One of the most important projects to complete during December was the new Vandermark 5 recording, this took place with Bob Weston’s assistance at Semaphore on the 19th and 20th of the month. Because it worked so well last year, the quintet started the recording process after finishing a European tour that let us work on the new compositions every night over a period of weeks. Doing this meant we were totally prepared to record before we entered the studio, which allowed us to play with real freedom in what can sometimes be a very artificial environment. The last adjustments to the arrangements were made on our final gig of the tour, in Wels, Austria. There we eliminated a section of backing material under Dave Rempis’ feature during the piece, “New Acrylic” and we removed the drums from the rhythm component supporting Fred Lonberg-Holm’s solo on the ballad “Further From The Truth.”
I don’t think that it was a surprise that the group performed so well over the two days at Semaphore. By being so focused before starting the recording process, we transcended knowing the material, getting to a place where the energy and tension held together throughout the takes, whether the piece was aggressive or introspective in nature. Having had a chance to work with the present lineup for more than a year helped me write more specifically for the unit. As always, the members of the group rose to the challenge, dealing with certain compositions that had been written blindly into new territory, while I questioned the pieces and re-wrote sections of them repeatedly. The creative patience of these musicians is exceptional, and has led the quintet to some of the best work it’s ever put on record.
As always, Bob made improvements on the technical side of the recording process. He used the mic setup employed on the recent Powerhouse Sound session for Tim Daisy’s drums, and he was able to come up with a way to keep the bass sound coming from one amplified source In the studio space; this helped clarify Kent Kessler’s tone as it was recorded to the hard drive. Bob’s continual willingness to re-think the recording process has been a major contribution to the development of my work in the studio.
After finishing up the V5 session on the afternoon of the 20th, Kent and I had concert with Hamid Drake at the Hideout. It was our second DKV Trio gig in the last 6 months- the most work we’ve had together in years. Though the amount of focus and detailed Levitra attention needed during the recording process had pretty much exhausted me, shifting aesthetic gears and getting a chance to play again with Hamid again was inspiration enough to wake up. Having a chance to stretch out over two sets felt great, and the music seemed new, much more than a nostalgic look backward to what we were doing in the 1990’s. In my opinion this was a much stronger concert than the one we played in August, on a double bill with Fred Anderson, Ingebrigt Haker Flaten, and Paul Lytton. Also during the evening, I played a bunch of cuts featuring performances by Lester Bowie and Don Cherry, two of the greatest trumpet players of all time.
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