20 September 2007


After the premier, time was spent completing the mix on the “New York Suite” with Amos Scattergood and rehearsing with the Frame Quartet to finish work on two new compositions for the band, “Thread” and “M.E.S.” It took a lot of time to complete, but the end result of the Vandermark 5 performance on the Suite compositions came out very, very well. The length of the music runs at around 50 minutes, by far the longest set of related material the group has ever tackled. In order: the “Painters” section is most “Jazz-like;” the “Composers” portion is perhaps the most experimental and features the electronic work of Fred Lonberg-Holm; the “Improvisers” segment concludes the suite and is the longest and most involved, it includes four themes and varies in mood from ballad to aggressive free time. I look forward to the disks inclusion on the initial pressing of “Beat Reader” for Atavistic, it will provide an exciting set of contrasts to the studio sessions we did with Bob Weston.

The Frame Quartet rehearsals went very well, and the new pieces really seemed to work. I was somewhat frustrated by our level of success on the performance at the Velvet Lounge earlier in August and wanted to come to the gig at the Hideout on the 29th with far more preparation. The initial book of compositions I wrote for the band, when the ensemble went on tour in Europe during January, dealt with the group considered as a series of pairs, two members as primary improvisers and two members as primary “structuralists.” The new material was put together differently, “Thread” features soloists against different backgrounds and “M.E.S.” focuses on trio combinations. Overall, the show at the Hideout was strong. We played all six of the pieces in the catalog, which really stretched the concentration levels to the limit. I wanted to perform everything we had in front of an audience in order to prepare for a concert in Milwaukee that was to take place a few days later, on the 1st of September at the Cactus Club. This didn’t take place because the venue failed to get its license to open in time, so the band ended up having the night off. Two canceled gigs in ten days, a new and unfortunate record.

Despite the fact that there wasn’t a concert it was still great to be back in Milwaukee, go to their art museum and visit Bruno Johnson of Okka Disk at his bar, the Palm Tavern, with my family who was in town visiting from out East. In any case, the primary reason we were in town was to be at Adrienne Pierluissi’s art opening on Sunday the 2nd. Her new paintings were incredible. After looking through all of them very carefully on a visit some time before, I had selected one for purchase and it was beautiful to see it alongside all the other work for “Thirty Rectangles.” I’m very curious to find out what direction her creative arc will swing next. Adrienne is always doing something different and is always challenging herself- it’s a real inspiration to know her.

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