Okka Disk

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Okka Disk

"Chicago-based multi-instrumentalist, composer and bandleader Ken Vandermark is widely known for paying homage to artists of various disciplines, regularly including dedications in his song titles to those who have inspired him. On 35mm, the studio debut of his newest ensemble, The Frame Quartet, Vandermark reveals his longstanding debt to cinema, not only in name, but in approach.  Filmmaking is an intensely collaborative medium, and The Frame Quartet embraces this concept implicitly; Vandermark is the sole writer, yet each of the album's five compositions is conducted by a different member of the quartet, except for "M.E.S. (for Merce Cunningham)." Though only "Lens (for Ennio Morricone)" is dedicated to an artist directly involved in film, all of the pieces embrace the art form's predilection for linear development. Eschewing conventional forms, these labyrinthine structures transition suddenly between modes, emulating cinema's narrative flow with dramatic shifts in tone that parallel the sudden splice cuts found in celluloid editing. Bringing these episodic works to life are some of Chicago's most resourceful improvisers, including cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm, bassist Nate McBride, and drummer Tim Daisy—all veterans of Vandermark's numerous ensembles. Utilizing an array of raw, electronic EFX, Longberg-Holm veers from austere acoustic cadenzas to amplified torrents of coruscating feedback. McBride alternates between upright and electric bass, while Vandermark reserves his clarinet for introspective moments, unfurling burly, pneumatic cadences on tenor saxophone elsewhere." - All About Jazz Recorded on 29 July 2009 at Strobe Recording, Chicago

The Frame Quartet ‎– 35mm

"A simple superlative: DKV Trio is the best working band in Chicago jazz. That's no small feat considering that its members work in lot of other combinations. Assembled in 1994 by reedman Ken Vandermark specifically for his recording project Standards (Quinnah), the group forged an instant bond that mandated further investigation. Drummer Hamid Drake never fails to provide a spark and when he and bassist Kent Kessler get on the good foot you can expect a bonfire. Where many free groups avoid funky swinging or melodic materials DKV eagerly embraces them. The trio's open-ended, sometimes set-length improvisations unfold in sections: Drake and Kessler might set up a cyclical groove for Vandermark to dive into or soar above, then an insistent bass clarinet ostinato might free up the bassist to take one of his superb arco solos after which Drake might suddenly kick out a Max Roach high hat jam or hit the ground running with some infectious Afro-pop polyrhythms or reggae snare-centricity. All three players are respectful listeners cresting space and letting the music breathe but challenging each other as well. Kessler benefits greatly from this simultaneous relaxation and prodding, turning in consistently original performances. And Vandermark, already well-known as a firebrand, is quickly emerging as one of the finest young balladeers to tote a tenor. This selling allows him ample room to dip deep into both bags. Each time out DKV invents a new context where daring exploration and pure corporeal pleasure shake hands and get down to business."- John Corbett, Chicago Reader

DKV Trio ‎– Baraka