Jazz at Holmes: Ken Vandermark, saxophone
About Ken Vandermark
Born in Warwick, Rhode Island on September 22nd, 1964, 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 1990s 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, Tim Barnes, Peter Brötzmann, Tim Daisy, Kris Davis, Hamid Drake, Mats Gustafsson, Terrie Hessels, Elisabeth Harnik, Steve Heather, Didi Kern, Kent Kessler, Christof Kurzmann, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Paul Lytton, Lou Mallozzi, Lasse Marhaug, Joe McPhee, Andy Moor, Jason Moran, Ikue Mori, Joe Morris, Paal Nilssen-Love, Eddie Prevóst, Mette Rasmussen, Eric Revis, Jasper Stadhouders, Chad Taylor, John Tilbury, Mars Williams, Nate Wooley, and C. Spencer Yeh).
His current musical activity includes work with Made To Break, Marker, Lean Left, Shelter, DEK, The DKV Trio, the Eric Revis Quartet; duos with Paal Nilssen-Love, Tim Daisy, Terrie Hessels, and Nate Wooley, as well as work as a solo performer. He's worked as a concert organizer in Chicago since the mid 1990s, first at the Empty Bottle, then at the Hideout and from June of 2015 has been co-curator of Option, a music series held on a weekly basis at the Experimental Sound Studio. In 2014 he began an independent label, Audiographic Records, created to document special aspects of his work through albums and books. In 2018 he was asked to organize, compose for, and lead two large ensembles with international rosters, Entr'acte and Next International; the first headlined the Artacts Festival in St. Johann, Austria, the second closed the exhibition, "Free Music Production/FMP: The Living Music" exhibition held at Akademie der Künste in Berlin. More than half of each year is spent touring in Europe, North America, Russia, Brazil, 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. His activity as a writer includes liner notes for recordings by a variety of artists; and contributions to the eight edition of John Zorn's "Arcana: musicians on music," the Spanish language journal, "El Esatdo Mental," and "Catalytic Quarterly."
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