1 February 2008


After the quartet performance and a short break to set up the Drew’s ensemble (which featured Eliza Marshal [flute], Nicholas Ellis [clarinets], Cameron Todd [trumpet], Sarah Nicolls [piano], David Worswick [violin], Emma Owens [viola], and Rosalind Acton [cello]), everyone hit stage for the second half of the night’s concert. I felt that, by far, this was the strongest performance of Drew’s material so far, and my contributions to the music seemed to work more effectively than in previous renditions of the piece. Even though we’ve only dealt with the music occasionally, each time we return to the collaboration it seems to grow. Drew is more sure of what to compose and how to organize the material into a long-form collection of ideas, and I am finding better ways to integrate my improvising with the range of New Music principles he’s bringing to the project. The complete evening- the Q&A discussion, the free improvisation quartet performance, and Drew’s piece- felt like a real artistic success, a meeting of many ideas about where the music is now and some of the ways in which it may develop.

Everyone headed to a nearby pub afterwards to talk and celebrate. Before the evening was over Drew and I decided that the next step for our collaboration would be to try and put together a touring version of the ensemble and to design a series of concerts that would present an improvising group with me, then a smaller version of the compositionally based band that would incorporate the improvisers. My immediate thought was to ask the members of CINC (with Philipp Wachsmann and Paul Lytton) to participate. Philipp seemed to really enjoy my set with Drew’s music, and his New Music background would make him ideal choice for a project like this. And Paul, well he’s one of my favorite musicians in the world. The trio we’ve got needs to start performing again, our North American tour was in 2006 (!). Maybe the project with Drew would be an interesting way to combine all of this music. We are now in the starting process of putting together a way to take this plan on the road in Europe during 2009. Seems like a long way off until it’s suddenly there, right in front of you again.

-Ken Vandermark, Chicago, 1/31/08

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