The Dal Niente Ensemble and Ken Vandermark explore the links between chamber music and jazz


The Dal Niente Ensemble commissions and selects new music that deserves the designation “new” not only because it is freshly composed; it also challenges players and the public to experience performance in new ways. This program, presented jointly by Ear Taxi and the Hyde Park Jazz Festival, taps into Chicago’s resources in two ways. First of all, it’s a collaboration with Ken Vandermark, a local reedist whose work inhabits the fault lines between jazz, free improvisation, modern composition, rock and R&B. And second, all of the music in the program was composed by former or late Chicagoans who were members of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians. Although it identifies most with avant-garde jazz, the AACM has created a framework for its members to facilitate each other’s musical investigations regardless of genre, and the three pieces that Vandermark and the Ensemble dal Niente will play explore all the links between jazz and chamber music. The new command “Last Train to Clover 5”, by woodwind player Roscoe Mitchell, is part of a series of his works that uses as source material an improvised trio session with keyboardist Craig Taborn and drummer Kikanju Baku, who was transcribed and then rearranged. by Mitchell in written compositions. “Merce and Baby,” written by trombonist, electronic musician, composer and historian George Lewis, finds areas of overlap between the works of modernist choreographer Merce Cunningham and lead jazz drummer Baby Dodds. And “Cult of Electromagnetic Connectivity,” by flutist-composer-educator Nicole Mitchell, is a futuristic-themed piece that pits darting woods against dramatic percussion. Vandermark will also perform a solo ensemble based on melodies composed by the late Fred Anderson, who was not only an imposing tenor saxophonist, but also a mentor to generations of local jazz musicians. This concert is the first of two joint appearances by Vandermark and the Ensemble dal Niente; the second will be held next month at Washington University in Saint Louis, Missouri.

Hyde Park Jazz Festival presents Ensemble dal Niente with Ken Vandermark, Sat 9/25, 7:15 PM, Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th, free but RSVP required (see festival website for details), all ages. A recording of the performance will be broadcast online on the festival website Youtube channel Sunday September 26 at 3 p.m.

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