Music Program
 


Wednesday, June 14 at 8:00 pm

$15 general admission, $12 students/seniors, $10 members

DKV Trio


photo: Krzysztof Penarski

photo: Peter Gannushkin
Ken Vandermark - saxophones/clarinet
Kent Kessler - contrabass
Hamid Drake - drums

(ARCHIVAL NOTE: This concert ended up being performed as a duo by Vandermark and Drake when the trio's flight from Chicago was canceled due to weather conditions and the later alternative flight only had two seats, so Kessler had to travel separately, too late to make the gig. Nonetheless, the 65 people in attendance were not disappointed.)

"A simple superlative: DKV Trio is the best working band in Chicago jazz. That's no small feat considering that its members work in lot of other combinations. Assembled in 1994 by reedman Ken Vandermark, the group forged an instant bond that mandated further investigation. Drummer Hamid Drake never fails to provide a spark and when he and bassist Kent Kessler get on the good foot you can expect a bonfire.

Where many free groups avoid funky swinging or melodic materials DKV eagerly embraces them. The trio's open-ended, sometimes set-length improvisations unfold in sections: Drake and Kessler might set up a cyclical groove for Vandermark to dive into or soar above, then an insistent bass clarinet ostinato might free up the bassist to take one of his superb arco solos after which Drake might suddenly kick out a Max Roach high hat jam or hit the ground running with some infectious Afro-pop polyrhythms or reggae snare-centricity… All three players are respectful listeners cresting space and letting the music breathe but challenging each other as well. Each time out DKV invents a new context where daring exploration and pure corporeal pleasure shake hands and get down to business." - John Corbett, Chicago Reader


By the close of the 1990s, Hamid Drake was widely regarded as one of the best percussionists in improvised music. Incorporating Afro-Cuban, Indian, and African percussion instruments and influence, in addition to using the standard trap set, Drake has collaborated extensively with top free jazz improvisers Peter Brötzmann, Fred Anderson, and Ken Vandermark, among others.

Hamid Drake was born in Monroe, LA, in 1955, and later moved to Chicago with his family. He ended up taking drum lessons with Fred Anderson's son, eventually taking over the son's role as percussionist in Anderson's group. As a result, Fred Anderson also introduced Drake to George Lewis and other AACM members. By the late '70s, he was a member of Foday Muso Suso's Mandingo Griot Society, and also played reggae. He's been a member of the Latin jazz band Night on Earth, the Georg Graewe Quartet, the DKV Trio, Peter Brotzmann's Chicago Octet/Tentet, and Liof Munimula, the oldest free improvising ensemble in Chicago.

Drake has also worked with trumpeter Don Cherry, Pharoah Sanders, Fred Anderson, Mahmoud Gania, Pat Metheny, bassist William Parker (in a large number of lineups), and has performed a solstice celebration with fellow Chicago percussionist Michael Zerang semiannually since 1991.

Hamid Drake recorded material is best represented on Chicago's Okkadisk label.

Kent Kessler began playing double bass in the 1980s and it became his primary instrument when he was asked in 1985 to join the NRG Ensemble, who toured Europe and recorded for ECM Records under the leadership of Hal Russell until his death in 1992. In 1991, he gigged with Zerang and guitarist Chris DeChiara; in need of a hornist, they called Ken Vandermark, who had been considering leaving the Chicago scene. Kessler and Vandermark would go on to collaborate extensively on free jazz and improvisational projects such as the Vandermark 5, the DKV Trio and the Steelwool Trio. In the 1990s and afterwards he worked with Chicago musicians such as Hamid Drake, Fred Anderson, and Joe McPhee, and also with European musicians such as Peter Brötzmann, Mats Gustafsson, Misha Mengelberg, and Luc Houtkamp.

Ken Vandermark began studying the tenor saxophone at the age of 16. Since graduating with a degree in Film and Communications from McGill University during the spring of 1986, his primary creative emphasis has been the exploration of contemporary music that deals directly with advanced methods of improvisation. In 1989, he moved to Chicago from Boston, and has worked continuously from the early 1990′s onward, both as a performer and organizer in North America and Europe, recording in a large array of contexts, with many internationally renowned musicians (such as Fred Anderson, Ab Baars, Peter Brötzmann, Tim Daisy, Hamid Drake, Terrie Ex, Mats Gustafsson, Devin Hoff, Christof Kurzmann, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Joe McPhee, Paal Nilssen-Love, Paul Lytton, Andy Moor, Joe Morris, and Nate Wooley). His current activity includes work with Made To Break, The Resonance Ensemble, Side A, Lean Left, Fire Room, the DKV Trio, and duos with Paal Nilssen-Love and Tim Daisy; in addition, he is the music director of the experimental Pop band, The Margots. More than half of each year is spent touring in Europe, North America, and Japan, and his concerts and numerous recordings have been critically acclaimed both at home and abroad. In addition to the tenor sax, he also plays the bass and Bb clarinet, and baritone saxophone. In 1999 he was awarded the MacArthur prize for music.

kenvandermark.com
Ken Vandermark on Soundcloud
 



 
 
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IN THE GALLERY
from Nov. 10, 2017
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Laylah Ali
Paintings and Drawings


Laylah Ali's work explores power dynamics and interpersonal conflict through compositions that position culturally, racially and sexually ambiguous figures in precarious, loaded, and unexpectedly humorous situations. Ali uses concise—even minimal—imagery that is specific in rendering and intent. While there are narratives in Ali's work, they are stories whose open spaces often give them the atmosphere of fables.