Ken Vandermark : Raw and Refined



AAJ-e: Do you have any thoughts on diminishing radio airplay of adventurous musicians in the U.S.? And is the internet poised to take over radio’s former role as a key to exposure?

KV-e: I would say that for the last several years the source of information for improvised music that has been growing the most has been found on the internet. Mainstream jazz periodicals have not been covering adventurous music represented by independent labels in any serious way or on a regular for quite a while, and mainstream/public radio has also been quite limited in representing this side to what’s happening culturally. Most of my music is played on college radio in the United States and I’m extremely thankful for their support.

AAJ-e: Just for fun, Ellery Eskelin’s band with Andrea Parkins and Jim Black was once described as being the Beatles of jazz (personally I think Pink Floyd might be more appropriate). To extending the analogy, and considering the Vandermark 5’s light and shade-like dynamics, would it be fair to say the Vandermark 5 is the Led Zeppelin of improvised music?

KV-e: Is this regarding our drinking habits or the way we dress?

– Interview conducted by Shawn McGrew for, March 13th 2006


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