The steps in the development of the Snapshots project have had a through-line nature. The first edition presented short solo improvisations to overcome the time limitations of a 7″ single (the concept was inspired by the Quakers album, Supa K: Heavy Tremors). This approach was expanded for the second part of the series through creating duo pieces by listening to an initial improvisation and then overdubbing a spontaneous response to it (a strategy first utilized with Nate Wooley for our recording, The Chicago Manual of Style). Now, for Snapshots Volume 3: Brazil, I pushed the material further by building trios, layering a second improvisation on top of the first, then listening to the result and reacting to it in real time in order to construct a third level of activity.
I felt that organizing the amount of space and density for each individual performance would be key to the success of the music. In a sense, I thought it would be crucial to guess how much room to leave in the two initial improvisations so that all three layers of material would be audible, and not heard as a solid, impenetrable mass of sound. Or, conversely, that it would be necessary to reverse the process if I started with a lot of activity, thinning things out as I placed the improvisations on top of each other. Instead, something else occurred. Though the relationship between the first improvisation and my initial response to it was fairly straightforward, almost like playing a duo with another musician but by overdubbing myself, the music that was created by combining these performances produced a result that I didn’t expect. The principle of additive or subtractive formations didn’t take place. What happened instead was less mathematical (1+1=2) and more montage (A+B=C). Understanding this, that assembling music in this fashion is akin to Sergei Eisenstein’s filmic principles, will go a long way to helping me realize the fourth volume of Snapshots effectively.
The opportunities that I’ve had to play in Brazil with Mark Sanders and Luc Ex, Christof Kurzmann, and Paal Nilssen-Love have been incredibly important to me. The music, the art, the food, and the people that I’ve been lucky enough to encounter from that country, have all been a constant source of inspiration for me. I cannot wait to return, and to discover more about one of the most culturally vital places on the planet.
-Ken Vandermark, Chicago, October 20, 2021
Snapshots: Volume 3/Brazil
1. Universalismo Constuctivo (for Tarsila de Aguiar do Amaral)
2. Para Organizar Delirium (for Hélio Oiticica)
1. Força Física (for Jorge Ben)
2. Mulher No Começo Do Mundo (Elza Soares)
All music by Ken Vandermark (Twenty First Mobile Music/ASCAP-Cien Fuegos)
Performed on tenor sax, bass clarinet, Bb clarinet, and baritone sax
Recorded by Ken Vandermark at home in Chicago on October 18, 2021. Mixed by Ken Vandermark. Mastered by Dave Zuchowski at One Room Studio.
Design by Iwona and Paweł Duczmal
Photographs by Ken Vandermark