The Vandermark Five: Outside Ticket (for John Gilmore)
Outside Ticket (for John Gilmore)
The Vandermark Five
Elements of Style (Atavistic ALP150CD)
Tim Daisy (drums).
Composed by Ken Vandermark.
Recorded: Chicago, July 9 or 10, 2003
Rating: 92/100 (learn more)
Ken Vandermark dedicates "Outside Ticket" to the longtime Sun Ra tenor saxophonist John Gilmore. It's an apt choice; the tune's swinging, medium tempo, metrically shifting solo section provides the sort of deceptively simple platform over which the hard bop-schooled Gilmore could best exercise the far-flung modal style that characterized his artistic maturity—an "outside ticket," indeed. In general, Vandermark uses modality as his artistic starting point, so a piece like this is particularly relevant to the foundation of his overall style. Vandermark's solo here is an exercise in spontaneous development and emotional intensity. His rhythmic sense is ungainly, his harmonic palette static, but his imagination is sufficiently broad (within rather distinct boundaries) to obscure most shortcomings. Trombonist Jed Bishop contributes solid solo and ensemble work, while bassist Kent Kessler and drummer Tim Daisy create a dynamic, continually evolving rhythmic underpinning. As is so often the case with Vandermark's music, the hard-edged performance makes up in soul, commitment, and raw creativity what it lacks in terms of subtle gradations of expression.
Reviewer: Chris Kelsey