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Aaly Trio/Ken Vandermark: Live at the Glenn Miller Café

Here we have a CD that contains 1960s free jazz but will be considered avant garde by most fans. Vandermark, on tenor sax and clarinet, joins Sweden’s AALY Trio (Mats Gustafsson, tenor and alto; Peter Janson, bass; and Kjell Nordeson, drums) live in Stockholm. Two of the compositions are by pioneering ’60s free players: “Ghosts” by Albert Ayler and “Idioms” by the under appreciated Joe Harriott. “Unit Character,” by Vandermark, is dedicated to Jimmy Lyons. Gustafsson contributes “Alva Joe.”

Gustafsson and Vandermark perform wide open during most of the album, honking, screaming, rasping and playing as rapidly as possible. A certain hard core of these neo-free jazz fans exists, and for them the more violently one plays the better. They’ll dig this record. I think the playing here lacks imaginativeness and variety, though. Vandermark plays more thoughtfully and inventively on his recent Delmark CD, Design in Time, but his fans may not like it as much because he does show some restraint.

Originally Published