Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Resonance finale at Manghha - Krakow Autumn Jazz 24.11

It's been 6 years since Resonance was born on Alchemia's stage. Born first as an idea by Krakow Autumn Jazz Festival's director, then on the paper as Ken Vandermark would prepare the music for the artists he and Marek have invited, but truly brought into existence during a week of daily rehearsals and improvised concerts in the evening. 

The group is now the only orchestra Vandermark leads. Territory Band would focus on more experimental forms and fully improvisational Chicago Tentet (where Ken is almost often named the co-leader along Peter Brotzmann and Mats Gustafsson), Resonance, in my ears, was a truly jazz orchestra with a big sound, gritty grooves and plenty od Mingus, Evans or even Ellington, even if Vandermark's vision is fully dedicated to the presence of improvised music.

Resonance in 2007
New element in the Resonance puzzle is Christoff Kurzmann who, with a short interlude introduces the the orchestra on stage and the composition Vandermark wrote especially for the occasion - "Double Arc". Some of the most inspiring compositions from the Resonance repertoire share some of the energy and riff structure known from old rock-ish pieces by Vandermark 5. Thanks to the richness of the instruments and sound pallettes at hand, Vandermark can double and layer and contrast the rhythmic motives dividing between the brass, clarinets, saxophones, two drummers, bass and tuba and so on. "Double Arc" has three groovy sections, and in between, as if placed on the actualy graph arc, there are small ensembles, abstract ensemble bridges, dynamic soloing.
Ken has in fact 10 aces up his sleeve in that matter - there are some brilliant performances throughout including vicious alto sax battle between Dave and Ken, some beatiful sound on alto clarinet courtesy of Waclaw Zimpel, dense rhythm made even denser thanks to Christoff Kurzmann's invention, a broad roaring trombone solo by Steve Swell and plenty of others moment of notion. Vandermark craftly brings forward different timbres and creates a narratic suspense until the finale tutti and power chord to end the piece. A short encore follows with precious intro by clarinet trio.

It's a bit unusual to see all of those mad men, half of them wearing glasses, focused on a written score, in order to realise the complex architecture of Vandermar's piece. Complexity doesn't mean though prententious. Musical erudicy, when it comes to this leader and this band, is something natural and it's spiced with a bit of craziness. The music they create has this particular gift of bending time, when the last chord resonates and turns into silence, it turns out, there somewhere outside 70+ minutes have passed, when in here, music was happening. Let's hope it happens as often as possible.

Ken Vandermark - baritone sax, tenor sax, clarinet
Dave Rempis - alto sax, tenor sax
Mikolaj Trzaska - alto sax, clarinet
Waclaw Zimpel - clarinet, alto clarinet

Magnus Broo - trumpet
Steve Swell - trombone
Per - Ake Holmlander

Mark Tokar - double bass

Michael Zerang - drums
Tim Daisy - drums

Christoff Kurzmann

Manggha. Krakow Atumn Jazz. 24.11.2013

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