Preview: Earshot Jazz: Ken Vandermark & Paal Nilssen-Love

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Preview: Earshot Jazz: Ken Vandermark & Paal Nilssen-Love

Ken Vandermark & Paal Nilssen-Love photo by Cladio Casanova

Thursday, September 10, 8pm

PONCHO Concert Hall, 710 E Roy St

In the wake of their newly released Extended Duos, Earshot Jazz welcomes Paal Nilssen-Love (drums) and Ken Vandermark (reeds), one of the most prolific duos in improvised music today, as they embark on a tour promoting their eighth album recording together.

Recorded live at their performance in Antwerp during their European tour in October 2013, Extended Duos has been called their “opus magnum” by Martin Schray of Free Jazz Blog. A collaboration that began at the turn of the millennium, this duo has been performing internationally – and to wide acclaim – bringing their sound to Europe, North America, and Asia.

A Ken Vandermark and Paal Nilssen-Love pairing promises to be an exhilarating listening experience. Nilssen-Love’s intensity on drums is matched by Vandermark’s on reeds; combining extreme and swift rhythms with deconstructed then reassembled melodic phrases, the duo represents the highest calibre of free jazz and improvisation, while often eschewing genres themselves. As is evident in their past efforts together, Vandermark and Nilssen-Love’s programs vary greatly in texture and mood – ranging from lung-bursting ferocity to chamber-like solemnity, while also rarely failing to realize a good opportunity to get funky.

Paal Nilssen-Love grew up in a Norwegian jazz club that his parents ran, and from an early age was drawn to play the drums, as his father had been. By 20 he was a renowned percussionist, and from there his reputation has soared. He has for several years been among the most vaunted of instrumentalists in improvised music.

Ken Vandermark, a multi-reedist, composer, MacArthur Fellow, and community organizer, has poured his energy back into the vibrant Chicago jazz scene where he rose to acclaim. Yet despite his accomplishments as an organizational leader, it is Vandermark’s massive body of work as a composer and improviser that has earned him such widespread renown.

Vandermark did not play with Nilssen-Love until 2000. Their lasting collaboration began with the formation of the ensemble School Days, and soon carried over to the trio FME, which also includes bass player Nate McBride. For Vandermark and Nilssen-Love the chemistry was immediately apparent, and it was only natural to transition into the duo format. They first explored this setting in 2002, recording the powerful, Dual Pleasure, for Oslo’s smalltownsupersound label. For good measure they did it again a year later, releasing the two-disc set Dual Pleasure 2. Since then they have released eight albums and worked together in several memorable contexts, including The Thing with Mats Gustafsson and Ingebrigt Håker Flaten, and The Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet.

Tickets are $18 general adult / $16 Earshot Members & Seniors (60+) / $9 full-time students & Active MIlitary/Veterans. Tickets available now; more information available at www.earshot.org or 206-547-6763.