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Burn The Incline by Vandermark 5

The Vandermark 5 is a Chicago quintet led by multi-reed player/composer Ken Vendermark, who might be termed a member of the "post-Anthony Braxton generation' of young jazz players. Vandermark's style encompasses the furthest reaches of jazz's avant-guard as well as the swinging straight-ahead tradition while absorbing influences of edgy rock, contemporary classical and funk. Simply put, he's got Braxton's yowl and Gene Ammons' chops, ya dig? BURN THE INCLINE features a whirlwind of styles yet comes across as uncompromisingly focused. "Late Night Wait Around" is a sparse, mysterious, noir-like tapestry featuring some tart, blues-tinged sax solos rich with the sounds of masters like Sonny Criss and Frank Morgan. "Roulette" has a loping semi-funk groove and tightly-arranged, darting ensemble passages that recalls Gil Evans and Carla Bley (and even Frank Zappa). Kent Kessler & Tim Mulvenna are the Rhythm Aces, balancing freedom AND swing. Double-threat-man Jeb Bishop shines on both lyrical trombone and sublimely noisy (yet never merely "abstract) guitar.

"Accident Happening" and "Ground" feature stormy "outside" playing (think Roscoe Mitchell, John Zorn) yet are possessed with unsentimental passion and urgency. With INCLINE, Vandermark deserves to be up-there as one of THE modern jazz composers (i.e. Geo. Russell, Carla Bley, Henry Threadgill). Highly recommended for adventurous jazz (and rock) fans who crave audacious sounds that do not sacrifice accessibility and directness.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Vandermark 5
  • CD Title: Burn The Incline
  • Genre: Free Jazz / Avante Garde
  • Year Released: 2000
  • Record Label: Atavistic
  • Rating: Five Stars
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