Thursday, March 4, 2010

DKV Trio: One Of Chicago's Finest

DKV Trio (group; formed 1994)
Hamid Drake (drums/percussion)
Kent Kessler (double bass)
Ken Vandermark (reeds)

DKV Trio is one of Ken Vandermark's many projects away from his main group The Vandermark Five. I hadn't listened to DKV in a few months until this past weekend and forgot how much I really dug these records. Formed in 1994, DKV Trio have released six albums and become one of the most popular group in their home base of Chicago as well as internationally.

A semi-supergroup, each individual is renowned throughout the jazz community, so the formation of DKV is force that must be seen as well as heard. The albums are explorations in "free jazz" but that doesn't mean its completely "out there". They utilize various rhythms and themes as the basis for the structure of their tunes. Hamid Drake's drum work can go from fernetic to funky in an instant. And the interplay with Kessler and Vandermark shows the simpatico the trio has developed over the past 15 years. In some ways the band is similar to late 60s - 70s work of Ornette Coleman's Quartet with Dewey Redman, Charlie Haden and Ed Blackwell as well as one of Vandermark's main influences Don Cherry. The trio even cover Cherry's classic Complete Communion on one of their releases.

A group with true artistry and extraordinary insight into what and where free jazz can go--DKV Trio are worth listening. All of their records are impressive, especially their collaborations with Chicago sax legend, Fred Andreson and guitarist Joe Morris. The albums are not that hard to find but you may have to dig around for them online and at some of the cooler record stores. This was one of fresh discovers for me this past week and one of those most where you say to yourself, "this is way I love jazz."

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