Resonance Ensemble, photo by Krzysztof Penarski

Resonance Ensemble, photo by Krzysztof Penarski

Resonance Ensemble

Resonance Ensemble, photo by Krzysztof Penarski

The Resonance Ensemble, an international New Jazz group, began as a co-presentation by Ken Vandermark and Marek Winiarski. Vandermark had performed in Poland over the course of several years, with a large number of groups (the Vandermark 5, duo with Paal Nilssen-Love, Sonore, Free Fall, Powerhouse Sound, the Frame Quartet and many more), and decided that is was time to organize a band that included musicians from that part of the world. After consulting with Winiarski (who runs Not Two Records and is an organizer of Jazz Concerts in Kraków), the two combined their resources and knowledge to organize a large unit of improvisers from the contemporary scene. In addition to Vandermark [reeds], the project included Magnus Broo [trumpet] and Per-Åke Holmlander [tuba] from Stockholm; Tim Daisy [drums], Dave Rempis [saxophones], and Michael Zerang [percussion] from Chicago; Steve Swell [trombone] from New York; Mark Tokar [bass] and Yuri Yaremchuk [reeds] from Lviv; and Mikołaj Trzaska [reeds] from Gdańsk.

Resonance Ensemble in Zaporozhye, Ukraine, October 27, 2009, part 1

In November of 2007, Vandermark arrived in Kraków to complete four new compositions for this ten piece orchestra, all of the pieces loosely based on his impressions of time spent in Poland as a musician and traveler. After a week that work was done and the other artists arrived. For five days the group rehearsed at the Alchemia club during the day, then played in small Improvised Music configurations at night. On November 17, the Resonance Ensemble traveled overnight by bus to perform for the first time, in Lviv, Ukraine. (This concert, which took place for an audience of over 800 people, was recorded, the second set was released as an album by Not Two in the fall of 2008.) The next morning the band returned to Kraków for a concert at the Manghha Museum, playing to another sold out crowd. All of the performances in Kraków, by the small units and the full ensemble, were released in October of 2009 by Not Two as a 10cd box set; just in time for the band's first tour of Europe.

Resonance Ensemble in Zaporozhye, Ukraine, October 27, 2009, part 2

The Resonance Ensemble's music has advanced Vandermark's composing methods for large groups, work that started with the early music of Peter Brötzmann's Chicago Tentet, and then continued with his Territory Bands. Much of the new material combines his interest in "suite forms" (perhaps most influenced by Duke Ellington and Charles Mingus) and a collaging approach to improvising structures that he began with the Territory Band. The project provided Vandermark with the first opportunity in his career to do nothing but compose for a week. In September of 2009, he began a new approach to writing for the project, a series of "modular pieces", which can be reassembled for each performance, giving added spontaneity to both the improvising and the compositional structure. The results of these new compositional strategies, coupled with a 10 day European tour, has resulted in the newest album by the band, "Kafka In Flight", which was recorded live in Gdańsk, Poland, and is also part of the Not Two catalog. In March of 2011 the Resonance Ensemble, and its association with Polish culture, will be celebrated by the Resonance Festival held in both Chicago and Milwaukee, and a new recording for another album by the band on Not Two.

Resonance Ensemble in Zaporozhye, Ukraine, October 27, 2009, part 3