Vector Families - For Those About to Jazz/Rock We Salute You

Label/Year: Sunnyside, 2017

Lineup - Brandon Wozniak: saxophone; Dean Granros: guitar; Anthony Cox: electric bass, cello; Dave King: drums.


Minneapolis-born drummer Dave King, a bottomless well of rhythmic creativity, has been participating in several modern jazz projects that vary in nature and formation. In addition to the widely acclaimed trio The Bad Plus, King has been making interesting music with Happy Apple, Halloween Alaska, Buffalo Collision, and his Trucking Company group, whose excellent album Surrounded by the Night was reviewed last year on JazzTrail.

2017 signals another debut project led by King, a skittish quartet called Vector Families, featuring Brandon Wozniak on saxophone, Dean Granros on guitar, and Anthony Cox on electric bass and cello.
The title For Those About To Jazz/Rock We Salute You is a flattering way of saying thanks to the ones who follow their music and support their open style.

Free Funk!” is partly indicative of what you’ll find in the opening tune, an excellent source of jazz/funk hybridity that brims with bass freedom, rough-and-tumble drum chops, and explorative melodies on the saxophone. All the more, we are driven to an unorthodox guitar solo, rich in scintillating harmonics and punctuated by unfettered atonal inventions. The guitarist coaxes the saxophonist to join the party, and both get back to reciprocal action by the end, delivering jointly extemporaneous runs and stimulating the percussive attacks of the drummer, who seems reluctant to ease things off.

Duetz Duetz” is another suggestive title for a number that combines three duets to compose a solid whole. First, we get a modern classical feel as we spot Cox’s solemn cello gluing to the renegade acoustic temper of Granros. Afterwards, the latter is briefly joined by King, whose understated percussive environments also find Wozniak’s dramatic speeches in the concluding section. In this third phase, the initial vulnerable tone becomes denser as the saxophonist explores further, favoring spontaneous reactions from King.

Strayhorn’s classic piece “Satin Doll” is freely fragmented and graciously deconstructed through an unnervingly brash funky feel created by bass and drums, and the casual conversations between Granros, whose midi guitar technology emulates rusty piano sounds, and Wozniak, who scrutinizes around the theme’s melody.

Boasting a mantra-like percussive vibe and irregular chimes, the almost 18-minute “10,000-year-old Rotary Club” feels introspective as the saxophonist displays his introductory poetic vision. Cox infiltrates himself, adding effect-drenched bass lines to assure extra textural consistency. After Granros place his thoughts over a steady bass groove and syncopated rhythms, the tune ends up in multiple collective exultations.
The jolting “Dee Dee”, a composition by Ornette Coleman, starts as a typical swinging stretch that gradually advances into avant-garde territory. It is crammed with free rambles, just like the closing piece “African Dictaphone”, a sagacious exercise in free improvisation with Coltrane hints that, by turns, feel as much compact as elastic. 

Vector Families actuates with uncanny power, exploring the aesthetic on the bolder side of the jazz spectrum. This first record is to be listened to attentively and its energy fully absorbed.

         Grade  A-

         Grade A-

Favorite Tracks: 
04 - 10,000-year-old Rotary Club ► 05 - Dee Dee ► 06 - African Dictaphone

Dave King Trucking Company - Surrounded by the Night

Chris Speed: tenor saxophone and clarinet; Brandon Wozniak: tenor saxophone; Erik Fratzke: guitar; Chris Morrissey: acoustic bass; Dave King: drums.

Dave King, a skilled drummer with multiple projects, earned his fame due to a wonderful trio called The Bad Plus, in which he teams up with the pianist Ethan Iverson and the bassist Reid Anderson. 
In this project, Trucking Company, he composes with the idea of mixing jazz, rock, and American folk music in the same bag.
Their third album opens with “Delta Kreme”, a 3-minute pop tune delicately dressed in jazzy outfits. King’s brushwork gets a perfect cadence alongside the bass grooves laid down by Morrissey, who seamlessly replaced Adam Linz. 
Parallel Sister Track” and “Glamour Shot” share a few similarities by distributing agreeable saxophone melodies on top of indie rock textures, but it’s with “You Should Be Watching (Art) Films” that we have the first punch. Rhythmically elaborated, this song benefits from the resolute guitar conversations of Erik Fratzke, King’s longtime associate, who uses the perfect amount of distortion. 
Blue Candy” is a bit whimsical compared to the other tracks but claims its own space, while “That Isn't Even Worth Selling”, whose melody is played in unison before Morrissey’s gritty bass solo, antagonize with its own title by showing a maturity that makes it ready to be consumed. King and his Company finalize with “Don't Be Suspect of a Gift”, a strenuous triumph suitable for surfers looking for big waves during these hot summer days. The saxophonists, Speed and Wozniak, are on the loose here.

Favorite Tracks:
03 – You Should Be Watching (Art) Films ► 06 – That Isn't Even Worth Selling ► 07 – Don't Be Suspect of a Gift