School Days is one of the approximately 30 bands of which Ken Vandermark is a member. This one consists of the rhythm section of the Norwegian band The Thing, with Ingebright Haker-Flaten on bass and Paal Nilssen-Love on drums, together with vibraphonist Kjell Nordesen and Vandermark 5 trombone player Jep Bishop. To make it even more complex, the first piece of the album is dedicated to Havard Wiik, the piano player of the Norwegian Band Atomic, of which Haker-Flaten en Nilssen-Love are also a member. This is high energy playing with solid rhythms but also with its little downsides. For starters, I am not a fan of drum solos which are accompanied by a repetitive bass. At times the sax of Vandermark sounds too full in comparison with the more aetheric tones of the vibes. The album has its great moments, but the Dave Holland Quintet, which has a similar line-up sounds more solid and intense than School Days.
I had this for the title, being a clear hommage (Lacy an Rudd's School Days) one of the best cds I ever had.
This said, as you stated it has his moments but Vandemark sure did best.
I am listening now a third time around his (and Broo-Paal NL-Lane's) 4Corners, and it seems to have stronger music and cohesively costant performers.
Waiting for its DVD.
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