Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Vandermark 5: The Chicago Sound

The Vandermark 5 (group)

Chicago has given music everything mainly R&B, Blues and Jazz. One of the most talked about group of the last decade has been The Vandermark 5. Led by multi-sax man Ken Vandermak, this piano-less, reeds driven quintet have set a new standard for free-jazz groups in America and Europe. The band doesn't tour much in U.S. but when they do it is mainly in their home base at The Empty Bottle.

I have seen them on a few occasions in NYC at Tonic and they have been nothing short of phenomenal. V5 as many refer to them start off many of their compositions with a complex but rhythmic structure and then spiral outward. It makes for an amazing journey through the scales.

With your first listen you will immediately hear the melody but as the piece continues you hear the breakdown of each musician and his delicacies. Vandermark himself is a bit of a multi-instrumentalist--performing on sax, clarinet, bass (sometimes piano). The band are on their eighth album not including 2 albums of covers.

The Vandermark 5 is a band with a lot of muscle and talent that get better and more creative with each release. Each member of the band has his own side project so the band doesn't record on a regular basis. This I believe keeps the material fresh and original each time out. Truly one of the leading protagonist in American music today, The Vandermark 5 are worth your time and effort.

Check out a great performance I found on youtube and if you dig that than check out their most recent album A Discontinuous Line (Atavistic).

A Discontinuous Line (2006 Atavistic Records)

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