Ken Vandermark – “Shelter” (Catalytic Sound, 2017)

“Shelter” – it’s the newest album played by avant-garde jazz improviser, composer and saxophonist Ken Vandermark and his ensemble. The album had been played by four great jazz musicians: Ken Vandermark (reeds), Steve Heather (drums & crackle box),  Jasper Stadhouders (electric bass & guitar) and Nate Wooley (trumpet). All these musicians had been improvising many times in past in different projects. All of them have original and expressive playing technique and improvising style. Their music is full of novatoric and creative musical experiments, strange sounds and timbres, electronics, computer sounds and other special effects combining with traditional instruments.

“Shelter” consists of 9 compositions. All of them are based on contrasts and various music elements combined in one composition. Expresive, very fast and evocative reeds and guitar solos are full of virtuosic elements, strange noises, extyended and novatoric playing techniques and sound effects. Dynamic and contrasting rhytmic, fast and active drum solos, silent one or several instruments duos are also the main elements of these compositions. The musicians are improvising free, creative and masterfully. Their melodies and other music elements has many different sounds and timbres and are full of surprises. Expressive and original sound of traditional instruments are subtly combined with electronics – cracker box, various computer effects and electronic music elements. All these different and very contrasting elements are masterfully combined in one composition. Effective and novatoric sound, masterful players and creative musical experiments bring this album to one of the best albums released in this year.

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