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Monday, April 5, 2010

Ken Vandermark & Paal Nilssen-Love - Milwaukee Volume (Smalltown Superjazz, 2010) *****

The fifth duo album between Ken Vandermark and Paal Nilssen-Love may well be their best one. The two musicians find each other blindly for these three lengthy pieces, that vary between rhythmic funky improvisations, slower, more meditative moments and adventurous searches of new sounds. And needless to say, all this in one piece, switching easily from one mood to the other, from one mode to the other, without losing a sense of focus and musical coherence.

The first piece, on tenor, is intense, joyful, full of swing and drive, full of power and subtletly.  The second track shows a darker and more experimental side of both musicians, yet the power picks up again on the third piece, with long circular breathing on baritone sax, with Vandermark's sound evolving in some of the strongest volumes that you can get out of it, filling the entire available space, then the thing collapses for some heartrending cries, propulsed into full agony by Nilssen-Love's rhythmic thunderstorm, worthy of the mighty Thor, the ancient Norwegian god, but of course after the storm everything becomes quiet again, yet equally full of tension, maybe because it is the calm before the next storm ... to be heard on the next album, for sure.

You hear two musicians full of confidence in themselves and each other, moving into every possible musical region together, in perfect symbiosis, with the pleasure of playing dripping from every note, from every beat.

Don't miss it.

Buy from Instantjazz.

© stef


Anonymous said...

Man, does this sound good. I once saw Vandermark with two drummers (Robert Barry and Tim Mulvenna). I bet Nilssen-Love compares well.

Sax/drums is maybe my favorite combination; maybe because Interstellar Space got me hooked on this kind of music.

So, I'm curious. What's everyone's favorite sax/drums recording?

Michael Campbell said...

Interstellar Space is great! If I had to name something else it would probably be "Duo Exchange" with Frank Lowe and Rashied Ali. The first track on "Reserve" with Brotzmann and Gunter Sommer is a small masterpiece.

Guy said...

@anonymous: Paal Nilssen-Love = two drummers!

My favorite sax/drums-album so far is Dual Pleasure Vol. 2 by these two, but I'm not a duo record specialist.

Anyway, I'm anxious to here this one, as well as the Chicago Volume

Michael Campbell said...

Ditto on the Nilssen-Love equation. The man's a monster

Unknown said...

the record is great, this duo is fantastic. i also do love sax/drums duo (offf the top of my head other duos by nillsen-love are great - with joe mcphee and with peter brotzmann). actually just wanted to say that this was available already in 2009 on their tour.