field report no.010916

SUBJECT: Vandermark / Lee / Kurzmann / Rosenfeld

There was a time, when I lived in Chicago, that the Vandermark 5 held what amounted to open rehearsals at the Empty Bottle, every Tuesday, for $3—with $1 Hüberbock beer specials, it was the perfect night for a single, financially strapped, aesthetically adventurous college student. In many ways, it was my true indoctrination into modern jazz--the first time I marinated in it enough to see it grow and change in contrast to itself. So with Ken Vandermark coming to NYC to do a one-week residency at the Stone, it was a forgone conclusion I was going to catch at least one of these shows....

Vandermark had posted on his feeds that he was trying to arrange a number of combinations that included people he had not had the opportunity to play with before. The first set on Saturday night struck a chord with me. It was an odd grab-bag of musicians: two on electronics (one on a computer, and frequent collaborator from Vienna, and a New Yorker on turntables), plus a cellist who most recently released a solo album that sounded less like a recital and more like an avant electronic noise record.

These players proved very patient improvisors. Each willing to sit back, in turn, and hear where they might contribute. None were eager to throw ideas aside too quickly, either. They worked motifs, massaging them into the sonic fabric. Lee's cello often duped me into thinking she was a part of the electronics, with her unique techniques--that, and the PA system she was plugged into was on the other side of the room. This was abstract and amorphous but it was readily apparent how each player was listening closely to the rest and responding in kind.

NOTES: Ken Vandermark, reeds; Okkyung Lee, cello; Christof Kurzmann, ppooll, Marina Rosenfeld, turntable