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Sunday, December 23, 2012

DKV Trio - Past Present (Not Two, 2012) ****½

By Stef  

One of Ken Vandermark's most straightforward projects is with the DKV Trio, with Kent Kessler on bass and Hamid Drake on drums.

What you get here are the incredible rhythms by the master Hamid Drake himself, funky and free and crisp and sparkling like only he can do it, including in the drum solos, usually a boring thing, but here an absolute delight.

Kessler is best known as the regular bassist in The Vandermark 5 and Brötzmann's Chicago Tentet, and his interaction with Vandermark's powerful rhythmic playing is brilliant, whether with thick boppish plucks or more avant-garde bowing, he always keeps the pulse going.

And Vandermark, he can bop, swing, shout, sing and weep, but most of all he is the champion of building structure and then have it implicitly move on through his soloing, always nicely returning to the base, while having explored the various possibilities inherent in it, and keeping this incredible pulse throughout.

Put all three together and you get the best fireworks to come from a sax trio. The real treat is that you get 7 albums in this limited edition box with live performances between mid-2008 till 2011.

The seventh album gives a tribute to Don Cherry, with covers of "Remembrance", "The Thing", "Elephantasy" and "Brown Rice". Don Cherry has always been high on the trio's playlist, as it was on "Trigonometry" (2002) and "Live At Wells & Chicago" (1997).

You can wonder whether seven albums are really worth it, and what it offers more than their existing catalogue. The answer is simple, it's as good as the "Live At Wells & Chicago" album, their best album in my opinon, with similar drive and raw lyricism, and with a great sound quality, much better than "Baraka", "Live" and "Trigonometry".

So, get your copy while they are available!

You can buy the album from 

© stef