and went to the student apartment that had been set up for me. There I dropped off my luggage and horns, and walked around the neighborhood to kill some time before meeting Andrew Morgan for dinner to discuss our upcoming project with his compositions and my improvisations. I came across a design store, filled with books and items connected to architecture and typography. Among the magazines I saw Daido Moriyama’s face staring back at me and I knew at that moment that a certain aspect of the autumn was now done.

-Ken Vandermark, Chicago, 12/24/07

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