Wow. I’m not sure if there is a more deserving recipient of a MacArthur Grant than Ken Vandermark. This man never ceases to amaze — this disc is inspiring to say the least. The Vandermark 5 is one of the most nimble ensembles I’ve heard; no tradition is left unturned. This CD stays closer to straight jazz than some of Vandermark’s more chaotic efforts, but balances with a few edgier pieces. The group plays like a band, instead of five people just trading solos. They excel at staying coherent, sometimes teetering on the brink of discord, but always staying totally in control. If this disc were any smoother, it would have slipped out of my hands by now.
Atavistic, P.O. Box 578266 Chicago, IL 60657. http://www.atavistic.com