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    Vandermark 5, The – “Beat Reader ” – [Atavistic]

    ???Beat Reader??? is the tenth studio recording from esteemed performer/composer/leader Ken Vandermark???s flagship ensemble, the Vandermark 5. As always, Vandermark and crew deliver a diverse set of contemporary jazz over the eight tracks of this set, with material that strikes an almost perfect balance between composition and improvisation and which integrates a wide range of sonic elements from hard bop and blistering free jazz to slamming funk and searing out-rock. The ongoing evolution of the group is clearly displayed on ???Beat Reader???, with the quintet???s newest member, cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm, being featured more prominently than any other performer, except Vandermark. From the beginning of the excellent opening piece ???Friction??? to the conclusion of the scorching final track ???Desireless???, Lonberg-Holm makes his mark, with contributions ranging from subtle, chamber music stylings to driving, angular riffing and raucous, electrified skronk, the latter of which providing the group with its most acidic, rock-tinged edge since former trombonist/guitarist Jeb Bishop retired his electric guitar after 2000???s ???Burn The Incline???. Personal favorites included ???Further From The Truth???, a subduded, yet tasty, little piece that almost sounds as if it could have been taken from Zorn???s Masada songbook, the funky free bop of ???Speedplay???, and the aforementioned ???Desireless???. Although they are now in their second decade, as ???Beat Reader??? clearly demonstrates, the Vandermark 5 are not resting on their laurels, rather, they continue to evolve and create compelling contemporary jazz with an almost unparalleled passion and artistry. Play! DL

  • Reviewed by Daryl Licht on March 12, 2008 at 6:36 am
  • Filed as CD,Jazz
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