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2008 release. Ken Vandermark has had a productive relationship with the Polish label Not Two, which put out the 12-disc boxed set of the complete Vandermark 5 at the Alchemia club in Krakow from 2004. The most recent collaboration has resulted in these two vinyl releases.
The Resonance Ensemble is a 10-piece band that was assembled from Vandermark collaborators from Chicago, New York, Poland, Sweden and the Ukraine (where the 2008 concert featured on this LP was held). One might question how well an ensemble like this might mesh but, surprisingly, the players are remarkably attuned to each other and focused on the compositions. One is featured per side and these pieces aren't simply blowing vehicles. "Off/Set" starts out with drummers Michael Zerang and Tim Daisy laying down a groove that wouldn't sound out of place on a Brotherhood Of Breath recording. It subsequently veers into free territory, some strong riffing passages and builds to a rousing conclusion. Even better is "The Number 41"; it starts out sounding like a New Orleans funeral march (with a terrific solo by trumpeter Magnus Broo) before kicking up the tempo for sequences in 5/4 and 6/8 that build to satisfying finish. This is one of the most effective groups in Vandermark's vast array of projects.
The second recording is a double LP of the Vandermark 5 recorded at Alchemia in November 2005. The earliest studio recording with Fred Lonberg-Holm's cello replacing Jeb Bishop's trombone was A Discontinuous Line from the end of 2006. Four Sides To The Story provides a valuable document of a transitory period for this band. It's only appropriate that the first sound heard is a drone established by Lonberg-Holm that sets up "Vehicle". The set is comprised of some older pieces and several tunes that would end up on A Discontinuous Line. What's surprising is how quickly Lonberg-Holm was integrated into the group. The newer compositions show Vandermark writing harmonies for the unique properties that cello brings to the band, functioning as both a member of the frontline and as part of the rhythm section. These were all issues being worked out in performances like this one. The music is no less rich for it. The band delivers with their typical high energy and there isn't a shred of tentativeness to the proceedings