Side A – A New Margin (CF 235)
Rating: Four Stars
Woodwind specialist Ken Vandermark is a prominent voice in modern jazz and improvisation, emanating from the Chicago scene, and currently a major force in the global community. Here, the artist aligns with fellow Chicagoan, drummer Chad Taylor and Scandinavian pianist Havard Wilk for a bass-less trio session, spawning tightly melodic structures within the progressive-jazz schema and the contrasting improvisational domain. Essentially, the trio seeds a distinct sense of well-being into the project to complement a few movements that project angst or turbulence. It’s an engagement centered on equality, as Vandermark and Wilk alternate solos and unite for numerous theme-building episodes.
“Trued Right,” is as a piece that offers a prime example of the band’s cunning ability to translucently merge the outside component into a quaintly endearing primary theme. Therefore, the musicians use a wide lane to fuse free-expressionism with airy soundscapes, where Vandermark’s clarinet work suggests flotation-like qualities embedded within a relatively simplistic but memorable ostinato melody rendered by Wilk. But the calming effects give way to a passage highlighted by Vandermark’s soaring, rough-hewn choruses, followed by Taylor’s polyrhythmic onslaught towards the closeout. Here, tenderness and brute strength formulate a synchronous balance of disparate mood-eliciting panoramas. Hence, the trio sets the gears in motion with a novel game-plan, as group-focused interactions translate into a level playing field that sustains a spiritual power of sorts, evident from start to finish.